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Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90

Blithfield Barrel Round 1

by Michelle Keeling 26 Nov 2019 09:05 GMT 24 November 2019
Rigged and undeterred in Blithfield Barrel Round 1 © Neil David

Sunday 24th November saw the first round of the legendary Blithfield Barrel take place. 43 teams arrived to a mist covered windless lake, but most appeared undeterred and rigged anyway.

Race officer Alan Skitt wisely took the decision for us to have an early lunch and go for two races back to back in the afternoon as the forecast showed the wind to be increasing throughout the day.

Race 1 was to be sailed in a light South East Breeze. With most of the pressure on the right of the course & a Starboard biased line, it was no surprise that we were recalled to start again under the threat of the black flag.

The restart got away cleanly with Simon Potts & Molly McArthur in their Merlin Rocket first out of the blocks & opting to stay right on the now squarer beat. The fleet split with a few opting to sail the longer route to the right in a little more breeze or those working the shifts to the left. For a while it looked like the boats on the left were in the money seats but a nice shift bought the right siders in to make for a somewhat crowded windward mark.

Simon Potts & Molly McArthur extended away with Chris Gould & Caroline Croft also in a Merlin giving chase. You could have been mistaken into thinking it was a Merlin Open with 22 of the entries being Merlin Rockets, but for the RS400 of Paul & Michelle Keeling slipping into 3rd,, this being the finishing positions for race 1.

Race 2 was started in pretty much the same direction but with the left of the course now paying. As is customary with port biased lines the whole fleet went too soon so were recalled to start under the Black Flag again. This time Mike & Liz Senior in a Merlin Rocket were first out of the blocks & led around the windward mark closely followed by a sea of Merlins & 1 lonely RS400. By the end of the race Matt Biggs & Becka Jones in another Merlin had moved in to take first with Paul & Michelle Keeling RS400 taking second with Mike & Liz Senior taking 3rd.

So after the first round of the barrel, it was consistency that paid off with Paul & Michelle Keeling leading by one point from Matt Biggs & Becka Jones then Chris Gould & Caroline Croft.

Massive thanks to all the sponsors Harken, Birmingham Dinghy Services, Creation Covers, Hartley Boats & Freedom Breweries for supplying fabulous prizes.

View full results at

The next round of the Blithfield Barrel will be the 15th December 2019, for more great races, prizes and fabulous cake!

See you there!

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