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GP14 Midland Bell open meeting at Midland Sailing Club

by Charles Saunders 13 May 2021 21:38 BST 9 May 2021

At last! The first Midland Bell open meeting for 18 months got under way at Midland SC in Edgbaston, Birmingham on Sunday 9th May. The host club made us all very welcome and a total of eleven boats sailed, five from the home club and six visitors (five Trimpley, one Staunton Harold). The wind was in a good direction for sailing but launching from a lee shore was difficult in the stiff breeze.

The race officers got us cleanly away on time at 11.00 and it soon became apparent that four Midland SC boats were going to have an almost private and close battle for the top spots with the rest of us trailing in their wakes. So it proved with Mark McKeever/Kev Hopkins taking the win followed by Chris Martin/Sam Bailey and Chris Winters/George Crabtree.

We were all somewhat rusty after the long enforced layoff, so there were inevitably a few hairy moments and gear breakages, however, the sun shone and we were sailing again at last.

The sun was kind enough to stay out for most of the day, so eating our packed lunches outside felt balmy. After lunch, the breeze if anything had stiffened, though still from a good direction so we sailed the same course with a similar result: Chris Martin took the bullet, Mark McKeever second, and Mike Homer/Olly Maclean the third spot, Chris Winter, fourth.

So all set up for the final race decider. The race officer then decided to send us to all the marks he hadn't used already, with the two beats being at slightly different angles as the wind had shifted round a little.

The results reverted to the same as race 1, making Mark McKeever (the winner of the 'Bell in 2019) the overall winner, followed by Chris Martin, and Chris Winters. If this is going to be the level of competition this year, it could be a lively series, nobody is going to have an easy ride.

Overall it was an excellent days sailing, thank you Midland SC - a great start to the series. Next event is at Nantwich & Border Counties SC on 30th May.

Midland SC were generous with prizes, for Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets, first lady, plus some spot prizes, "best capsize", most consistent results...

Overall Results:

PosSail no.HelmCrewClubR1R2R3Net
114208Mark McKeeverKev HopkinsMSC1212
213326Chris MartinSam BaileyMSC2123
313176Chris WintersGeorge CrabtreeMSC3437
413204Mike HomerOlly MacleanMSC4347
514072Darrell SleepCharles SaundersSHSC55510
68764David BeechyIan PattersonTSC77613
713662Laurence BowbanksStuart JonesMSCDNS6915
812170Lesley FreemanAndy BlakewayTSCDNF9716
913377Peter JohnSusan WebbTSC98816
1013975Simon FletcherJohn CooksonTSC6DNFDNS18
1113263Keith BuddenBen RobertsTSC8DNFDNS20

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