Souths Staffs Open Report
Having been tested to the limit on Saturday at Shustoke on Saturday, the 35 Larks launching on Sunday at South Staffs were met by a much more forgiving (if a little variable) 2-3 and lots of spring sunshine.
Race One got under way first time. Matt Stearn and Adam Owens from Waldringfield SC drove hard to round in first and, although challenged by renowned pond sniggler, Bob Suggitt & Josh Stuart and locals, John and Sue Billington they managed to stay ahead. With nearly an hour long's race, the fleet spread out considerably although there were still many opportunities for place changing, particularly up the shifty beats. The end of the final beat proved just such a place, when the Billingtons boats got stuck in a hole, just managing to cross the line to take 3rd before Emma Harris & Becky Priest and Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones could get through.
After a scrummy South Staffs lunch, Race 2 was started with and a vastly biased port line. After one general recall, the PRO flew the black flag so the fleet was quite line shy. However, at 30 seconds, it was obvious the fleet would not make the line on starboard, and Harris & Priest were able to run along the line at the pin on port, just crossing Cumley & Jones' bow before heading up for at the gun. Cumley & Jones made it to the mark in front, and sailed with Harris & Priest on their tails for 2 laps before being overhauled. By the end of the race Harris & Priest had pulled out a considerable lead. Steve Hall & Simon Haighton came in third.
Going into the last race, any one of 8 boats could still win the event. A very shifty breeze made setting the start a little trying, and by the time the race was started, it was from a very starboard biased line. Amazingly, only two boats was black flagged. As most of the fleet could make the first mark in one tack, it resulted in a lot of bundling, but three of the contending boats managed to get clear; Stearn & Owen, hotly chased by Harris & Priest, who, in turn, had the Billingtons on their backs. It stayed in this order until Harris & Priest managed to squeeze through at the end of the third beat to No. 7. Once through, they pulled away to cross in first and take the trophy. John and Sue Billington also overhauled Stern & Owen to take 2nd.
Having finished, the members of South Staffs laid on one of their infamous teas. Once again, the fleet enjoyed wonderfully warm hospitality from South Staffs SC. A massive thank you to all the members.
1st Emma Harris & Becky Priest, Waldringfield SC, 2pts
2nd Matt Stearn & Adam Owen, Waldringfield SC, 4pts
3rd John & Sue Billington, South Staffs SC, 4pts
4th Bob Suggit & Josh Stuart, Barnt Green SC, 6pts
5th Steve Cumley & Eluned Jones, 7pts
6th Steve Hall & Simon Haighton, Northampton SC, 10pts
Full and Silver/Bronze results and pictures will be posted soon.
Emma Harris - 31st March 2008