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Blithfield Barrel Round 2 this Sunday

by Michelle Keeling 10 Dec 2019 13:20 GMT 15 December 2019
Blithfield Barrel racing © Iain Ferguson

This Sunday sees the second round of the legendary Blithfield Barrel event. Round 2 promises to offer close racing throughout the fleet, great hospitality, prizes and festive treats.

Race Officer Alan Skitt will be hoping his early request to Santa for a nice breeze will be granted! Alan and his team of elves will be running 2 races with spot prizes spread throughout the fleets thanks to our generous sponsors Harken, Hartley Boats, Birmingham Dinghy Services, Freedom Brewery and Creation Covers.

Blithfield Barrel newbie, Nick Williams, from Staunton Harold Sailing Club reports on his experience from round 1 of the barrel. "Race time at 12.00 and the lake is mirror calm and the car park full of boats, their crews hoping that the wind is going to play today. I have had my briefing on how to rig the Finn and I've noticed that the main difference with my veteran laser is that the Finn has control lines, many, many control lines. During the postponement Pete, the owner, kindly informs me that he has arranged for me to have a pep talk from John Derbyshire the legendary OK sailor and Olympic coach, who's sailing a D-Zero. Friendly and funny, John gives the audience that gathers an insight on how the top guys sail and set up their boats and so I am now fired up to get physical with the beast. Postponement over, after a hearty lunch, I launch and with only mildly frantic advice from Pete on how to lower the centre board we are off to the course.

"Two races follow in very light winds - a bit too light for the Finn but I get around and finish both. Penalty turns for a dubious overlap at a mark meant the second race was one to forget except for Pete, that is, who visibly paled when I ill-advisedly described the incident as "I was barging in at the mark really" in the post race debriefing. The prize-giving was fab with lots of goodies from generous sponsors, I even won the "Bags of Potential" prize due to the expertise of my coaching staff. I'm really looking forward to the Christmas round of the next Barrel where even more prizes are promised and warm festive snacks and rum punch as we come off the water, at least I think that's what Pete said it might have been something about me avoiding collisions in his much admired boat. See you on the 15th December."

After the first round of the barrel, Paul & Michelle Keeling in their RS400 are leading by one point from Matt Biggs & Becka Jones in their Merlin Rocket then Chris Gould & Caroline Croft also in a Merlin.

Briefing will be at 11:15, race starts scheduled for 12:00 and 14:00.

The Blithfield hospitality awaits with excellent wholesome food from the galley, bar available throughout, and free tea and coffee. As a special treat Mulled wine and mince pies will also be on offer.

For more information visit

Round 3 of the barrel series is January 12th 2020. See you there!

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