Results :: Banbury S.C. Banbury Cross Trophy

19/04/2015 19/04/2015

Write-up

A fleet of 30 Merlin Rockets enjoyed almost champagne sailing conditions at Silver Tiller and Midland Series Open Meeting at Banbury Sailing Club on Sunday 19th April. What a contrast to the previous two years when high winds and gales restricted the entries somewhat. The big question was whether Matt Biggs could take the trophy again for the fourth year in succession now that the winds were much lighter.

With a pleasant NNE wind, the duty crew were able to set an excellent course for the first race with a long spinnaker run with only one gybe. The first start had the inevitable general recall as everyone was keen to get sailing. The second start under black flag was much more disciplined.

Tom Lonsdale and Alice Markham in 3709 led at the end of the first lap, followed by Simon Potts and Luke Shaw in 3753 and Olly Turner and Caroline Croft in 3656. The second lap saw Matt Biggs and John Hackett in 3743 work their way up from sixth place to take the lead which they held for another lap to take the gun with Tom Lonsdale and Alice Markham holding on to take second place from Simon Potts and Luke Shaw in 3753.

The second race was run back to back and the race officer changed the course to give an even longer spinnaker run down the length of the reservoir without any gybes. The start for this second race managed to get away cleanly without resorting to the black flag. This time it was Stephen and Gillian Leney in 3716 who managed to get a good start and were leading at the end of the first lap: a lead they held until the gun on lap four. This time Matt Biggs and John Hackett in 3743 were kept in second place with Rob Kennaugh and Abi Spurr in 3564 third and this was the finishing order.

The fleet then adjourned for an excellent lunch and liquid replenishment only to see the sun come out while the competitors discussed which of three boats could take the meeting. Matt and John had a 1st and 2nd, Stephen and Gillian had a 7th and a 1st while Tom and Alice had a 2nd and a 12th so that the final result all hinged on who won the last race.

The third race got underway cleanly with only a couple of boats over the line. On the new course, competitors were to brush up on gybing with three spinnaker gybes down the lake. At the end of the first lap, Matt Biggs and John Hackett had fought through into the lead from Olly Turner and Caroline Croft and Simon Potts and Luke Shaw. Matt and John increased their lead to take the final gun and the meeting while behind them, Olly Turner and Caroline Croft held on to second place but third place changed hands with it being held by Tom Lonsdale and Alice Markham and then finally by Rob Kennaugh and Abi Spurr who held on to the finish.
 
This left Matt and John from Blithfield SC as the winners of the Banbury Cross Trophy for the fourth time in succession with Rob and Abi from Midland SC in second place and Tom and Alice from Upper Thames SC in third. The Merlin Rocket Class Committee had decided for this year to have a parallel competition for 'Classic' boats with numbers 3571 and below. As nine such boats turned up at Banbury, we awarded a separate prize and fittingly this was won by the oldest boat on the water, Panatella, 3165 sailed by Dave and Rosemary Croft who came in 15 place overall.

Special mention should also go to Andy Dalby and William Carroll in 3766 who had turned up expecting to pick up a boom that was being sent down by Winders only to find that the car making the delivery had broken down on the M6! They managed to borrow the aluminium boom from Purple Dreams, 3227 which was not being sailed. They finished a very creditable 9th place and got as far up as 5th in the second race: perhaps early indications of a trend back to ali?

Thanks to the duty crew ably lead by the club's President, Dave Cornish together with the kitchen and bar helpers who kept everybody topped up with refreshments and food during the day.
 
By Richard Turner
 

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