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Comet open meeting at Shustoke Sailing Club

by Dave Turtle 24 May 15:40 BST 19 May 2024

Shustoke Sailing club hosted its second Comet Open on Sunday 19th May in glorious sunshine and a pleasant north-easterly breeze blowing diagonally across the 100+ acre reservoir. It was going to be a good sailing day!

The club is located close to Coleshill in the West Midlands with excellent motorway links and attracted nine visiting boats from across the country. There were representatives from Baltic Wharf, Beer, Burghfield, Chipstead, Eyott, Merthyr Tydfil, Ogston and Staunton Harold sailing clubs. Such was the enthusiasm, that some arrived before the club even opened and were rigging outside the compound when club officials arrived!

The Comet event was run successfully alongside normal club sailing using the same course with a five-minute interval between starts. There was one race before lunch and two back-to-back races in the afternoon. The race team set some excellent courses and testing start-lines making good use of the lake and providing some great racing.

The first race set the scene for the day with many changes in position up the first beat and close racing throughout the fleet as sailors became accustomed to the conditions. First to the windward mark and showing his mastery of the wind shifts was Henry Jaggers (Beer) closely followed by a tightly packed bunch of boats including Cole Briscoe (Shustoke), Chris Robinson (Burghfield), Eddie Pope (Ogston) and Dave Turtle (Shustoke).

However, towards the end of the first lap, it was the home boats of Cole and Dave who emerged in front and gradually extended their lead throughout the three-lap race. Close covering on the final beat saw Cole cross the finish line just ahead of Dave with Henry claiming third place.

There was then a well-earned break which for many is the best part of the day relaxing in the sunshine, catching up with friends and making new ones. An excellent lunch was provided by Dav and Rachel, the hard-working Galley crew, comprising various quiches with all the trimmings followed by plenty of delicious home-made cakes.

The wind had veered a few degrees to the east during the break necessitating a slight adjustment of the course for the afternoon races. Fortunately, the strength remained constant for most of the day but with plenty of shifts to keep everyone on their toes.

The first lap of the second race was led by Jamie Cuxson (Shustoke) but normal service was soon resumed with Cole and Dave vying for first place. After another close tussle, Dave found a lucky lift and opened up a comfortable lead followed by Cole and Jamie, giving the home club a clean sweep.

So, with Cole and Dave each having a first and second place, the overall winner would be decided by the third race. Other places were also in the balance with many having mixed results so everything was to play for in the last race.

After another clean start, the battle was on and it was not long before the top two had established a good lead and were locked in tacking duels for much of the race! However, at the final whistle, Cole crossed the line a few feet ahead to claim the overall prize. Alan Bennett (Staunton Harold) put in an excellent performance to finish third, his best result and enough to claim third place overall on countback from Andy Dale (Eyott).

The day was concluded by prize-giving and a very welcome afternoon tea to sustain the visitors on their way home. Thanks went to the race team, safety crew and galley without whom these events just wouldn't take place. In conclusion, a successful event providing enjoyable and exciting racing from both on and off the water.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st840Cole BriscoeShustoke1‑212
2nd815Dave TurtleShustoke‑2123
3rd126Alan BennettStaunton Harold5‑1138
4th788Andy DaleEyott4‑1048
5th852Jamie CuxsonShustoke‑8369
6th377Eddie PopeOgston‑6459
7th800Henry JaggersBeer37‑1110
8th597Ben PalmerBaltic Wharf75‑912
9th867Chris RobinsonBurghfield‑116713
10th698Nigel WilkinsShustoke98‑1217
11th864Peter MountfordStaunton Harold‑1091019
12th174Meg WarrenChipstead12‑13820
13th694Alun BevanMerthyr Tydfil‑13121325
14th615Ashleigh HemmingShustoke1414(DNF)28

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