South Staffs Burgee
South Staffordshire Sailing Club
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© Andrew Stentiford
© Andrew Stentiford
© Andrew Stentiford

SSSC host International OK Open Meeting

Sunday 14th October 2012


Following on from the extremely successful Noble Marine Youth & Junior Championships the previous day and an excellent evening of entertainment laid on by the host club, a few awoke a little bleary eyed!
The 22 competitors were greeted by fog, not a breath of wind and a real chill in the air. This allowed plenty of time for everyone to prepare their boats, relax and chat with coffee and bacon rolls. As time rolled on everyone started to wonder whether we would get any sailing in at all.
We need not have worried, as we were in the capable hands of Paul Goodhead, the most experienced race officer at South Staffs Sailing Club. Paul is 85 years of age, still going strong and he reassured the fleet by making preparations for all eventualities. As if by magic the fog cleared, then the wind appeared, not a lot, but enough.
Race 1 started first time with a long diagonal beat to the other corner of the reservoir. Picking the shifts was vital and it was local GP14 legend Mike Senior who rounded first with a number of the other favourites hot on his heels. The wind was a little patchy which meant that losses and gains were seen right through the fleet. Senior continued to lead being pushed hard for most of the race by Simon Davis from Upper Thames with Andy Davis (Taxi) trying out an OK again in third. By the finish Senior had a comfortable lead to take the bullet from Davies in second, Taxi third and after a poor first beat Neil Goodhead was flying through the fleet to finish fourth, with Mike Edwards also coming through to take fifth.
Everyone then headed in for an excellent lunch provided by Carol Danbury and her team.
Race 2 started with more breeze and a chance for everyone apart from Burt to stretch their legs. Senior shot out the line to lead at the first mark from Taxi, then newcomer to the OK Class Norman Bird in third and Mike Edwards fourth. Senior then decided to embarrass those behind him by sailing off to a commanding lead. Behind, things were not so straight forward with a real battle developing with Goodhead Junior and Richard Burton (Burt) joining the chasing pack. Goodhead then fell back from a good position after heading to what proved to be the wrong side of the island on the run. Edwards was challenging for second when he got caught out on port by Taxi approaching a mark and did his turns dropping him back. This left Taxi, Bird and Burt fighting it out for second. Edwards clearly spurred on by his mistake was coming up fast and by the final mark rounded second ahead of Burt and Taxi. Senior crossed the line first with a huge lead to take his second win of the day and the event in fine style. Edwards in second just ahead of Burt after a very shifty last beat, Taxi fourth with Bird just hanging on to fifth.
Race 3 and things got going early as Taxi decided the only way to beat Mike Senior was to start 15 seconds early and he dragged a number over with him. Some went back and some didn't. Those at the starboard end benefitted as Taxi was at the port end, plus they had more pressure. Goodhead raced into the lead and reached the windward mark first ahead know who. Young Mark Billows from Bristol Corinthian had a storming first beat to round third ahead of Burt. After the first lap the front two of Goodhead and Senior had established a good lead on the rest. Behind them a real ding dong was taking place between Billows, Burt, Chris White, Andy Holmes and Edwards. Billows sailing an excellent race, to just about maintain third from Burt and Edwards. Meanwhile Goodhead and Senior were having a tacking battle up the last beat with Senior just managing to take his third race win of the day. Way behind, it was Edwards who rounded the final mark in third just ahead of Billows and Burt. Using his experience Edwards maintained his position to the finish, but no gun was sounded as he was over the line at the start. This left Billows with an excellent third place with Burt close behind in fourth and Holmes fifth.
Many thanks must go to everyone involved from South Staffs SC and to P&B for helping out with the prizes.

Report by - UK International OK Class Association


- 17th October 2012

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