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Chelmarsh SC Open Meeting Review

Sponsored by Allen

Review by Matt Robinson - Photos by Adrian Speke

After much deliberation throughout the Friday, due to low wind forecast, the team at Chelmarsh Sailing Club decided to hold the Open event. This forms part of the Allen sponsored Midland Areas.

As the first of the 17 entrants began to arrive, which included 11 visitors, the wind was still coming from the northerly direction and around 2-3 knots. This was ideal for the early morning open water swimmers at the club, but not looking too inviting to the sailors. Breakfast sandwiches were provided by the catering team of Kerry, Linda and Ray. Once these were eaten and the tea supped, the wind started behaving as forecast and began its easterly swing and rise to 4-6 knots.

After introductions from the Chelmarsh Solo Fleet Captain, the briefing from the race team was completed on the upper deck of the clubhouse and the entrants took to water.

The light shifty conditions proved a challenge on setting a neutral start line. But credit to the race team, shortly after 11.00hrs the fleet were off cleanly at the first attempt. It was evident from the onset of race one who the helms to catch were. Kev Hall, Martin Honnor and Mike Cossey soon pulled out a commanding lead by the windward mark. These went on to have a close battle between themselves with the lead constantly changing between Kev and Martin throughout the race. The rest of the fleet also saw some close racing with many tactical battles taking place. It was one of those days where being in the right place at the right time made huge benefits. Many place changes were encountered throughout. In some instances helms found themselves dropping from the upper echelons of the fleet to last place on one leg, to find themselves back up on the next. The race finished with Martin Honnor first, Kev Hall Second and Mike Cossey in third.

With the wind still in attendance, the race team decided to hold race two back to back with race one. After a course change the second race was underway, again cleanly at the first attempt. In the even shiftier conditions Martin Honnor showed some good boat speed from the off, and pulled out a commanding lead by the windward mark which was never relinquished.During this race the remainder of the fleet split into three. A small group broke away chasing Martin Honnor that included Mike Cossey, Kev Hall and two home boats of Jonathon Carter and Mike Whitehouse.Behind this chasing pack, the fleet split into two further groups. Each group saw some close racing with places changing consistently. The second race ended with Martin Honnor in first, Mike Cossey in second and Kev Hall in third.

A superb lunch was provided by the catering team of Linda Thursfield and Sally Fowler. Once the famous (to Chelmarsh SC) Guinness cake, baked by Berni Carter, had been devoured, the wind unfortunately decided to leave and the water became becalmed. With 2 races completed and a result calculated, it was decided to abandon the final race.

Throughout the course of the day, the fleet also had a family battle taking place with bragging rights to whoever finished highest. Anna and Lee Nankervis, along with their son Ben from Shropshire competed along with Anna’s Father Tony Hotchkiss from South Staffs. The bragging rights this time went to Anna, who finished equal points with Tony but attained the higher finish in Race 2. One to watch out for in the future is Ben Nankervis who finished ahead of his grandad Tony in race 1.

With the boats packed away, it was time to retire to the clubhouse. Thanks were given to the race and safety team of Dave Thursfield, Will Ranson, Maria Roche, Adrian Speke and Phil Griffin, who provided some good courses in tricky conditions. Prizes provided by both Allen and Chelmarsh Sailing Club were awarded to:

1st Martin Honnor

2nd Mike Cossey

3rd Kev Hall

1st Junior Ben Nankervis

1st Lady Anna Nankervis

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