Please select your home edition
Edition
P&B 2018 Sailing Season 728x90

Blithfield Barrel Winter Series 2017-18 - Round 4

by Phil Mason 12 Feb 14:42 GMT 11 February 2018

Competitors from across the country were greeted by a bitterly cold 4 degrees and 38mph NW gusts hitting the boat park as they arrived. In a scene reminiscent from 'The Good, the Bad & the Ugly', Caroline Croft & Matt Lulham-Robinson, Andy Davies & Tom Pygall, and Matt Biggs & Beka Jones were poised to shoot it out for overall Barrel honours. A test of true grit.

Our PRO Geoff Wright completed a briefing to 50ish boats, 23 then took to the water. Assisted by Noelle Wright, Richard Smith and Phil Dunn, Geoff showed no mercy and set a long first beat followed by a couple of gybe marks on the flight back to the leeward mark. The fleet set off cleanly in bright sunshine and provided spectacular viewing for those on shore, after 40 minutes the skies darkened, a snowstorm ensued, visibility down to 50 yards and the fleet sailed for 10 minutes in a deep freeze. As the storm clouds cleared Andy & Tom claimed 1st, Matt & Beka 2nd, followed by Caroline & Matt 3rd, Paul Young & Nancy Gudgeon 4th and Ian Hopwood 5th, all to play for then in the last race of the series.

As competitors enjoyed a legendary lunch lovingly crafted by Barbara Gibbons & Diane McDonald, the sun shone, the wind dropped, encouraging others to rig for the final race. But before the launch the weather had other ideas; two Merlins were blown off their trolleys and those that had rigged hurriedly replaced the covers.

With gusts between 35 and 40 mph the last race was underway with 13 boats battling the elements. Keith and Brian Walker, Andrew Mellor were kept busy on safety, Dan Johnson & Ben Latham lost their Fireball mast and many took a dip. In consistently strong wind all competitors showed tremendous skill, all we could do on shore was to watch in awe. Andy & Tom took the second bullet on the day, closely followed by Simon & Ally Potts in 2nd who were literally flying in Mocking Jay, Matt & Beka taking 3rd from Caroline & Matt who fell victim to the hairy gybe, Tim Male & Jon Gibbons 4th and Mark Weighill & Carl Martin in 5th. Lydia Barber took 1st Junior honours on the day.

Competitors gathered to be served free drinks by Roy Jones (arguably the most important role of day), courtesy of round 4 sponsor Chris Gould of Creation Covers. Lynn McHale of SSW was on hand to present the prizes to the victors & participants.

81 boats competed in this years Blithfield Barrel series. Congratulations to Andy Davies & Tom Pygall finishing 1st overall, followed by Matt Biggs & Beka Jones in 2nd and Caroline Croft & Matt Lulham-Robinson in 3rd. Chris Gould & Nick Broomhall in 4th and Chris Martin & Sam Bailey in 5th. Ross Fergusson took 1st Junior with Jamie Mason 2nd. Full results can be found on Blithfield Sailing Club website, www.blithfield.org.uk/barrel

Overall Winners:

1st - Andy Davies & Tom Pygall
2nd - Matt Biggs & Beka Jones
3rd - Caroline Croft & Matt Lulham-Robinson
4th - Chris Gould & Nick Broomhall
5th - Chris Martin & Sam Bailey
1st Lady - Beka Jones
2nd Lady - Caroline Croft
1st Single Hander - Julian Basset - Laser
1st Junior - Ross Fergusson
2nd Junior - Jamie Mason

Fleets not in overall positions:

Merlin Rocket
1st - Colin Anderson & John Hacket
2nd - Paul Hollis & Paula Mason

Supernova
1st - Cliff Milliner
2nd - Phil Mason

Laser
1st - Jamie Mason
2nd - Mike Guy

RS400
1st - Mike Tustin & Emily Watson
2nd - Paul & Michelle Keeling

GP14
1st - Sam Watson & Ben Swainson
2nd - Mike Senior & Chris White
20th - Mike Thursfield - Aero 7
30th - Richard Fairbrother - Supernova
40th - Dana Church - Supernova
50th - Richard Instone - GP14
60th - Martin Smith & Karen Beston - Merlin Rocket
70th - Julian Harms & Sam Harms - Merlin Rocket

Congratulations all, see you all at the Barrel later on in the year. Many thanks to all our sponsors; Creation Covers, Dinghtec, Birmingham Dinghy Services, HD Sails, Freedom Brewery, Nestle & SSW, and our volunteers who make it all possible.

Related Articles

New junior training boats for Blithfield SC
Club working hard on increasing participation Blithfield Sailing Club in Staffordshire has purchased four new optimist training dinghies to add to its club boat fleet. They are available free to use during training sessions and racing, allowing those without their own boats to take up the sport. Posted on 29 Jun
Laser Midlands GP at Blithfield
Graced with warm, sunny weather throughout The event was graced yet again with warm, sunny weather throughout. 31 competitors took to Blithfield's splendid reservoir in a wind that was untypically capricious in both strength and direction. This was to produce compelling racing throughout the day. Posted on 19 May
Osprey Welsh and Midland Championship
Fleet of 19 battle it out on the beautiful water of Blithfield reservoir The open and beautiful water of Blithfield reservoir in Staffordshire welcomed 19 Ospreys. Visitors from Wales and both the North and South coast confirmed the enthusiasm of the fleet. Posted on 29 Apr
Allen Enterprise Inlands at Blithfield
SailingChandlery.com National Circuit series opener The 2018 Allen Enterprise Inland Championship was held at Blithfield SC over the weekend of 14/15 April. In addition to being the Inland Championship, this event also kicked off the 2018 National Circuit series, sponsored by SailingChandlery.com. Posted on 16 Apr
OK Dinghy Inlands at Blithfield
Visitors as far afield as Isle of Man, Scotland, and Devon Blithfield Sailing Club hosted the Inland Championship over the weekend of 14/15 April with visitors as far afield as Isle of Man, Scotland, and Devon. Posted on 16 Apr
OK Dinghy Inlands at Blithfield preview
It certainly has been an awkward start to the season! Well! It certainly has been an awkward start to the season. Thank goodness the weather gods smiled on those brave enough to venture out for the Winter Championship at South Staffs before the RYA Dinghy Show was almost decimated by the snow Posted on 25 Mar
Blithfield Barrel Winter Series Round 3
52 boats take part, including a number of national and world champions A gentle South to South Westerly breeze welcomed 52 boats to compete in the 3rd round of the prestigious Blithfield Barrel on Sunday 14th January. In attendance were a selection of world and national champions. Posted on 17 Jan
Blithfield Barrel Winter Series Round 2
52 competitors took part in the December edition 52 competitors took part in the December edition of this winters's Blithfield Barrel. Posted on 5 Jan
Blithfield Barrel Winter Series Round 1
36 boats take on the strong winds 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! Posted on 17 Nov 2017
Blithfield Barrel Winter Series 2017-18
Racing starts on 12 November The weekends have got windier, the nights are colder and the days are shorter, which can only mean it's time dig out the thermals and come for a blast at the Blithfield Barrel. Posted on 2 Nov 2017