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Clipper Ventures

Blithfield Barrel - Round 3

by Chris Martin 15 Jan 18:20 GMT 13 January 2019

After the light winds of the two previous rounds a bit of wind was what everyone had been wishing for. On arrival at the club it looked like more of the same with a gentle west south westerly blowing diagonally across the reservoir. The forecast however was rather different. Gusts of force 8 for later in the afternoon were being predicted pretty universally across different models.

The keen ones rigged while others "gave it ten minutes", some several times. The wind was slowly building but by briefing time it was a still steady force 4-5 and racing was clearly possible.

The fleet launched in something of an air of unease, and the start got away first time. Shortly after the start of the race the wind swung more to the west and whilst the long beat and shorter beat were fine the two broad reaches had become very hairy dead runs and after one lap the gusts really started build and boats began to fall in. The run in front of the clubhouse was particularly spectacular.

After two laps it was clearly getting silly with several crewless boats upside down, and more spinning out downwind or getting blown in upwind. Still the breeze was building and a steady 36kts was recorded in the committee boat. The race was rightly abandoned so that people and boats could be retrieved. By the time the last boat had been recovered sheets of water were being blown off the reservoir and the clubhouse anemometer was recording a believable 55mph.

Who would have won? Who knows!!

Thanks to the race team, scheduled duty crews and many competitors who helped them for keeping everyone safe.

The next Barrel round will be on the 10th February. With no race completed on Sunday there will be four races to count for the series so if you've missed a weekend you can still get a result. See you there!

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