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Blithfield Barrel 2022/23 Round 1 - November 13th

Updated: Nov 15, 2022


A wonderful sunny day was forecast for this weekends start of the 2022/23 Blithfield Barrel winter series, with full sun from10am and a moderate breeze F3-5 (9knots gusting 20knots) from the South East coming over the corner of the dam by the Clubhouse carpark towards the nature reserve at Admaston village, with balmy temperatures, for November, of 13-16C. But it did not turn out that way, with the murky, damp and cold conditions hanging on for most of the day, with the sun finally breaking through on the final leg of race 2, with the inevitable drop of in the wind speed.

However, the promise of great sailing conditions tempted out a large contingent from the Midlands area and beyond with 38 boats finally taking to the water for the start of race 1 at 12 noon, after observing a 2 minute silent contemplation at 11 am joining the nation in the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph.

The OD started the countdown at 11:55 for a 12:00 start, with a course of Y14375Line, but with almost half the fleet over the line down at the pin end, a general recall was necessary followed by a Black flag restart, after which everyone behaved perfectly and race 1 started at 12:15, with the wind picking up slightly, enabling the leading trio to lap in 20 minutes. Richard and Mark Hartley in Osprey 1381 went round the windward mark first and kept Ian Macdonald and Jon in Osprey 1285 and Andy Couch in Phantom 1456 at bay all round the course with Richard looking a bit worried occasionally as the old wooden pastel green Osprey crept up to his transom at times.

Last years overall winner Mike Senior and Ollie in their 30 year old wooden GP14 finished in a respectable position with better results sure to follow. A lull in the wind on the last leg meant a hasty lunch for the tailenders and OD/Safety team and race 2 was announced to start at 14:15.

Race 2 finally started at 14:20 after waiting for the fleet to get to the start line in the vicinity of mark 4, with continued murky conditions and the sun being held back by thick cloud and still decidedly chilly. The OD decided on a change of course due to the dropping wind, missing out the leg to 1 by the clubhouse and substituting mark 8, making it a slightly shorter course and a good spinnaker leg for the 2 man boats. The OD decided to go straight to the Black flag so not to waste time on another restart and the fleet drifted down to the pin end. again.

Chris Martin in his new Scorpion running out of water at the pin went for the line with 3 seconds to go hoping to be shielded from the OD but to no avail and went back to the clubhouse for an early shower. IanMac was watching Richard Hartley closely at the Committee boat end with bags of space and followed him up the first beat, followed by Andy Couch and Rob Kennaugh in Merlin 3700 and also Rachael Gray and Tom in Scorpion 2045.

And that’s pretty much how it stayed for the remainder for the 3 laps. At 15:03 the sun finally broke through the thinning clouds, the temperature increased noticeably and the wind dropped. The final leg of the 3rd lap saw a desperate tacking duel between the two Ospreys of Richard Hartley and IanMac, reminiscent of Connor vs Bertram in 1983, the AOD counted 10 tacks in the leg from mark 4 to the line, but try as he might IanMac could not get past the black Osprey, but it was nice to see IanMac go over the line with a big smile on his face.

Many thanks to Andy the Rear Commodore and his team, on the water, in the office and in the Galley and behind the bar during the day.

And also the Barrel race series sponsors, Hartleys Boats of Derby (probably the best Chandlery in the area and certainly the best in Derby) and Krupps UK Ltd the official club sponsors for continuing to support the club.

We look forward to seeing everyone back on 11th December for round 2 for some more jousting on the Reservoir, in the famous tradition of the Blithfield Barrel.

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