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South Staffs and Shustoke Preview

Daniel Watson - 15th March 2011

To preview a two part classic that is the South Staffs - Shustoke weekend, I could only wonder which would be better, the first episode or the long-awaited sequel. Are we looking at one of the classics such as Predator where the sequel is just a dull take on the original or could this weekend be more along the lines of the first two Aliens films where the first was brilliant but the second even better?

I now need to move off the subject of films as at this stage as those who asked me to write event previews are probably wondering why they asked me to write this piece.

Although I have never actually sailed at South Staffs though I can confirm that they do a great bonfire night (or was that Shustoke??). It is however the only venue apart from Burghfield where so many people come to watch the action that they built a motorway specially to bring in the crowds. In fact the pure genius of the design is that the spectators can watch all the action without ever even coming off this highway to heaven. This club is also where they train some of the best huggers in the world (Jane being a classic example!).

Then we come to Shustoke which I have definitely sailed at and remember very fondly (if not very well). This is a lake trying to be a river and as my regular readers will know, I can think of nothing better than a long thin piece of water on which to ply my trade. What this lake lacks in terms of a current and tower blocks it more than makes up for in terms of the number of gybe marks the race officer can set in a lap. What is more, Shustoke embodies luxury in every way. From the sweet scented changing rooms to the lush velvet curtains in the clubhouse this venue takes the sailor back to the bygone era of Sir Thomas Sopwith and the J-Class yachts he used to race. The main question here is whether to wear a wetsuit, drysuit or simply a blazer.

The final part of my brief was to provide some actual useful information about the weekend. So both events are 10 each to enter (a bargain if only for the changing rooms at Shustoke and a hug at South Staffs!), racing starts at 11:00 both days and there is a party at South Staffs on Saturday night. Club members have offered floor space to those that want it check out the Lark Forum to co-ordinate your sleeping arrangement. Also check out both the South Staffs and Shustoke websites for directions and other interesting stuff.

I think it is true to say that these events are most likely to turn out like Legally Blonde 1 and 2. They will both be brilliant throughout and leave a little tear in the eye when they come to an end.

Love to all.