Tucked in between the rolling hills of the Lake District sits Ullswater Lake, which is the home of Ullswater Yacht Club and host of the first British Keelboat League qualifier of the season. The event will consist of two days of sprint racing in a high point league format.
The forecast for the next two days is for a moderate north/north westerly breeze, which will come almost directly across the 0.5 mile lake. Ullswater Lake is notoriously gusty and shifty and if the weather is as predicted, then the sailors and spectators will be in for some exciting racing.
The morning began with snow topped hills and moody skies, as the final RS21 was launched and joined the line up. As crews began to arrive at Ullswater Yacht Club, they quickly got on the water and put the boats through their paces. The first team out on the water were a local team from the host club, skippered by Jono Shelley. The difference in sailing angle upwind between the boats depending if they were in a gust or lull was often over 45 degrees, and it was clear that the teams were working on keeping their heads out of the boat to spot the pressure before their competition.
Sailing downwind was a similar story with the RS21s getting on the plane as the gusts accelerated down the hillside. The teams practiced their boat handling and gybed down the lake towards Pooley Bridge before making their way back to the dock.
“We are so looking forward to this event!” David Clarke, sailing sectary of Ullswater Yacht Club explained, “the boats look wonderful and the forecast will provide some challenging racing.”
Top tip for racing this weekend will be to “keep your head right out the boat,” advised David, “The cream will always rise to the top. The best sailors will always win!”
More sailors from Ullswater Yacht Club took to the water for a pre-event sail later in the afternoon, whilst sailors from Horizons Childrens’ Sailing Charity also relished the opportunity for a shake-down sail.