The 2016 John Ashley Long Distance race took place on Sunday 15th May with a steady force 4 building to force 5 on shore breeze.
15 boats started of which there were a number of visitors who used to sail at Clevedon many years ago. The potential for carnage along the rocky shore immediately after the start was avoided (as always) by good seamanship and shouting of relevant rights of way – always a good spectacle for those stood on the cliff watching the race. At the first mark, set at the far end of the recently refurbished Marine Lake, the 505 of Pickering and Priddle was just ahead of James and Anthony Willcocks in their 29er closely followed by a pair of tussling Phantoms of Phil Isaacs and Andy Willcocks along with the D Zero sailed by Robin Goff and 3 Tasars of which 2 would end up finishing in the top 4. In the mix was another 505 of Hotchkiss and Black and a number of Lasers; a 420; Firefly and a RS Vision.
The long close reach out to the Clevedon Buoy, which took the back markers over 30 minutes to get to, saw the 29er overtake the leading 505 and then steadily pull away on the run to the Avon Buoy. With 2 Tasars hot on their heels we had a decent handicap race on. Thanks to OOD Howard East the leading fast boats were given the opportunity of a second lap – always interesting as the tide had turned in the process. Whilst the 2nd lap was easier going, the Lasers were grateful to be finished at a single lap so our thoughts should go out to the Phantom sailors who ended up doing 2 laps as well.
Apart from a delightful display of gybing capsizes just at the finish from one of the Lasers, there were no other casualties, so a quiet day for the 2 Safety Boats deployed.
The winners by 15 seconds (after handicap) were the visiting Willcocks Twins in their 29er, with 2nd place going to the Tasar of Martin and Ella Gibson and another visiting pair gaining third spot was Mike Pickering and Mike Priddle in their 505. Thanks and appreciation to The Mission to Seaman who have provided this Trophy.
Report by Chris Cooper
1st - James & Anthony Willcocks (29er)
2nd - Martin & Ella Gibson (Tasar)
3rd - Mike Pickering & Mike Priddle (505)