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Blithfield Barrel Round 2

by Chris Martin 3 Jan 2020 06:47 GMT 15 December 2019
Blithfield Barrel Round 2 © Neil David

Sunday 15th December saw round two of the Blithfield Barrel winter race series. It was billed to be a chilly and windy affair but on arrival whilst it was cold, the breeze was perfectly manageable at around a force 3-4 blowing straight onshore - a tricky direction for race officers and competitors alike!

PRO Alan Skitt opted to split the fleet into two starts due to anticipated congestion after the relatively short beats. Both starts got under way first time, and the right hand side of the beat was the place to be, Pete Gray and Rachael Rhodes tacked on to port very early in the fast fleet and crossed over giving themselves a decent lead at the windward mark.

The wind gradually died off as the race went on, but the fast fleet took the podium places with Chris Gould and Caroline Croft taking first, Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby second and Pete Gray and Rachael Rhodes holding third.

After another superb Blithfield lunch the fleet launched for the afternoon which saw an increase in wind strength and a slight shift round to the right. This had a further wobble with about a minute to go leading to a postponement while things settled down. This they did, and the starts again got off first time. The right hand-side paid again with Matt Biggs and Tom Pygall leading by a whisker at the first mark from Chris Martin and Samuel Bailey. The wind started to build after the lead boats rounded leading to a big squeeze at the second mark.

Matt and Tom did a bit of a horizon job on the water in this race, but a large squall on the last lap led to many casualties on the final run and also gave the slow fleet something of a birthday as both fleets sailed two laps. Sam Watson and Andy Hunter in a GP14 took first place, with Matt and Tom having to settle for second and Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby in third.

Matt Biggs, Beka Jones/Tom Pygall are now leading the series tied on points with Chris & Caroline, Andy Davis & Pippa Kilsby move into 3rd.

Its all looking pretty tight moving into the 3rd Round, so come along on Sunday 12th January 2020 & join in the action.

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

View full results at www.blithfield.org.uk/barrel

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