Albacore 2017 Northern Champs – Phil Smith reports…

On the weekend of the 23rd and 24th September, West Kirby played host to the annual Albacore Northern Area Championship. With a strong forecast on the cards 20 Boats made their way to the Wirral. This included a whole host of previous National and World Champions!

Race officer Chris Hoppins started the day with a triangular course out in the Dee Estuary with a nice force 4 blowing! Current Northern Area Champions Judy & Paul Armstrong from Scaling Dam battled gallantly in the 1st race to Beat Mike Hartley and Simon Hall from West Kirby. Phil Smith and Mark Hinton also from West Kirby showed some lightning down wind speed to finish 3rd, closely followed by John & Katie Greenwood following their return from the International Championship were they finished 4th.


The 2nd race soon got underway and this time it was Mike Hartley who go the better of Judy as they continued their cat and mouse pursuit of each other, Mathew Metcalfe-Smith sailed an excellent race to come in 3rd, closely followed by Phil Smith.


With the tide turning the coursed was changed to an Olympic course to add some excitement on the runs! Again, Mike Hartley got the better of Judy to take the overnight lead with John Greenwood coming in 3rd, closely followed by Tim Coleman in 4th.


The fleet returned to shore where they were treated to the legendary hospitality of West Kirby with a BBQ to start off the proceeding, a 7pm daily prize giving that somehow turned into a “Let’s make a Rum punch”, presentation then continued late into the night, Apparently the bar takings were of a legendary standard!


The next day arrived with similar conditions to the day before! The fleet launched and they were off! Unfortunately, there was some course confusion due to a Solo Open meeting also being run on the tide, so the race was abandoned. A new race started with Judy sailing off to win just in front of the Legendary Mike McNamara crewed by his son Sam, after spending the previous day getting used to their brand new Ovington Albacore. Mike Hartley finished 3rd Closely followed by Phil Smith.


It was all to play for between Judy Armstrong & Mike Hartley in the final race to see who was going to win the converted Albacore Northern Championships! The rest of the fleet however had different idea’s! Mathew got a blistering start and led from start to finish in a dropping breeze, by the 2nd Windward mark, Phil Smith had got up to second in which he managed to hold off both Judy & Mike to come in 2nd.

Leaving Judy and Paul Armstrong to retain their Northern Area Championship status, with Mike Hartley and Simon Hall 2nd, Phil Smith and Mark Hinton in 3rd and Mathew Metcalfe-Smith in 4th.


The National Albacore Association would like to pass on a special thanks to West Kirby Sailing Club and all its volunteers for hosting an excellent event.