Crewsaver 24 Hour Race 2014
Photographs by Patrick
ONE of the hardest
dinghy endurance races in the world took place on the Marine
Lake, Southport, in the United Kingdom over 13 September to 14
It was far warmer than normal, making for a fantastic start to a
very unusual race, except this time the relatively safe sailing
waters of the man made lake had some surprises in store.
Normally the race is an endurance test that tests the competing
crew's character strengths through wind and/or rain, but this
year a new test was awaiting the teams taking part, which would
put their patience and manoeuvring skills to the test. If you
don't know, the race runs continuously for 24 Hours even in
extreme weather conditions, but for the very first time in the
history of this annual event, they had a very exception problem;
the normally good offshore winds had dropped for most of the
first day's racing. The dinghies Spinnakers struggled to balloon
and crews tacked and rocked the boats to fill the sails to make
any headway. Battling to keep heading up, or bearing away, let
alone running, was a constant issue as most found their boats in
the irons, surely a true test of patience. Taking part were 3
types of craft, Enterprise, Lark and GP14, all just taking 2
crew members at any one time.
Some crews swapped over sailors, but others did the full 24
hours, with just 2 crews, on the water. This unique, annual
event, run by West Lancashire Yacht Club, attracts competitors
from all over the world. Amongst participants you often find
many professional sailors, together with Paralympic and Olympic
medallists taking part. So what about the spectators? For some
of the shore crews though it was also a test of their character
strengths, as this year's event might, at times, have felt like
watching paint dry. You could still see why established sailors
compete; on the water test they can try their abilities out, but
at least those on land could take breaks and enjoy the unique
hospitality provided to them at what is regarded as one of the
best social events in the UK's dinghy racing calendar.
The night proved to be more interesting as the wind picked up,
presenting new challenges for the flotilla of sailboats and
their crews who had been struggling to keep awake because of the
Throughout the race, safety boats Royal Yachting Association (RYA)
Training Establishment, along with other clubs and Southport
Lifeboat watched on, struggling as well with the unusual
monotony. With the rising Sun and the end nearing, the pace was
far faster, thanks to the wind strength greatly improving.
The end was marked with cannon fire that reverberated around the
lake and Southport's Town Centre, as each boat was saluted
across the finish. Then came the awards, and the winning team's
Captain's traditional bath.
We hope to see you all at the
next race! For Part 1 of our video and photographic coverage
please click on
For more information about the
race and for your chance to take part in the 2015 event, go to:-
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