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Banbury Open 2005

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After a disappointing days racing at Shustoke on the Saturday ending in cancellation due to no wind, the 33 Merlins that attended Banbury on the Sunday were pleasantly greeted with a strengthening force 2.

With the full area of the reservoir being used for the race course the fleet was treated to multiple angles on the spinnaker legs with countless hoists, drops and gybes and tactical beats with the light fickle winds sufficient to test the most hardened of inland sailors.

Race 1 saw an extreme port bias start with David Winder and Jilly Blake making the most of the situation shooting off to an early lead. 2004 National Champion Richard Whitworth and new crew Elie Bremmer were the only team to challenge the leaders eventually managing to sniggle past on the final run. This left Matthew Winder third and last years Silver Tiller overall winners Glen Truswell and Paul Davies in fourth.

At the start of race 2 the wind had build to a 3 gusting 4 and the committee quickly got the fleet underway on the same course, although with a few eager contenders at the start who managed to get away with their infringements of rule 29.1. Pat Blake and Alex Jackson squeezed an early lead after passing P&B front man Tom Stewart who had to do turns for hitting the mark. They held their lead for a full lap until the inland maestro sailed over them courtesy of a top notch spinny hoist from new crew Elie Bremmer. Tom Stewart battled back p to second and Glen Truswell did one better than previous race finishing third, Blake and Jackson fourth.

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After a cracking and much needed lunch we returned to the water feeling well fed and watered. The wind was now blowing straight up the reservoir making the start slightly easier to set and consequently less one sided. This indeed resulting in very close racing with the front 5 competitors staying within a few boat lengths of each other throughout the duration of the 4 lap race. Although Whitworth had hung on to the lead for the majority of the race with Blake second, both John Bell and Glen Truswell snuck in to first and second respectively.

After a leisurely tea, Elizabeth Dearns, Commodore of Banbury SC, presented the Banbury Cross Trophy to Richard Whitworth and Elie Bremmer representing Hollingworth SC while old boat prize (boat 3400 or less) went to local midland sailors Steve Ward and Alastair Simpson of Shustoke SC.


Report: Alex Jackson
Photos: Kevan Bloor - Alverbank Sails
See the full results.

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