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Ocean Elements 2016

Blithfield Barrel Series Round 4

by Chris Martin 12 Feb 20:51 GMT 12 February 2017

A fleet of 37 boats assembled at Blithfield SC to contest the final round of the Barrel series. Normally commentators try to talk up the conditions to try and make the sailing sound appealing, but to be perfectly honest the conditions this weekend could only be described as foul with ferocious gusts and a definite tinge of snow amongst the driving drizzle.

Geoff Wright and his hardy team set out to set the course and under black flag both flights got away cleanly. There was more than a hint port off the line and the left side was certainly the place to be. The enforced absence of Christian Birrel and Tom Pygall had made their position vulnerable, and several teams were looking for an opportunity to pounce. However it was a wild card entry in the form of Mike Senior who took line honours sailing Chris Gould's Merlin Rocket with Chris in the front due the the also enforced absence of Nick Broomhall to crew his Osprey. Matt Biggs and Andy Davis hung in second place and it was the GP14 or Fergus Barnham and Andy Hunter who took third.

Team Tatton once again did us proud in the galley serving up a much needed hot lunch for the frozen safety crews and not much less cold sailors!

There was a slight air of reluctance to exit the clubhouse for race two, but most boats were out there on the line for the start. The line and beat were significantly squarer as the wind direction seemed more steady, but the gusts were no less ferocious at times. Once again the Merlins were in strong form and this time Matt and Taxi did what they needed to do and took line honours, with Mike and Chris second and Fergus and Andy again third.

Overall Christian Barrel and Tom Pygall in Tom's Merlin were not challenged in their absence and retained their hold on the Barrel for 2017. Matt Biggs and Andy Davies came in second, and in a familiar position from this weekend Fergus Barnham and Andy Hunter came in third in the GP14.

Thanks to all our sponsors, Freedom Brewery, HD Sails (this weekends sponsor), Dinghytec, Birmingham Dinghy Services and Creation Covers. Thanks also to all the OOD's, Safety Crews, Team Tatton in the galley and everyone from the club who did something to help. We look forward to seeing everyone again later this year. Full results are on the club website.