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Henri Lloyd 2017 Marine 728x90

Blithfield Barrel Winter Series 2017-18 - Round 1

by Chris Martin 17 Nov 08:51 GMT 12 November 2017

The strong winds of the previous few weeks proved to be good practice for the first round of the barrel series which was held in a turbulent and shifty force three to six! PRO Alan Skitt assured us at his briefing that as the day wore on the gusts would decrease, so off we set into the first race in conditions that ranged from eminently sailable to survival.

36 boats started the race which was led on the water from start to finish by the Osprey of Chris Gould and Nick Broomhall who made his return to sailing last week following a knee injury. Another returnee, Andy Couch came in second in a Phantom and Caroline Croft's Merlin, crewed by Matt Lulham - Robinson came in third. The attrition rate in this race was high, the gusts causing many capsizes and retirements as people headed ashore for an early lunch - the wind was going supposed to drop (Alan said!!) and had already begun to swing right.

A few of the early returnees came back out to play in the second race which, despite Alan's promise, started in condition that were little better than the first. The breeze was on the move however and shortly after the start further swing to the right kicked in and the gusts did start to abate a little only to be replaced with sudden and violent shifts.

The shift in the breeze unfortunately made things a little processional, but Caroline and Matt held on to win this race with Matt Biggs and Sean Anderson second in a Merlin and Matt Thursfield in third in an Aero.

Thanks to everyone who helped out, the next round is on 3rd December - see you there!

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