Shropshire M&NR Open Meeting Report

Tony Hotchkiss - 01st June 2009

Another day of glorious weather and tight competition for the Midland & North Region circuit at Shropshire continued the need for plentiful supplies of sun cream! However this time the wind was in short supply and where you went was as important as how fast you got there! This did not however, stop "Smashie" Bennett from making it two event wins in a row.

The water was shared with the Club sailors for their regatta and it was comforting to see that they also struggled with the conditions. With a separate start, the first race in the Lark fleet got away well and by reading some interesting wind shifts Tony Hotchkiss & Pippa Vick rounded the first mark just infront of Stuart & Julia Allen. These two had a real ding-dong for most of the race with Smashie & Nicola Booth not far away. Eventually Stuart & Julia took the lead and then by selecting the best route and with great boat speed Smashie & Nic worked their way to the front to take the gun.

After a great lunch the course was changed and Stuart & Charlotte Norris took an early lead. This time the only one in contention was Smashie & Nic and they just worked away to reduce the lead until they passed to another impressive win. The following boats all had huge wind shift issues and many place changes, but from an awful start Ruth Johnson & Rachel Rhodes pulled through to secure third place.

In the final race Smashie & Nic made another great start as did Stuart & Julia, who led at the first mark, with Tony & Pippa in third. On the second lap Stuart & Julia lost out big time and Chris & Anne Biglin came storming into contention. The lead then swapped at regular intervals as the boats either found or lost the shifts! Tony & Pippa and Chris & Anne were definitely having the biggest scrap with Smashie & Nic ready to pounce if either team gave ground. Despite a flourish from Stuart & Julia that died with the wind shift, Tony & Pippa held it together to win the race from Chris & Anne, with Smashie & Nic just behind.

The win gave Tony & Pippa the clear 2nd place for the event but with no less than three boats on 6 points it needed a trip to the rulebook to untangle the final places!

Although this was another fairly small event, Shropshire SC made the Lark fleet really welcome and arranged great racing in extremely variable conditions. What they may lack in facilities they certainly makeup for by location and friendliness in this beautiful part of Shropshire.

1st "Smashie" Bennett & Nicola Booth, Staunton Harold SC
2nd Tony Hotchkiss & Pippa Vick, South Staffs SC
3rd Chris & Anne Biglin, Shustoke SC
4th Stuart & Julia Allen, Northampton SC
5th Stuart & Charlotte Norris, Shropshire SC
6th Ruth Johnson & Rachel Rhodes, South Staffs SC