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Chase SC Open Meeting Sponsored by Allen - Review

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

It has taken a little while to pull all the results, photos and details together in what turned out to be an interesting event. Thanks to Jane Drury for writing the event review, this time from a spectator's perspective.

Chase Sailing Club is situated just North of Birmingham, close to the M6 Toll and A5 and easily accessible. This was our first trip here and we were greeted by a handful of stewards. Despite being one of the earlier arrivals, there were plenty of people about; a result of the Lightning Nationals also being held over the weekend, with a similar size entry.

After the usual setup, we were on the search for some breakfast. In the Clubhouse, a pretty spectacular array of cakes was laid out for a MacMillan coffee morning; a truly fantastic idea and I believe both fleets were supportive with their consumption. There was also, arguably, the best bacon and sausage buttie of the year so far.

The briefing took place in glorious sunshine by Race Officer Paul Lester, with the Lightning and Solo fleets present. The Race Officer mentioned the process for starting and any general recalls will bring out the ‘U’ flag, and if that doesn’t work then the dreaded black flag will be shown. The Lightning’s 5 minute horn would be on the Solo’s off.

Nineteen Solos took to the water for the start of the first race.

Race one got away without a general recall, but the one sound signal denoting individual recalls. The offenders correctly returned and started to see if they could recover. Once the Lightning’s set off, it was busy on the water.

The wind was varying in pressure and direction making some huge wins and losses available if you were in the right place or spotted a patch of wind approaching. Jonny Coate worked hard in the conditions calling the shifts correctly to take the win, Eden Hyland sailing his father’s boat caught one of those shifts on the last beat to snatch second from Jonathan Swain, sporting his new Solo (6055).

Photos Charlie Minton

The wind came and went during the first race, before the start of the second race the wind went. Completely. Some sailors started heading for the shore, reminiscent of a few of the national champ races sailors seem to know…..and probably the fact there was cake.

From the shore, I could feel sunburn setting in, and with no clue what was going on from my vantage point, I retreated to the clubhouse. Alas, with such a spread across the two fleets and time taken to finish, the sailors did come in for lunch after Race one.

Whilst most queued at the galley for a chowder, Chris Brown was spotted by the cake table and, in jest, I’d asked him if he was having cake for lunch. Completely without hesitation, he assured me he absolutely was and began his selection. As we found out later, it was actually his birthday, so one can only assume he also had cake for breakfast and dinner. It didn’t seem to affect performance, so all for a good cause. Many happy returns, Chris.

Lunchtime chat revolved around the feasibility of squeezing in three back-to-back races, some sailors were in need of a discard after a disappointing Race one. With a bit of encouragement, the consensus was to go for for it and a max exodus from the picnic tables ensued.

Race two was similar to race one, except the wind had shifted to a NE direction. Big gains and losses were again the norm with places changing occurring all through the fleet constantly. This time Jonathan Woodward gave his fellow South Staffs sailor a good race, finishing first with Jonny Coate second and Martin Honner third.

Photo Dave Humphries

Race three - The first inkling something had gone down in race three was when a few boats appeared closer to shore, without the rest of the fleet.

As it transpired, a change of windward mark for Race three saw leader Martin Honner sail the wrong way around the third mark which the whole fleet followed. It was Kev Hall that realised this was the wrong course and with Jonny Coate turned around and were first to begin the unwind and correct rounding of the mark.

Some decided not to correct the error and later retired from the race and headed for shore, assuming there wasn’t time to get a fourth race in. Apologies were made on shore and 13 Solos stayed out. First was Kev Hall followed by Jonathan Woodward in second and Jonny Coate third.

Race four - With minutes to spare before the 4PM cut off, the RO got the fleet away for the fourth race. Once again wind shifts and different pressure were across the racecourse. Jonny Coate needed to beat fellow club sailor Jonathan Woodward to take the open meeting win and as with all previous races the places were swapping constantly. Chris Brown took the win with Jonny Coate second and local sailor Richard Instone third.

Jonny Coate, who took the overall first place with Jonathan Woodward second and birthday boy Chris Brown in third.

Jonny thanked the race and safety teams for managing to get the four races completed in difficult conditions. Thanks also went to the galley for providing food and Allen for providing the prizes. Allen spot prizes went to 1st Junior – Callum Anderson (16th) and 1st Lady Trish Blackham (19th) Club prizes were awarded to furthest travelled – John Steels (8th) and 1st home club boat – Richard Instone (7th)

Next round is at Notts County on 1st October

By Jane Drury

Photos by Dave Humphries

Photos by Charlie Minton

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