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News - Latest News
17 Apr 2011

GP14 Midland Bell Open

Despite a wind forecast of almost nothing, 8 visitors and 4 home boats rigged up to contest the 5th round of the Midland Bell series held at Staunton Harold SC on Sunday 17th April. Several Midland Bell regulars had just recovered their boats from the container bringing them back from the GP worlds in Sri Lanka, so were hoping to get back on the water and show their mettle. As in previous years, the event was shared with the Scorpion class to optimize the use of the lake. The forecast was accurate, but eventually 2 or 3 boats took to the water and demonstrated that movement was possible, so Grahame Newton as Race Officer got the fleet away to a clean start at about 12.15.

A good start was essential, followed by guessing which side of the beat was favoured, but class showed with Dave Young and Seoaid Fleming first to the windward mark, followed by the current GP youth champions in the new Boon built GP - as seen at the Dinghy show. However, fortunes can be won and lost in conditions like these and so it was that the last boat to the windward mark, exited the next mark rounding in 4th place, only to lose several places on a later leg as the wind came and went from different directions. Spinnakers were hoisted, gybed and dropped on almost every leg of the course to try and catch the few zephyrs on offer and convert them into forward motion. After about an hour, the race officer curtailed the "fun", 1 lap having been sailed (the Scorpions had managed slightly more, I think).

The sweaty, stiff and sunburnt sailors then headed for the galley, for some excellent hot and cold food, followed by close study of the distant massing cloud formations, admiring the Froggatt triplets and sunbathing in front of the club house. At 2.45 Grahame wisely declared it was all over for the day, the grey cloud having killed what little thermal breeze there had been and the lake resumed its undisturbed mirror finish.

So, line honours went to the Youth champions Pete Mitchell and Andy Hunter, followed by John Salomonson and super-Mum of triplets Sarah Froggatt and in third, last years Midland Bell series winner Pete Jacques and Peter Tate. Leading the silver fleet, Roy Nettleship and Sabine Schamberg came in 5th ahead of the first Staunton boat John Robinson and Paul Williams. The Staunton Harold GP14 Novice cup went to David Ewbank and son Kamran (aged 7) sailing their first open meeting.

Pete Mitchell thanked the home club for the running the event,(squeezing a race out of nothing) and the galley crew for their hospitality.

The next Midland bell event is at North Staffs SC on Saturday 7th May, lets hope there is some wind for that one!