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2024 GP14 Midland Bell Open at Chase Sailing Club

by Isabel Tate & Chris Anderson 8 Apr 20:18 BST 24 March 2024
2024 GP14 Midland Bell Open at Chase © Dave Humphries

After arriving at The Chase Sailing Club on the morning of the GP14 open, the wind direction was a favourable NW breeze, blowing straight down the lake. This set the stage for an exciting day of sailing, with the Officer of the day (OOD), Paul Lester, orchestrating three different courses to challenge the competitors.

Despite the cold start, with gusts reaching around 20 knots, the intermittent sunshine promised a fantastic day on the water. It was the ideal kick-off for the GP14 Midland Bell series with 15 boats eagerly rigging up on shore in anticipation of the thrilling races ahead.

Race 1

As the fleet cleared the start line, the excitement of race 1 began. The lack of a defined route to the windward mark allowed each boat to carve its own path, intensifying the competition. Justin Jones and Chris Anderson seized the lead, navigating their way to the windward mark first, closely followed by Fergus and Jasper Barnham, with Rob Stringer and Pete Tate in third. However, the remainder of the fleet was not far behind, rapidly closing the gap. Despite the challenging conditions, with spinnakers billowing and gusts persisting, Justin and Chris maintained their lead throughout the first lap.

During the second lap, Rob and Pete utilized their local knowledge of the lake to their advantage, surging to the front of the fleet and rounding the windward mark in first place. Meanwhile, Fergus trailed second and Justin had dropped to third. The battle for the top three positions intensified, with Sam Watson and Darren Roach leading the chase in fourth. As the race progressed, several dinghies made significant achievements, creating thrilling moments on the water.

In a nail-biting finish Justin and Chris reclaimed the lead, with Fergus and Jasper close on their heels. Sam and Darren swiftly closed the gap, ultimately securing third place. While Rob and Pete narrowly missed out, finishing fourth. The intense competition set the stage for the following races, promising more excitement to come.

After a quick break to enjoy some hot refreshments, it was time for race 2.

Race 2

With the wind remaining constant from the north-west, Race 2 commenced with a slightly adjusted course, adding a tighter reach to keep the racing engaging. Despite a few competitors encountering boat problems, the fleet remained disciplined resulting in another clean start. Once again, Justin and Chris surged to the windward mark first, closely pursued by Sam and Darren, with Fergus and Jasper in third.

As the race progressed, tactical manoeuvres became crucial, leading to constant position changes throughout the fleet. Sam and Darren capitalized on gusts during the downwind leg, securing the lead and maintaining it till the finish line. Fergus and Jasper held on to second place, while Justin and Chris battled to secure third. Rob and Pete put up a valiant effort, finishing fourth amidst the closely contested race.

With two races down and one to go, the tension mounted as the top three boats remained tied on points, setting the stage for a thrilling conclusion in Race 3.

Race 3 - The Decider

The final race of the day, Race 3, was dubbed "The Decider," with the top three boats all vying for victory. As the fleet lined up for the start, anticipation was palpable. Fergus and Jasper made an early break, reaching the windward mark first, but a collision with the mark cost them vulnerable time, allowing Sam and Darren to take the lead, followed closely by Justin and Chris.

Throughout the race, shifting winds and intense competition kept the outcome uncertain. Despite Justin and Chris retiring from the race, the battle for the remaining positions raged on. Ultimately, Sam and Darren showcased their dominance, defending their lead against Fergus and Jasper's relentless pursuit. Rob and Pete secured third place with Eden Hyland and Alex Berry closely behind in fourth.

The day concluded with Sam Watson and Darren Roach emerging victorious, their constant performance throughout the races earning them top spot. It was a day of exhilarating sailing, characterized by high winds, intense competition, and exceptional skill on display. Special thanks were extended to the OOD for setting challenging courses, as well as rescue crews and galley volunteers for their contributions to the events success. Congratulations to all competitors for a memorable day on the water.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1stGold14132Sam WatsonDarren RoachNantwich‑3112
2ndGold14199Justin JonesChris AndersonChase13(RET)4
3rdGold14238Fergus BarnhamJasper BarnhamNorthampton‑2224
4thSilver13751R StringerP TateChase SC‑4437
5thSilver14239E HylandA BerryChase SC‑7549
6thGold13146Steve WardH HopkinsBartley5‑6611
7thSilver14048Neil DaviesMichelle EvansChase‑117512
8thBronze13253Nathen VyseNigel SpurrChase68‑914
9thSilver14072Darrell SleepCharles SaundersStaunton Harold8.5‑9715.5
10thSilver14246C GroveR SlackChase SC10(DNF)818
11thBronze13836E MintonD HopkinsChase‑14101121
12thSilver13263K BuddenB RobertsTrimpley SC13(DNF)1023
13thSilver13813Peter ThomasDawn FrostNantwich1211(DNS)23
14thSilver13868Oliver DumbeltonFionaNantwich8.5(DNS)DNS25.5
15thSilver13780Lesley FreemanSue HarrisonTrimpley(DNS)DNSDNS34
15thSilver12341Matthew ThomasTBCTrimpley SC(DNF)DNSDNS34

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