Stuart and Beci Hydon win South Staffs open

Tony Hotchkiss - 28th March 2010

Final race victory sees Stuart and Beci take the first open of the 2010 Season

With almost perfect sailing conditions, South Staffs welcomed 25 boats for the first Lark Open Meeting of the season. Although the wind swung all day the north westerly wind remained fairly predictable for most of the event.

In race one a general recall brought out the black flag for the re-start. When the race got underway, it was two of the home boats that read the line and wind the best, with John & Sue Billington taking an early lead from Neil Goodhead and his young son Oliver (10). John & Sue managed to pull away early on but, to everyones surprise, Neil & Oliver held off most of the rest of the fleet without using the spinnaker downwind. Towards the end of the race, Stuart & Beci Hydon from Shustoke, did manage to catch and pass Neil & Oliver to finish 2nd, with the following boats all having a battle for the next four places.

After lunch the fleet got away first time in Race 2, and the top 4 or 5 places were hard fought for a lap. Emma Harris & Becky Priest from Waldringfield pulled away into a long lead, with several boats all fighting it out for second place. Right at the end of the race Stuart & Beci found a favourable wind shift and caught right up with Emma & Becky, who just managed to hold their winning position. Stuart & Beci finished 2nd, and after a tough battle were followed by John & Sue in 3rd and Smashie Bennett & Nicola Booth in 4th.

So the last race really was a decider with three teams battling it out for the event. Again a clean start saw Stuart and Beci making the most of it, to lead from the first mark all the way to the finish. They didn't have it all their own way, with Emma & Becky in touch, although John & Sue initially seemed rather buried in the pack. With some fairly strong gusts coming in throughout the race it was always exciting and, although Smashie & Nic were in contention for the race, they did lose out to both Emma & Becky and then John & Sue. By this time John & Sue were on fire and pulled through Emma & Becky to finish second which gave them 2nd overall for the meeting. This meant that Stuart & Beci Hydon deservedly won the event with Emma & Becky 3rd.

As ever South Staffs put on a warm welcome and was rewarded by a great turnout. Bill Bradburn and his team gave the fleet great races and off the water the lunch and legendary cakes for tea kept all competitors happy!

1st Stuart & Beci Hydon
2nd John & Sue Billington
3rd Emma Harris & Becky Priest
4th Smashie Bennett & Nic Booth
5th Neil & Oliver Goodhead
6th Justin Jones & Lucy Evans
7th Simon Cox & Adam Owens
8th Chris Whitehouse & Chris Robinson
9th Will Croxford & Chris Warburton
10th Nick Marlow & Sara Cox