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Redditch open meeting Redditch Sailing Club

Despite a less than inspiring forecast for very light winds, seven Streaker helms eager for some open
meeting action, arrived at Redditch Sailing Club on Saturday morning. These included regular series
competitors, with Rupert Smith travelling all the way from the south coast, and a new comer in the
form of Robert Campbell from Cransley Sailing Club, attending his first ever Streaker Open Meeting.

Given the current circumstances, social distancing remained a priority, with a skeleton crew present
to set the course, run the races and man the rescue boat. The plan was to run three races back to
back, or take a short break between races two and three, depending on how things were going,
helping to minimise potential pinch points around launch and recovery.

Around 11am the fleet assembled on the start line for race one. A tricky start in the gap between the
club and the island, locals James Dawes (2112) and Ross Crawford (1892) made the best of the very
light breeze to lead the first leg. James made it to the first mark in the lead, promptly made contact
with it and had to complete a penalty turn, while Matt Whitfield (1901), having found a nice bend in
the wind, had managed to make ground and arrive at the first mark in second place, ahead of Ian
Whitfield (1900) and Ross. James continued to lead for the next two legs, closely followed by Matt,
until, on the short leg back towards the line, he decided to give his sail a wash, allowing Matt to
sneak through into a narrow lead as they started the second lap. Not so fortunate on the next leg,
Matt dropped back behind both James and a recovering Neil Firth (1977) who slotted nicely into
second. Just behind in fourth was Ian, locked in a private battle with Ross. James would go on take
the win despite a challenge from Neil who came home in second, with Matt third and Ian fourth.

The second race got underway as soon as the fleet had gathered back in the starting area. James
again got the hole shot, with Ian and Matt in hot pursuit. The rest of the fleet seemed to struggle
and a gap opened up fairly quickly. By this point, what little breeze there was had now completely
died away, so it was very much a case of follow the leader, with there really only being one route
around the course. Ian stuck close to James’s transom and, on two occasions did manage to pass him
for the lead, only for James to re-take it on the following leg. Matt, with a good gap back to the rest
of the fleet, tried a slightly different approach on a couple of legs to see if he could gain advantage
over James and rather than simply sitting behind them, but this did not pay. The race finished with
James in first, Ian in second and Matt taking another third. Behind, the rest of the fleet were close
for most of the race, with fourth eventually going to Robert Campbell (1280) after a close battle with

The fleet elected to come ashore for a break an to see if the wind would fill in. After an hour or so of
distanced chat, it became fairly apparent that there was going to be no more wind for the day and
the fleet made the decision to forego the last race in favour of heading home a little earlier.

Overall, with two wins, James took a home victory, followed by Ian, courtesy of his second place in
race two breaking the tie with Matt who took third. Neil was fourth overall, Robert fifth, Ross sixth
with Rupert Smith (1681) in seventh and probably vowing never to come “north” to sail on a pond

Big thanks from all competitors to Redditch Sailing Club for hosting in such difficult conditions (Covid
and weather related) and to James for having the enthusiasm to make sure the event could go

Report by Matt Whitfield

Position Name Sail No. R1 R2 Total
1 James Dawes 2112 1 1 2
2 Ian Whitfield 1900 4 2 6
3 Matt Whitfield 1901 3 3 6
4 Neil Firth 1977 2 5 7
5 Robert Campbell 1280 7 4 11
6 Ross Crawford 1892 5 6 11
7 Rupert Smith 1681 6 7 13

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