On Thursday storm Doris brought destruction, travel chaos and stress for open meeting organisers across the country. Saturday brought 125 sailors to Burghfield, where, thankfully, the conditions were the best that most of the kids who’ve been sailing throughout the winter had experienced for months.
PRO Ian Bullock running the main fleet demonstrated his knowledge of both Burghfield and the Optimist class, managing to fit Inner/Outer loop trapezoid courses around the islands in the difficult conditions. Squalls, lulls and the usual Burghfield shifts combined to provide challenging conditions for the sailors. Unsurprisingly, the most experienced dominated with some very consistent sailing. James Foster and Barty Gray allocated to the same flight battled each other around time and time again, with one of them winning every race in which their flight competed. In a dominating performance, the pair frequently had a commanding lead ahead of the rest of the fleet. James, winning the 6th and final race, won the event by a point.
There were a number of other notable performances – Megan Farrer and James Barrett, both zone squad members, sailed superb series to upset the established order. Megan won a race in some of the toughest conditions of the day, a very impressive feat from a young sailor. The final race was won by Finian Morris, another young competitor. He sailed a very mature and tactical race to hold off some of the established top sailors. Perhaps he really was concentrating when he crewed his uncle Barney to second at the Bloody Mary this year.
The Regatta fleet bravely weathered the blustery conditions to complete six races over a trapezoid course under the careful race management of Burghfield’s Douglas Calder. Cameron and Findlay Bignold-Kyles from Royal Lymington battled with Gwen Sargent from Emsworth who finally took to the series from Cameron, with Findlay in third and Sabine Potter from Warsash a close fourth.
The high number of Regatta fleet entries allowed the event organisers to create a third Coached Regatta Fleet for less experienced racers. This fleet under the experienced helm of David Baddeley was supported by junior members in a more sheltered corner of the lake allowing a successful series of seven short races to take place. Close racing ensued supported by visiting coaches where the series stayed open with seven sailors scoring top three results. Eddie Dorsett from Parkstone emerged the winner from fellow club member Max Bromilow with Henry Camm from Warsash in third.