The Big cLash 2015

With two full Glasgow teams away competing at BUSA Ladies’, it was a makeshift team who travelled down to West Kirby for the 2015 Big Lash, with the noble and dignified name of the Glasgow Growlers. I was joined as helm by Ali Ireland and Johnny Coyle, with Anna Leerssen, Caz Beveridge and Andrew Paul crewing.

The first race of the competition was against Leeds 2, and the Growlers got off to a winning start, rounding the top mark in a 1-3-4, and converting to a 1-2-3 at mark 2, when a Leeds boat fouled me and earned a red flag. A rule 42 call against me on the final beat couldn’t break our winning combination, and we went into the next race against Edinburgh Blue full of confidence.

Johnny and Anna. Photo © Anna Langford

This proved a much tougher affair, as we rounded the top mark in a 2-4-6, and I was struggling to keep a charging Mark Trap at bay. As we held him high, Ali forced James in the 1 to round mark 2, and Johnny established an inside overlap on Jules, giving us what looked like a 2-3-4. This was short-lived, however, the umpires giving Jules and me red flags for our roundings, and as we both spun, Trap snuck past Johnny. In the meantime, Ali had magicked his way into the 1, giving us a 1-4-6. Edinburgh attacked back harder, and managed to pass Jules past Johnny before he could convert to a 1-4-5. The race wasn’t over yet, as up the beat, I managed to pass both Trap and Jules and claim the 3, but James was able to retake first place from Ali, and Glasgow ended up in a 2-3-6 at the finish.

Me and Caz. Photo © Anna Langford

Next up were Strathclyde Blue, and thankfully a less action-packed race, winning the start, and claiming a 1-2-5 by the first mark, finishing in a 1-2-6. We followed this up with a win over Newcastle 2, in spite of being 3-4-5 at mark 2, we were able to sail around the outside of both their lead boats on the downwind, getting the inside overlap by mark 3 and sailing the 1-4-5 all the way home.

Going into the final race of the day against Newcastle 1, we knew a win would see us top the group, but after seemingly winning the start, we failed to cover properly, and Newcastle were able to use the shifty conditions to their advantage and claim a 1-2 by mark 1, which they held until the finish.

After a fantastic meal in the West Kirby clubhouse (accompanied by distinctly less-than-fantastic rugby), it was back to Liverpool to change for the night out. Andrew George Wilson Yellowface Cougarbait Paul had promised that he would propose on the spot to anybody who understood our Comedian costumes, and he was as good as his word, going down on one knee for Hannah Robertson, who was clearly blown away by such a romantic gesture. They seem to be settling well into married life together.

What girl could resist this. Photo ©Andrew Grieve

The management of the club had thoughtfully provided a blackboard close to the bar for our chalking antics, and after being sternly told by the manager that yes, it was okay to write on that, but nothing else, and no, he didn’t want to join in the fun, we realised the time was quickly approaching Taps Aff o’clock. The foolish group of people who decided to pick on Cal at the start of the night were gradually picked off one by one like some sort of multi-coloured drunken Friday the 13th as he wreaked a trail of vengeance across Walkabout.

The next morning, several people were a little the worse for wear, but still keen to sail. We had ended up in silver fleet, in spite of finishing second in our group, having won our 3-way tiebreak against Edinburgh and Strath. Joining us were Strath Blue, Strath White, Edinburgh Blue, Lancaster and Manchester Old Boys.

Things started badly as Edinburgh comfortably beat us with a 1-2, and became even worse when Strath Blue outfoxed us in the pre-start and quickly built an unassailable lead.

We couldn’t halt the slide against Lancaster, and were left with only two races to salvage something from Sunday. The penultimate race was against Strath White, and I found myself in the 1 of a 1-5-6. In spite of my best efforts to compress, Strath held their winning 2-3-4 combination comfortably, and looked to be heading for an easy victory, when a 30 degree left shift completely shuffled the deck, robbing me of the 1, but putting Johnny and Ali into 2 and 3. Ali did try his hardest to stop me crossing the line, letting out his sail and bearing away, shutting the gap I was trying to finish in, but my panicked girlish shriek gave him just enough time to get out of the way.

Glasgow in action against Strath White. Photo © Anna Langford

The final race against Manchester Old Boys didn’t have the same intensity, and they led round the course with a solid 1-2 that not even a flagrant disrespect of rule 42 could challenge, and we finished off the event in 12th place out of 24. Slightly disappointing considering our form on the first day, but a strong performance nonetheless from a team who had never sailed together before the event.

5 seconds to the start. Somehow Theo got the 1 out of this! Photo © Anna Langford

Big thanks to Liverpool, Manchester and West Kirby, who more than lived up to the high standards they had set themselves, both on and off the water. Also to the team, and especially Caz, who stepped in at short notice to be our third crew. Hopefully see you back in the Wirral next year.

To see more pictures of the event click here!

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