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Craftinsure GP14 Midland Championships at Staunton Harold Sailing Club

by Charles Saunders 20 Apr 17:26 BST
Craftinsure GP14 Midland Championships at Staunton Harold © SHSC

This was the first event in the Super Seven Craftinsure-sponsored series in 2019 and attracted some top helms from around the country in a fleet of 16 boats. The forecast had been for a decent Easterly breeze all weekend and for the most part it delivered, with slightly stronger winds for the first five races and dying off somewhat for the last one on Sunday afternoon.

After breakfast and briefing from Race Officer Grahame Newton we all headed for the start, where everyone behaved themselves properly and we tacked up the beat towards the Water Treatment Works shore. It wasn't too long before Sam Watson 7 Andy Hunter (together again!) emerged at the front of the pack to take the bullet followed by Andy Smith & Phil Hodgkins of Ginger Boats and then James Goodfellow & Jane Kearney in third.

After an excellent chicken chasseur lunch, we launched again, now sharing with the Miracle class Midland Championship. Start lines and courses were varied for races 2 and 3 to test every aspect of sailing and still no need for the dreaded Black flag. Conditions were quite testing at times with the shifts and gusts making for a real game of snakes and ladders. The same two boats were at the front in race 2 followed by Ian & Gemma Dobson in third. Race 3 saw Sam & Andy win yet again, followed by James & Jane in second and Andy & Phil third. By the end of Saturday it looked as though these three were the favourites for the podium positions.

In the evening, for those that chose to, there was a delicious curry, followed by cheesecake and beer (Ay Up from the Dancing Duck Brewery in Derby). The barrel was duly emptied and we retired to bed or tent for the night, in subzero temperatures.

Sunday dawned with grey skies and pretty similar wind as we launched, for two races back to back. Race 4 was completed with the same top three as Race 3. The course was changed again for Race 5 and the start flags dropped followed by the individual recall toot and flag. At least one boat went back, but was it the right one? Sam and Andy worked their way to the front once more and duly came to the finish line, but no toot they had been OCS at the start the only start line transgression of the weekend is this a record for the GP14 fleet who are normally famed for pushing the line?

After another good lunch, Race 6 started in a decent breeze, but it gradually died off, which shook up the order in the top half of the fleet completely Ian Willis & Keith Dutton were first, followed by Sam & Andy and then Chris Martin & Samuel Bailey of Midland SC in third. The Bronze fleet winner was also settled in this race with Peter Nugent squeezing a lead out of one of the spinnaker legs to secure his position.

Overall, Sam Watson & Andy Hunter were the clear winners, with Andy Smith & Phil Hodgkins second and James Goodfellow & Jane Kearney third and winning the Silver Fleet. The Bronze fleet was won by youth sailor Peter Nugent, crewed by Charles Saunders. Once again the GP14 fleet showed that competitive racing can be had throughout the fleet by all ages from teenagers to mid-seventies. At the prize giving Sam Watson thanked everybody involved in putting on the weekend and all the sailors for taking part we certainly had a great time.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold14132Sam WatsonAndy HunterNantwich1111(OCS)26
2ndGold14206Andy SmithPhil HodgkinsBassenthwaite22331‑711
3rdSilver14241James GoodfellowJane KearneyHarwich/S Staffs3‑10224617
4thGold13251Ian DobsonGemma DobsonBurwain43752‑821
5thSilver14240Russ CormackAli CormackBudworth‑54445421
6thGold14021Ian WillisKeith DuttonSouth Staffs‑86663122
7thSilver13326Chris MartinSamuel BaileyMidland/S Staffs655‑86325
8thGold14177Peter JacquesMichelle EvansChase78‑997536
9thGold14199Frank NicklessSteve ParkerChase99878(DNS)41
10thSilver14190John SolomonsonAnne WakelingAldridge‑11710109945
11thSilver13974Nick BrandonLisa CarpenterSouth Staffs1011‑1212101255
12thSilver14139Derek FlemingSeonaid YoungSouth Staffs13(DSQ)1111111056
13thBronze13949Peter NugentCharles SaundersStaunton Harold‑15121513131164
14thBronze13785John RobinsonMartin DenchfieldStaunton Harold12131314‑151365
15thBronze13555Joe BellinghamRichard BinnsNantwich14‑151415121469
16thBronze13263Keith BuddenBen RobertsTrimpley1614(DNF)16141575

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