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Optimist Open at Shustoke Sailing Club

by Rob Marlow & Jon Cawthorne on 26 Sep 16 September 2017
Shustoke Optimist Open © Denis

Shustoke Sailing Club welcomed Optimist sailors and parents from across the Midlands to its annual Opi open meeting on 16th September. A total of 20 helms arrived. 16 of whom competed in the main fleet with 4 joining in the regatta fleet.

The Autumn weather was fairly kind with a gently force 2 breeze and clear skies. Race Officer Nigel Wilkin briefed all competitors about the schedule for the 4 race series with 2 back to back races in both the morning and afternoon.

In the main fleet, all the competitors were keen to secure a good start resulting in a general recall in race 1. The line was reset to remove some of the line bias and the race was started at the second attempt after an individual recall for 2 competitors. Three of the girl helms took a good lead from the rest of the fleet with Millie Irish finally taking the race win ahead of Ellen Morley and Hazel Mc Donald.

Race 2 was turned around quickly and all of the helms were managing well in the light conditions. A number of windshifts were seen around the course and competitors had to be constantly vigilant for big opportunities or losses. In this race local hero Oscar Cawthorne sailed clear of the fleet to take the race win followed by Millie and Ellen in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Lunch was fabulous, the galley team led by Tiff Cawthorne unveiled a delicious menu of warming homemade treats which were enjoyed by all the sailors, parents and guests to the club.

After lunch the wind had dropped slightly and at the start of race 3 there were wind shadows under the windward shore leading to some competitors having problems, careful helms negotiated the hazards. Ellen Morley pulled out an enormous advantage and comfortably won the race with Ralph Cawthorne taking a second place. Gentleman sailor Harry Marlow took a well deserved 3rd place.

Race 4 was again a competitive event. Thomas Kelsall sailed an absolutely magnificent race to take the race win closely followed by the girls, Hazel, Millie and Ellen.

Overall Results:

1st Millie Irish (Draycote Water S.C.)
2nd Ellen Morley (Hollowell S.C.)
3rd Thomas Kelsall (Staunton Harold S.C.)
4th Oscar Cawthorne (Shustoke S.C.)
5th Hazel Mc Donald (Hollowell S.C.)

In her victory speech Millie Kindly thanked all of her fellow competitors, the registration, galley, rescue, race management and bar teams. A sailing tea was laid on including (of course) the famous Smethwick Samosas.

In summary a successful day with close competitive racing throughout the fleet. Some of these sailors will undoubtedly progress into top level international standard racers and I'm sure will have fond memories of racing at Shustoke!

Regatta fleet

Those top racers in the main fleet better watch out as there is some new talent coming their way!

We had four keen sailors taking part in the regatta fleet all eager to win. A triangular course was set and the sailors were quickly into their stride up the long first beat. With light shifting winds keeping out of the no-go zone was sometimes a challenge and helped to spread out the fleet. Bobbie played the shifts well and finished the first race with a comfortable lead over Myles who was followed by the race novices of Dylan and Tate.

The second race had a similar pattern however the result do not reflect the determination that was being shown.

After lunch, all four were back out and fully regenerated. The 3rd race started well with Myles putting considerably more pressure on Bobbie and Tate doing the same to Dylan. Bobbie however took the pressure well and eased ahead whilst Tate managed to squeeze through and take a position from Dylan.

At the start of the 4th race it was still all to "sail for". Robbie who had sailed superbly throughout masterfully completed the four race with another first! The race however was not over with a magnificent battle for the other positions which was all decided on the last leg with Tate taking the inside line and winning a fantastic 2nd place very closely followed by Myles and Dylan.

With the discard the ending positions were, 1st Bobbie, 2nd Myles, 3rd Tate, 4th Dylan. All four racers showed impressive skills and professionalism throughout and were a pleasure to work with.

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