Posted on October 4, 2020 8:04 pm
This year with low water levels and Covid-19 it has been difficult to keep the idea of sailing in Teesdale alive, but despite a decidedly unhelpful weather forecast a small but determined company of sailors turned up to compete for the Grassholme Cup. The Cup was originally presented by Northumbrian Water back in 1986 when work on Selset Reservoir necessitated that the club decamp from our base at Selset to Grassholme. It was hoped that the cup would stimulate interest in sailing at a difficult time for the club. Since that first competition the Grassholme Cup has become the premier race of the year, so it is fitting that a competition should be held this year under even more difficult times for club. It is also fitting that today’s winner should be one of our youngsters who represent the future of the club.
Chris who was sharing the RO duties with Deborah asked me as I was heading down to the water after lunch, “Will you write a report on the Grassholme Cup for the website?” “Er, yes”, I said, desperately trying to recall what had happened in first two races, and what could I use as a heading. By the second leg of the third race a rain shower had passed, the sun had come out and a beautiful rainbow arched over the dam wall. ‘The gold at the end of the rainbow’ was forming in my head as a suitable heading. This idea was soon discarded as the jib on the GP 14 decided to detach from the bow fitting. John and Peter soldiered on but fatally wounded they were overhauled by James and Richard singing ‘One wheel on my wagon’. Now that would make a good heading, but by the end of the day even that was discarded. Only one heading would do. It had to be ‘Optimist Prime’ as the little boat sailed to perfection by Toby recorded a clean sweep of four victories out of four to deny all the older, more experienced sailors any chance of victory. It is the first time Toby has won the Grassholme Cup. He is the youngest ever winner, and as far as I am aware the first winner in an Optimist. A true Optimist Prime.
Also worthy of mention was Ian who without the benefit of coaching has steadily and surely improved as a sailor. Electing to sail a club Pico with a race sail, he was very fast indeed, and recorded three second places, (including a ‘quick’ capsize) and finished second overall.
John and Peter deprived of their usual partners sailed Peter’s GP 14. John, despite admitting to helming rustiness soon settled in on the helm, and they would have got line honours in race four had it not been for the aforementioned jib incident.
Others might have done better had they paid more attention to the change of course after race one. Three boats approaching the leeward mark in line abreast were so intent on overlaps and giving or claiming water, that they completely forgot that the mark should be rounded to starboard. Their blushes were saved by the technicality that the RO had not specially stated the direction of rounding.
So at the end of the day we have a new winner of the Grassholme Cup. I am sure that Toby will be back next year attempting to win it again. I am also sure that it will get increasingly difficult to wrest it away from him.