South Staffs Open Meeting

Tony Hotchkiss - 26th March 2007

With an improving weather forecast the expectation was for a reasonably warm day with 7 to 10 mph winds. We got the wind but it was mighty cold one!

The visitors will never know how much work went into making their trip to this years Open, reasonably comfortable. Many of us thought the facilities were going to be very patchy at best but with Herculean efforts the stalwarts of South Staffs got everything working and attractive. However, with no sailing at the club since Christmas, the logistics of getting 33 boats onto the water did seem quite a task. There was no need to worry as with patience and co-operation it was accomplished very effectively but it was a good job no one really wanted to get away early as it was almost dark by prizegiving!

The racing was tight and competitive throughout the day. Each race was won by a different team, so the result was a last race battle. The first race was won by Steve Cumley and Eluned Jones, last years winner but there is a rumour that Jonathan Lewis and Tessa Nicholls, may not have taken the best route to the finish line! Nick Marlow and daughter Jo had a great race to finish third.

After a slightly disappointing first race “Smashie” Bennett and Kelsey Suggitt sailed a great race to win the second quite convincingly. Steve & Eluned were second with Jonathan & Tessa third. The final race was tight from the start with all the leading contenders within striking distance except Steve & Eluned who had to fight their way through the fleet. Tom Jeffcote and Toby Wincer were clear early on but were worn down by Jonathan & Tessa to take the gun and the meeting. However, Tom & Toby held on to second and “Smashie” & Kelsey couldn’t get higher than third at the finish.

There were some encouraging performances from some of the South Staffs boats but it was evident they were suffering from lack of practise. Something to do with building a new clubhouse! The Commodore, Martin Evans with daughter Lucy sailed really well to win the Bronze fleet and Matt Stearn & Adam Owens hopefully felt the long trip from Waldringfield was worthwhile, to win the Silver fleet. The prizes were supported by Muc-Off with each boat in the main prizes receiving a new cleaning kit and the fleet winners a tub of Dirty Work Wipes.

1st 2356 Jonathan Lewis & Tessa Nicholls, Burghfield
2nd 2496 Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones, Barnt Green
3rd 2487 Richard Bennett & Kelsey Suggitt, Staunton Harold
4th 2506 Tom Jeffcote & Toby Wincer, Notts County
5th 2462 Nick & Joanna Marlow, Northampton

1st Silver Fleet 2444 Matt Stearn & Adam Owens, Waldringfield
1st Bronze Fleet. 2489 Martin & Lucy Evans, South Staffs