News / 11 Merlins sail HD Sails Midland Circuit at Banbury


This year the Banbury open did not hold ST status so this the second event of the  HD Sails 2018 Midland Circuit was mixed in with normal club racing and this proved to work very well for both the open event and the club sailors who did not loose a days sailing by hosting the visiting Merlins. 

A prompt start to first race saw majority of the fleet making the first start. However someone who will remain nameless locked their boat on the front drive in order to make a prompt get away in the morning but (accidently) threw the key into the bushes for safe keeping and failed to make it to the first race. 

The first race was a short course using only half of the reservoir whilst the OD waited for the breeze to settle, this proved to make it difficult to pass, making a great start very important in deciding overall positions.  Race 1 was led by Paul Hollis and Paula Mason until a freak gust propelled Steve and Gill Leney down the run and past Paul & Paula and on to win.

The second race was back to back over an extended course and eventually won by Richard Dee and Nancy Gudgeon, followed by Chris Martin and Jamie Mason then Steve & Gill Leney.  

This left the whole meeting down to the last race with potentially 4 boats that could win.  

After some discussion with the O.D. over lunch, the fleet (and OD) decided on a windward, leeward course using the full length of the reservoir.  

From a scrambled start, the windward mark saw a lot of surprised competitors finding themselves unusually far up the fleet. 

Chris Martin rounded the leeward mark the wrong way and then tried to unwind and threw the whole fleet into disarray.  

Martin Smith & Karen Beston thus found themselves leading race 3.

Richard Dee then took the lead but was himself tracked down by Paul Hollis who held the lead to the end to take the race and the meeting.

Racing was close and competitive all through the fleet with places changing on a regular basis on every leg, this meant that not only was the event winner decided in the final race but also the very minor places at the rear of fleet providing just as much fun for the lower order competitors as those at the front.


Tea and cakes were served after the event as per the usual Banbury hospitality.


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