Pursuit race brings yachting season to end

The last race of the Frostbite yachting series in Whitby
The last race of the Frostbite yachting series in Whitby

The forecast for the last frostbite race of the 2014/15 season wasn’t particularly favourable, with 25–40 knot winds predicted.

However, the morning brought different conditions and seven boats turned out for The Bill Monaghan Pursuit in a 15–20 knot westerly breeze.

The race starting order was defined by the season’s results with the consistently slower boats away first and the fast helms staggered behind.

The total time for the race was set at 90 minutes.

An upper-harbour course was laid out by Safety crew Alan Holmes, with two marks above the viaduct and the third just south of the Parkol dry dock.

Mustard (Angie Walton / Isaac Walton) and Sundowner (Graham Johnson / Eden Steyart) were the first boats away, under the watchful eye of race officer Peter Brown.

Ten minutes later State of Mind (Graham Oliver / Rob Martland), Jonathan Mallory in a Laser dinghy and The Craic (Andy Monaghan / Julie Harrison) set off with Gong Gong (Carl Whitehead / Helen Baker) and Gray Matter (Neil Williamson / Jed Wilson) following after a further five minutes – a full 15 behind the leaders. Sundowner and Mustard had almost finished a competitive first lap, with the lead changing several times before Gong Gong and Gray Matter got started.

In the middle of the fleet, State of Mind set a very quick pace that the Laser and The Craic couldn’t match and quickly over took Mustard into second place on the water.

As the laps ticked by, State of Mind was gaining on Sundowner by approximately 200m per lap and with 30 minutes remaining, looked in prime position to overhaul them for the win.

While the lead battle took place, Gong Gong were working their way up the fleet, Gray Matter hot on their heels and Jonathan Mallory in the laser crossing them tack for tack. Meanwhile, The Craic struggled to find momentum and lost ground from the leaders.

At the front, Sundowner was now sailing well in clear air and kept ticking the time down to the 1300 deadline.

A poor lap by State of Mind allowed Gong Gong to close in and with two minutes remaining, Gong Gong out-tacked State of Mind to slot into second place.

The first five boats were all within 300m of each other as the whistle blew to signal the end of the race.

Prize-giving will be on April 11 at Whitby Yacht Club at 9pm.

Thanks to Alan Holmes, Paul Linley and Peter Marley for crewing the safety boat this season, and Peter Brown for race officer duties.

We’d also like to thankeveryone that turned out to support the races from the bankside.