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GP14 Midland Bell Series Round 3 at Bartley Sailing Club

by Charles Saunders 17 Jun 10:34 BST 13 June 2021
Prize winners in the GP14 Midland Bell Open at Bartley © Dave Edwards

It is a year or two since we had a Midland Bell event at Bartley so it was refreshing to visit this excellent piece of water on the outskirts of Birmingham for the third event of the series.

Though the wind forecast was not encouraging, 13 boats signed up to sail, twelve visitors plus the Bartley GP14 fleet captain. After a warm welcome and a briefing we took to the water in very light airs, sharing the event with the K1 class. Being nominally faster, the K1s started first, but the leading GPs were soon in among them making their way to the windward mark which saw Darrell Sleep/Charles Saunders (Staunton Harold) rounding first with the Gold fleet in hot pursuit. The downwind leg became a bit of a lottery with attempts to use the spinnaker providing little advantage and considerable variance of opinion as to where the wind was coming from.

The race officer, Mike Gibson, had set an ambitious course using as much of the reservoir as appeared to have some wind so after a second beat and further off wind legs to keep the crews awake, the race ended after a lap and a beat with Sam Watson/Matt Birks from Nantwich taking the win with Mark McKeever/Evan Base (Midland SC) second and Steve Ward/Mike Acaster (Bartley) third, but every place was keenly contested.

After lunch the wind had filled in a little and the race officer decided to send the GPs off first on a revised course. This time it was Graham Flynn/Frank Nickless (Chase SC) who played the shifts expertly to take the win with Sam/Matt second and Chris Martin/Sam Bailey (Midland) third. Thus with the final race nicely set up and the wind shifting round a little, we were set a new course with a new start line. All got cleanly away with Sam/Matt building a large lead which they held to the end followed by Chris/Sam second and Graham/Frank third.

This made Sam Watson/Matt Birks the event winners, Graham/Frank second and Chris/Sam third overall. What had seemed an unpromising days forecast had turned into an excellent day on the water with very competitive racing throughout the fleet. At the prize-giving the race officer and Bartley SC were thanked for a well run and enjoyable event - we'd love to come back! Results below. Next Midland Bell event is at Trimpley SC on Saturday 19th June.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
114132Sam WatsonMatt BirksNantwich1212
214199Graham FlynnFrank NicklessChase4134
313326Chris MartinSam BaileyMidland6325
414208Mark McKeeverEvan BaseMidland2546
513146Steve WardMike AcasterBartley3669
614072Darrell SleepCharles SaundersSHSC57510
714040Pete ThomsDawn FrostNantwich74711
813263Keith BuddenJohn CooksonTrimpley88816
98764David BeechyPeter JohnTrimpley109918
1013555Richard BinnsSteve DixonNantwich9101019
1113554Dave EdwardsLesley DixonNantwich11111222
1212170Lesley FreemanNick HarrisonTrimpleyDNF121123
1314167Peter StoreyNick MedlicottMidlandDNSDNSDNS 

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