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GP14 Midlands Championship at Staunton Harold Sailing Club

by Charles Saunders 10 Oct 22:25 PDT 9-10 October 2021

Delayed from April, the Craftinsure and Robline sponsored Midland Championships was rescheduled for 9/10th October. With a forecast of very light winds on the Saturday but a decent breeze on Sunday the event attracted a 9 boat entry - alas, mainly for illness reasons only five boats could sail.

The Saturday brought the promise of a breeze as we unpacked and rigged in the sunshine, but sadly it died to nothing by the start time and after a postponement, Race Officers Becky Priest and Grahame Newton sensibly abandoned racing for the day and re-scheduled an extra race on Sunday.

After an excellent chilli con carne lunch, this allowed exploration of the delightful surrounding countryside including Calke Abbey and the highlights of Melbourne - including a micropub! Hugh got in some practice for his imminent marathon, so saw rather more of the countryside than the rest of us. The overnight campers and vanners then enjoyed either the local fish and chips or an impromptu barbecue in the evening.

Sunday dawned as per the forecast, bright sunshine with a much better breeze in prospect, though from an awkward direction. However, race officer Grahame Newton and his team got the fleet away on time utilizing mainly the western end of the reservoir. Hugh and Malcolm pulled out an early lead, but the battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th was keenly fought, ending with Tomasz 2nd, Darrell 3rd, John 4th.

In Race two the lead was more closely contested with Tomasz and Darrel both having spells at the front, but the finishing order was the same. More delicious food over lunch with Shepherds pie on the menu and plenty of tea.

New courses were set for races 3 & 4 as the wind had shifted round a bit, but the gusts and shifts were as fickle as ever, large gains and losses could be made with the wrong tactical choices. In Race 3 Tomasz successfully executed a port flyer at the start to cross the fleet into an early lead, but gradually Hugh reeled him in and despite doing turns for a collision finished 1st again. The rest of the fleet had some good tussles but the finish placings remained the same as in Races 1 & 2.

No port flyer in the final race but again nobody could rest on their laurels, because the boats behind would pounce. Though the results don't suggest it, the racing was closer than it looks on paper. Robline had provided the prizes (many thanks) and at the prize-giving Hugh also thanked all the volunteers for putting on the event and other competitors. All in all a very pleasant weekend in a beautiful location, with enjoyable competitive sailing, albeit on the Sunday only.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
113721Hugh DevereuxMalcolm BirdBudworth[1]1113
213237Tomasz SzakolaChris LomaxWelsh Harp[2]2226
314072Darrell SleepCharles SaundersStaunton H[3]3339
413785John RobinsonGraham SmithStaunton H[4]44412
512170Lesley FreemanSusan WebbTrimpley[5]55515

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