South Staffs Burgee
South Staffordshire Sailing Club
RYA Volvo Champion Club National Lottery - Sport England
© Neil Hawkins

OK Open Report - Sunday 16th October

Seventeen boats met to compete for the Calf Heath Trophy at South Staffs on the 16th October. A notable feature of this fleet was that nearly half of them were Juniors - very hard on the older fleet members who had to compete with some very sharp opposition.

The day began with very little wind which increased a little to allow some of the lighter fleet members to sit on the sides of their boats - at the height of the excitement, one or two had actually used the toe straps in earnest. There was even talk of almost planing (but not for long). The event turned out to be a classic pond competition - with the odd windshift changing positions only for them to change back again soon after. South Staffs members tried to convince the visitors that this never happened at their club - I don't think anyone was fooled.

The first race saw a group break away, made up of Ed Bradburn, Richard Burton, Neil Goodhead, Keith Byers and Will Croxford who picked their way the best up the very erratic first beat. This pattern remained for a while with the lead changing hands a couple of times when it appeared that someone had made a clear break only to be reeled in again. The pecking order gradually settled to give Ed the lead from Richard and Neil with Will and Keith competing for fourth. This stayed to the finish, with Bill Bradburn managing to sail over Will to take fifth on the last leg.

After lunch, the second of two back to back races began with Bill chasing his son Ed to the third mark followed by Richard and Neil. This arrangement stood for a while until Richard slipped behind Neil who was coming up hard to challenge for second in a slightly increasing breeze. Ed had a few moments when he realised his dad had got some shifts right and had caught him up a bit and Neil, as is his way, was prepared to come through at any time. Eventually, Ed stayed comfortably ahead while Bill pushed Neil out to the right at the finish to prevent him getting second.

The third race was a shifty as ever and saw Keith Byers take a stronger patch of breeze out on the left and arrive at the windward mark in the lead with Ed and Neil next. Neil managed to break away from them to lead form Ed leaving Keith, Bill and Will racing for the next places. Neil won with a comfortable cushion followed by Ed. Will slid through Keith and Bill on a run and was not threatened after with Keith making sure of the fourth place.

In the end Ed took the big trophy, Neil was second and Bill third. Richard Burton was fourth and took the prize for the best U21 helm, Will Croxford was fifth and won the Dave Danbury trophy for the best South Staffs helm aged 20 or under. In 9th place was Adrian Walker who won the Vintage boat trophy and Teddy Arrowsmith won the prize for the best placed U17 helm.

Other notable achievements were Andy Stewart managing ninth in the second race, his grin could be seen from a passing satellite apparently; Chris Cook rounding the second mark in the last race in fourth place and holding seventh at the end; and John Blocksidge managing a very creditable 10th in the last race ahead of Andy (still getting over being so fast in the race before).

The fleet retired to tea and cakes as usual and special thanks must go to Paul Goodhead and race team for tackling the conditions so well and providing some excellent competition and the galley team lead by Suzanne Edwards and Carol Danbury.

Bill Bradburn - 18th October 2011

Bookmark and Share