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South Cerney SC Open Meeting Review

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Joint Midland/Western Series

Review by Paul Kimmens

Twenty one boats descended on South Cerney Sailing Club in the heart of the picturesque Cotswolds on Saturday 30th September for the NSCA Western Series event sponsored by Triggernaut & Magic Marine and NSCA Midlands Series event sponsored by Allen.

The forecast was for light winds building to 8-10 knots by lunchtime. On arrival at 08:30 the Race Officer, Ian Kelly, went strangely quiet obviously praying to the wind gods as there was not a breath of wind on the lake and the water had mirror finish that could have passed as a shaving mirror.

Visitors were soon arriving to be greeted with the unmistakable smell of sausage and bacon butties and the aroma of fresh coffee, the food of champions. With butties scoffed and briefing completed the race team and competitors headed out onto the water which was showing promising signs of a gentle breeze from the south east

Race 1

Obviously the Race Officer had connections with the powers that be and after a short AP there was sufficient wind across the course, albeit light and shifty, to get the racing underway. The 1st start got way under a uniform flag at the 1st attempt and the fleet headed off to the windward mark. It was all about reading the shirts and Martin Honnor (5880) got the shifts right and lead at the windward mark. The course was ‘around the cans’ and the RO had cleverly put two beats into the course slightly offset from each other to cater for the shifty conditions and the wind gods duly obliged by timing the shifts to give the fleet two good beats.

At the end of the 1st lap 5880 had built a rather convincing lead of approximately 20 boats lengths with 5736 (Iain Carpenter) and 3847(Mike Barnes) chasing in 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

As the race progressed 5880 extended his lead to win convincingly with 5858 (Ian Ingram) in 2nd and 5736 in 3rd.

Race 2

The wind had gently increased during race 1 and had shifted right so after a swift course adjustment race 2 got underway, well nearly. The competitors were obviously far too excited by the increase in wind strength and hit the trigger a bit early. Far too many boats were over the line at the start and the RO did not have a big enough pencil to write down all the sail numbers so a general recall. Was the order of the day. As promised the RO deployed the black flag for the second attempt which had the desired effect and the race got away with great starts for 6074(Chris Brown) and 5515(Mac Powell) at the pin end.

Once again it was all about reading the shifts and as the leaders went round the leeward mark to start lap 3 5880, 5858, and 6074 lad the fleet but with barely any daylight between them. It was all to play for on the last lap.

5880 and 6074 went left up the beat with 5858 going to the right. Left payed off and at the windward mark 5880 had a healthy lead of 10 boat lengths followed by 6074 with 5858 in 3rd place regretting their decision to go right.

At the finish it was 5880 followed by 6074 and 5858. It had been a great morning for 5880 as we headed back to the clubhouse for a short lunch break.

Race 3

As forecast the breeze strengthened as the fleet returned to the water after lunch. Having gone to a black flag for race 2 the RO kept his promise from the briefing and stuck with the black flag for race 3 The wind had shifted further right requiring a course change which used 6 of the available 8 marks. Some of the competitors reckoned that had seen easier knitting patterns! But with a lead boat taking the fleet around the course on the 1st lap everyone settled into the race.

Normal service ensued at the end of lap 1 with 5880 leading by 20 boat lengths with 6074 and 5401 (Andrew Bownes) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The wind had stabilised a bit (as much as can be expected on an inland lake) and was now coming from the south. At the finish 5880 took the gun a full 30 boat lengths ahead of 6074 and 5858.

Race 4

With 3 bullets under his belt the event leader, Martin Honnor, led the chorus for a change of course with fewer marks and the RO duly obliged setting a sausage triangle course for the last race.

The RO was consistent with his race management and Race 4 was another black flag start. 5721 (Graham Wilson) had obviously decided that he wanted to be 1st in the queue for the afternoon tea and cakes and was over the line with 5 seconds to go and thus black flagged and set off back to the shore for an early bath. The rest of the fleet headed off on the 1st of the sausages.

As the fleet rounded the leeward sausage mark for the 2nd time 5858 lead by a boat length from 5926 (John Steels) and 5880 but on the next lap 5880 had pulled a place back now in 2nd chasing 5858 who held onto the lead.

The three leading boats held station on the second triangle and 5858 took the final gun, followed by 5880 and 5926.

The fleet headed to shore racing towards an afternoon tea with a plethora of cakes and biscuits to suit all tastes.

At the prize giving the consensus was that it had been a great days racing, well managed by the RO, Ian Kelly, and his team.

Martin Honnor (5880) was the overall winner of the event, with an Ingram (5858) in second place and Chris Brown (6074) taking third place. A special mention for Monty Hampton, one of the South Cerney Cadet sailors, who sailed the event in a borrowed boat finishing 7th overall and 1st placed South Cerney boat.

Many thanks to all the visitors and the sponsors for supporting the event.

The overall winner, Martin Honnor, showing us how it’s done.

All the prize winners

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