Grafham Grand Prix
Grafham Water SC

03/01/2021 - 03/01/2021


Bloody Mary
Queen Mary SC

09/01/2021 - 09/01/2021


King George Gallop
King George SC

23/01/2021 - 23/01/2021


John Merricks Tiger Trophy
Rutland SC

06/02/2021 - 07/02/2021


Oxford Blue
Oxford SC

13/02/2021 - 13/02/2021


Blackwater Open Report

What a weekend, perfect Fireball weather both days although Saturdays racing was a bit extreme for some of the new comers to the class and there were more members joining the “horizontal burgee club”! One stop  chandlery are loving the Fireballs as apparently burgee sales are going through the roof!

Barry and his team did a fantastic job all weekend although it was thought the legs were bit short on Saturday,  by the time we got the spinnakers up, it was time to gybe them and then take them down which lead to a very high workrate for the crews and certainly the helms never quite got comfortable and relaxed in the back of the boat. I think we all ached on Saturday night although it has to be said some beer and Bryan’s wine did a lot to soothe the aches.

Sam and Richard gave us a masterly display of boat handling in these conditions and recorded 3 straight wins, they just seemed to have another gear to the rest of us although even they weren’t immune from capsizing, I think a total of 3 for the day so even the experts get it wrong sometimes! Mark and Nigel were unlucky to hook the committee boat anchor line with their rudder and promptly broke it so they had to sail back to the club to borrow another so that scuppered their first race. Charlie and Tony were first BSC boat in 3rd place with Ian and Nicky sailing a blinder to finish 5th just ahead of Bryan and Will. The next race saw Charlie and Tony roll in 20 seconds before the start which is definitely not a fast starting practice. Mark and Nigel were back and fresh for the second start and steadily pulled up through the fleet to finish 2nd , just ahead of Ben and Veronica in their new boat. Charlie & Tony recovered to 5thwith Bryan and Will  were 7th and Nicky and Ian were 9th. At this point we were all a little bit tired and certainly quite cold waiting for the 3rd start and Ian was all for sailing home but Nicky was still so buzzed up with the 5th place that she told him in no uncertain terms to “man up” and just deal with it. Her perseverance paid off with a 7th in the 3rd race.  Veronica and Ben had definitely found the go fast mode in their boat and posted a very good 2nd that kept Sam and Richard on their toes. Charlie and Tony were in a comfortable 3rd but Mark and Nigel were flying and rather worringly from our point of view, took large chunks out of our gap on the last couple of laps. Fortunately for us the race finished when it did as another round might have been a bit too close for comfort as my arms were definitely very tired.

A special mention must be made of Drac’s and Jos’s heroic efforts as newbies in the class. Despite numerous capsizes they finished the first and last races and only retired from the second so that they didn’t keep us waiting for the start for the 3rd race for too long. When they got back on shore they were beaming from ear to ear, full of tales of daring do and swimming!

A good social was had on Saturday night, fish and chips and beer, perfect,  who needs Gordon Ramsey cuisine!

Sunday dawned bright and sunny with another good breeze although it was one notch down on Saturdays breeze. With 2 races scheduled Barry was able to make the legs longer and the fleet enjoyed some perfect Fireball conditions. Charlie and Tony had a great pin end start and then were able to see a lift coming and tacked slightly earlier than the rest of the fleet and led them open up a lead that they continued to build on all race. Fortunately for Charlie & Tony, all their nearest competitors were having a nightmare race with a couple of visitors who had gear damage yesterday taking 2nd and 3rd spots pushing Mark and Nigel down to 4th and Veronica and Ben 10th. Sam and Richard could only recover to 5th place which meant that they had to sail the last race to be sure of winning the meeting. Lucy and Tim started to show their speed today and recorded a 6th place, their results had been 12, 10, 8 & 6th, yes you guessed it they got a 4th in the last race. Another 2 races and they would have had a win! Bryan and Will were unlucky in this race, they were in 3rd or 4th place on the final run home when a huge windshift gybed them unexpectedly and they went swimming and cost them 5 places, bummer! Steve and Angela, who had only joined us for today had a great race and finished 7th, just ahead of Brian Gibson who was crewing for Andy Robinson.

The last race saw Sam & Richard restore their winning ways although they were hard pushed by Ben and Veronica all the way round. Lucy and Tim were really starting to make their boat go and rounded in 3rd just ahead of Mark and Nigel. Charlie and Tony recovered from a poor start and rounded 5th and managed to sail over Mark and Nigel down the reach and just got the inside berth on Lucy at the gybe mark. It was then a real ding dong down to the leeward mark but Mark and Nigel managed to tip it in on the beat so it was then a real tussle between Lucy  and Charlie for 3rd place. Although we both tried hard we could never quite get back into contact with the leading 2 boats and in the end Charlie and Tony held on for 3rd place. Mark and Nigel recovered to finish 6th with Nicky and Ian finishing 8th. Special mention must be made of Steve and  Sue who on the last run down to the leeward mark  saw Sue managing to fall out of the boat leading to a spectacular capsize. This promptly let George and Steve Kuhl through only for Steve and Angel to drop their kite at the mark for safety’s sake and then promptly roll in. George and Dave were 2 sailing at this point and were all set to take another place but much to Dave’s disbelief, George wore round rather than gybed which gave Steve and Angel just enough time to get the boat upright and they finished ½ a boat length in front.

Thanks must go to all who helped make it such a good weekend, Kate, Barry, John Gibbo, Ian and Val Stunt on the committee boat, Alex,  Steve Ash, Judy, Gaynor in the galley, THANKS VERY MUCH!!!!

When Tony and I got back to the club, our main halyard only had 2 strands of wire left at the headboard end, a close call on ruining a great weekend but thankfully we were very lucky!

I don’t know about the rest of you but I feel extremely tired tonight but it’s a good sort of ache, achieved by having some great sailing and competition in lovely conditions, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as Tony and I did!

 Charlie Stewart


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