Shustoke Open 2009

6th September - Midland Circuit event at Shustoke
23 boats entered for the open meeting at Shustoke. The fleet included 3 entries from further afield and the largest turnout of local boats at a Midland Circuit event for many years – this in spite of there being more than one or two notable absentees.

The wind blew force 2 - 3 generally from the south west throughout the day, and race officer Darren Padro set courses with two beats a couple of reaches and a run. The fleet was well disciplined and got away cleanly at the first time of asking in every race, with only a couple of individual recalls – somewhat exceptional for a Merlin Rocket fleet! The first race saw Matt Biggs and Rob Kennaugh (Blithfield) establish an early lead, chased by Mike Calvert and Chris Downham (Axe). These two finished first and second with Richard Adams and Martin Weatherstone (Midland) in third.

The second race was sailed back-to-back with the first and again Mat and Rob established an early lead, which they held to the finish. The battle for second and third places was resolved when Steve and Gill Leney (Blithfield) crossed the line ahead of Mike and Chris. Richard and Martin had been in the mix for a top place, but dropped back to fifth when their mainsheet traveller broke.

After an excellent lunch, and with first place already decided, the fleet went afloat to compete for the other places. At the start the fleet split into two, with those at the committee boat end tacking onto port to pick up a shift and the rest sailing on into a backer. However, when those on the left tacked they lifted up to the windward mark leaving those on the right, including Steve and Gill, struggling. Much of the fleet became very bunched on the next broad reach, but some managed to break free and continue the chase after the leaders. At the front the status quo was maintained with Matt and Rob recording a clean sweep of firsts, followed by Mike and Chris, then Richard and Martin.

Our thanks go to Shustoke for a their welcome and an excellent day’s sailing. The Midland Circuit now looks forward to its final two events at Blithfield and Redditch. Let’s hope the turnout is as good to round off a great season.

Report: Mike Anslow

See also:
    Full results
    Midland Circuit positions so far