Strong turnout from across the region
Sandwiched between the GP14 Midland Championship at Chase the weekend before and the Inlands at Bala next weekend there were some worries about turnout to this event. But on arrival the car park was already busy with GP14 crews were unpacking their boats. Amongst them were a goodly number of the “usual suspects”, as well as some new faces.
A fleet of 19 GP14s, including 17 visiting boats from South Staffs, Chase, Midlands, North Staffs, Aldridge, Nantwich, Trimpley, Bartley and (eventually) Welsh Harp attended. The weather forecast was not encouraging with light to moderate winds and almost continuous rain predicted for the day. For once the forecast was right!
After bacon sandwiches and a briefing from PRO Grahame Newton, we set sail for the far corner of the reservoir for the first race. A course covering two thirds of the reservoir included a longish first beat, towards the dam. The adrenalin however, was all too much, and the inevitable General Recall was flagged. We all turned back to welcome late arrival Magic from Welsh Harp . It was clearly an act of kindness on our part, in honour of his long journey up the notorious M1. The restart sequence featured the dreaded Black Flag of course, but nobody transgressed and we set off down the lake.
The number of “Starboard” shouts gradually reduced and pretty early on Ian Willis/Keith Dutton emerged at the front of the pack. The duo steadily increased their lead, and won the first race by a considerable distance. In second place was local expert Nigel Pepperdine with super crew Simon Forbes in the front seat. Third were Richard Instone/Steve Parker.
Post race 1, a tasty lunch, served up by the galley team, proved very welcome. The hot Pea and Ham chowder was just what we needed given the November air temperatures! The Miracles then joined the afternoon racing for their Midland Championship day one, with 2 back to back races.
Race 2 and 3
With an amended course sailing the whole length of the reservoir, this time it was Pepperdine/Forbes who snuck to the front and hung on there. Meanwhile Willis/Dutton climbed up to second from a poorish start and Instone/Parker came in third again.
The wind had shifted round, so another excellent GP14 course for the final race saw Willis/Dutton make no mistakes to take the bullet (and the event). Pepperdine/Forbes followed to take second and Instone/Parker third again. Good tussles were to be had all the way down the fleet and Silver fleet winners were Derek Fleming/Seonaid Young in 6th. Bronze fleet winner was local youth sailor Peter Nugent crewed by Charles Saunders in 15th. At the prize giving Ian Willis thanked everybody involved in putting on the event and all the GP14 visitors for coming. We all left for our warm beds, leaving the Miracle fleet to camp overnight in single figure temperatures. That’s Spring in the Midlands for you!