GP14 Midland Bell Series third round was held on Sunday 15th April at Nantwich and Border Sailing Club in Cheshire; as a return to winter channelled its way south over the most of the UK. The cool breeze varied in strength from a Beaufort force 1 to 3, and in direction by 90 degrees throughout the day.
16 boats were on the water as the OD got the fleet started for race one, five locals joining the eleven visiting crews, making a particularly strong fleet.
First to show their colours in the first race were Matt Thursfield and Sarah Froggatt who popped their kite up and made their break for freedom down the run as the chasing pack took their wind. They were able to hold the lead for half the race until Sam Blocksidge and Connie Hicklin got lucky (again), flying downwind in a wayward gust.
However once they had the lead, they took the race away from their competitors showing great speed, building a substantial lead over their pursuers. Matt and Sarah were also able to put some distance between them and Simon Potts, crewed by Pete Grey who took third.
Race two was held in the same swinging northerly breeze, but with different protagonists at the front. Some slightly pushy sailing got Justin Jones and Chris Anderson to the front of the fleet after a very congested windward mark.
There were plenty of places to be gained and lost as gusts filled in from either side of the bandstand, submerged between marks 3 and 4 on the eastern side of the lake. Graham Flynn, crewed by Adam Froggatt pushed their way through to the sharp end of the fleet using their unnerving skill, although they were unable to capture Justin and Chris who took the gun. Third again was taken by the Potts/Grey combo.
With such mixed results from the first two races, there were a plethora of potential victors going into the last battle. Unfortunately for some, it became an error strewn race, starboard roundings becoming port, pied pipers leading followers to the wrong leeward mark.
This led to a large number of retirees from the race, although none were really going to challenge the dominant performance from the Flynn/Froggatt boat. They watched from an envious distance as their closest rivals fell by the wayside leaving their way open to take the regatta. Some 30 boat lengths behind were the consistent partnership of Potts and Grey, ahead of Rich Bennett and Rich Beech.
So a range of sailors at the front of the fleet was the order of the day, although it was great racing right down to the bronze sailors. Graham Flynn and Adam Froggatt were deserving winners on a challenging day on the water, ahead of Sam Blocksidge and Connie Hickiln, their race victory pipping them to second ahead of Simon Potts and Pete Grey.
Next weekend is the Staunton Harold Open in Derbyshire (DE73 8DL), start at 11 o’clock on Sunday 22nd April. May bank holiday sees the Inlands at Pitsford Reservoir over the three days, Briefing at 12.00; first race 13.00 on the Saturday.
GP14 UK Class Association website
by Matthew Thursfield
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9:12 AM Tue 17 Apr 2012GMT
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