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Milton Keynes open meeting

Jun 12th Milton Keynes SC

After some late in the day shifting of dates five 12's arrived at Milton Keynes Sailing Club for the second round of the Midland Area and HD sails Four Plank series. Unfortunately despite early predictions of perfect conditions from the guru of wind, the weather didn't turn up and the fleet was greeted by drenching liquid sunshine and light wind. Still, Kerry handing out bacon butties and cups of tea lifted the sprits and helped get people in the mood for racing.

First off some apologies for not being able to make the starting line up both due to work commitments and sailing Foolish's. Teams GFinch and Ben Brown couldn't make it this year, fingers crossed they can make it to the next round at Ely SC on the 2nd July.

This race report also needs to start with a massive thank you to Bosun Bob for rounding up crews for anyone who needed one in the run up to the event. Bob also worked tirelessly in the pits to save Gerald's race day by putting a rudder together from his collection of bits in the workshop, after Gerald arrived and opened up the boot of his car to discover he had forgotten his own. Bob's generosity didn't end there, he then gave his crew to Paul Turner when Paul's crew was a no show. Thank you Bob the event wouldn't have been the success it was without all your efforts.

Announcements done, now to the racing.

The teams which made up the starting line up starting with the visitors were Gerald and Tanya Copsey  sailing 3411 Esmeralda and Paul Turner and Ewan Shackell sailing 2750 Cheshire Cat. As an aside, it was so close for the first time ever we very nearly got the whole of the MK SC 12 fleet on the water at once  but didn't quite make it due being let down by a couple of crews. Still with John Carron's boat swapping, every 12 in the dinghy park was on the water at some stage.  Anyway, representing the home side in oldest to newest order, first we have Matt Robinson sailing single handed in 1952 Porky, next up we have John Carron and Elliot Johnson sailing 2881 Beggers Maid for races two and three (John had started the day sailing 3322 Soap Dish but swapped after race one after Bob kindly lent him Begger's Maid)and finally we have Jonathan and Kerry Garfitt sailing 2905 Subversion.

As mentioned earlier the weather was far from perfect by starting with plenty of 'liquid' sunshine and no wind however the rain didn't stay all day and by the time of the second race the race had stopped the sun was trying to come out the wind had settled to Force 2 from the north. Briefing out the way race one kicked off on time not that all the racers noticed. It would seem PT was the only one paying attention getting off the line followed by team Garfitt more because they had been keeping an eye on Paul. These two were followed by team Copsey. With the wind being light and shifty it was a tough beat to call and be the first mark. The sniddelling and lake experts Paul and Gerald were one and two with Subversion rounding in third. This was the final finishing order but this isn't to say Paul had an easy romp to victory. Gerald pushed Paul in Cheshire Cat hard all the way round proving if you know how you can make your Baggy Trousers go as well as a Cheshire Cat in the light stuff.

After a traditional sailing MK lunch of toasties and warming cups of tea (yes the weather has been fair from flaming June) race two got away once the club racers had got off on their pursuit race. The start this time was slightly more completive as well with all the boats hitting the line as the flags dropped, giving the spectators on the outside the club house the impressive sight of 5 national 12's being gunned off the start line. Team Subversion was quickly spat out the back leaving the other four boats to get on with the fight to the first mark. This battle wouldn't let up all the through the race. The first lap or so saw a full blown 'Cheshire' cat fight break out between John Carron and Paul Turner. Unfortunately  for John giving people a nudge on the corners is all part of "Racing isn't racing without a bit of rubbing" in Touring and Nass car racing, not so much in yacht racing. The net result was John was left doing circles to come out forth after ceding two places to Gerald and Matt.

Ever the whiley PT saw his chance, dropped a couple of gears down the reaches to consolidate first leaving the Baggy Trousers and Starfish (Porky) to fight it out for second.  Gerald and Tanya looked like they had made second place theirs by the time the boats round the mark near the bridge to head up wind again. Here there was a difference in opinion as to which side of beat would pay. Matt went right and Gerald went left. Whether it was local knowledge, not wanting to play follow my leader or age old spotting a shift,  Matt got it right securing second with Gerald coming in third.
Game on for the third race!

No break for tea as the 12 fleet was the tea entrainment with the race officer rolling into the race three start sequence just after us the last placed boat finished. The club sailors enjoying their cups of teas were once again treated to super competitive start with Paul Turner and Ewan pulling off a Port flyer from club house end of the line. Good work gents except of cause once team Cheshire Cat tacked to cover the fleet. It would take a mistake to dislodge them from first place. Luckily second place for the event was where the  real battle was taking place between Matt in Porky and Gerald in Esmeralda. Not to be left out team Beggar's Maid and Subversion were also still more than happy to mix it up.

As you can imagine the club sailors watching from grandstand in the club house were treated to more place changes than you get in 90 minutes of Formula One. Once the checked flag was waved Paul had continued his faultless display of 12 sailing to hold the lead and take first overall for the event. Matt had done enough to keep Gerald at bay and took second with Gerald coming in third overall.

All that remains to say is to say a massive thank you to Milton Keynes Sailing Club for hosting the event. The race officer for doing such a great job running the races and setting some great courses. Bob for all his hard work before and during the event and of course the sailors for coming out on a rainy Sunday.

Overall results

1st 2750 Cheshire Cat, Paul Turner and Ewan Shackell, Trent Valley/Milton Keynes SC
2nd 1952 Porky, Matthew Pedlow, Milton Keynes SC
3rd 3411 Esmeralda Gerald and Tanya Copsey Hunts SC
4th 2905 Subversion Jonathan and Kerry Garfitt Milton Keynes SC
5th 2881 Beggar's Maid John Carron and Elliot Johnson Milton Keynes SC