Barnt Green Open Meeting Preview

Michael John Gifford - 17th May 2011

Barnt Green Saturday 21 May

Barnt Green brings back some great memories for me. I first visited this picturesque lake on the outskirts of Birmingham almost 100 years ago when I was but a little Cadet crew. While my memory of many of the races I have competed in over the years has gently faded, I clearly recollect the moment when the great Jamie Lea crewed by the Olympian Adam May bore away hard because he thought he had had been headed whilst myself and Ben Vines let go of our sheets and glided serenely through the hole to what I like to think of as a famous victory (it is quite likely I am the only person who remembers this at all!).

It is the complexity of the sailing coupled with the welcoming nature of the club and its members that have led to Barnt Green being shortlisted by both the Bolivian and Lithuanian sailing teams as a possible training venue ahead of the Olympic Games. Such is the level of hospitality at the club that you should not be surprised to know that the members all seem to speak a foreign language. Fear not though. While you might not catch a word of what they say, they all understand normal English.

Back to the sailing then and I can only say that this lake can have many faces. It can be as calm and serene as the moon gliding through a clear sky or as tempestuous as storm tossed seas of the Southern Ocean. If it is the former I can only advise you to point your boat at the mark and wait until the wind is blowing the right direction. If the latter then good luck as many who venture out thinking this is a lovely little puddle are sadly overcome by the force of the wind that can howl like a pack of wolves along this Northern lake (if anybody fancies debating the Northern-ness of Barnt Green, I can only point out that it is a long way North of anywhere I normally go).

To summarise it is a great venue, easy to get to, very friendly and by the end of the day you too will be able to understand Brummie.

P.S. The event will comprise of 3 races, 2 to count, starting at 11:00. Entry will be 12 and the club will be laying food and drinks throughout the day. After the 3rd race there will be the now traditional single handed race! For those who require accommodation camping is available at the club and folks are welcome to drop boats off on Friday night. Any other queries, please contact Bob Suggitt at 01527 585 233.