MSC at the Southport 24 Hour Race 2015

After weeks of casual planning three boats and sailors made their way to Southport Marine Lake for the 49th running of this event.

The A team, made up of the Merlin fleet and other good sailors from the club sailing a GP, thoughtfully lead by Richard Adams. The B team of Enterprise sailors quietly managed by Paul Young and the C team, also a GP, vigorously lead by Stuart Jones with help from Dan Barrett and Peter Storey. Dan got to try his new tow bar and Peter’s GP knowledge was invaluable.

The first arrivals were early on Friday morning, trying to get a good pitch overlooking the lake. Thanks to Andrew Prosser and Dicky Dee for setting off at 5am to get an exclusive view with the camper van. About 40 members travelled and the club's focus of the camper van was an important part of the successful weekend.

There were 63 entries this year, including the Merlin Rocket association team, the 420 association team and several other teams full of high quality sailors. The race started in a brisk force 4 for the first 2-3 hours. The A team were doing well, consistently in the top 6 for the first half of the race. The Enterprise team started slowly but steadily improved as the wind died. The C team did lots of interesting things including a few capsizes; going aground and doing a bit of birdwatching; and minor breaking stuff, but never stopped.

As the race progressed the lighter wind conditions helped the Enterprise team pull through and finish 28th overall. The C team had fewer sailors, some who had never been before but they managed to improve on the previous year and finish 46th overall. The A team had been keeping up with the leaders for most of the race but as the wind increased in the morning, the problems with the rudder lifting involuntarily had to be sorted, so they dropped to 9th overall: a repeat of the previous year, gaining a podium place.

As a club we had a very successful weekend, a good social atmosphere had quickly developed; one of our club's real strengths and each team managed the event in different ways.  All 3 teams managed to keep sailing non-stop for 24 hours; a great achievement for our club.

The other clubs that took 3 boats have memberships nearly twice that of ours. Budworth sailing Club for example finished 3rd, 12th, and 45th, so we are putting in an excellent performance for a club of our size.

Midland went to the first event in 1966 with a firefly and I believe we are one of the few clubs to have been every year since. Next year is the 50th anniversary of this national event and WLYC are trying to big this one up and so could we. Many thanks to all those who helped on and off the water it was a very successful weekend for the club. Can we take more people next year? Can the juniors win the 12 hour event again in July?

Peter Storey – 24 September 2015