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Jeremy Arnold 249

Middle Nene SC Open 2024

Small but exciing!

There was an unusually low turnout for the Middle Nene Open on 8th &9th June as regular attenders were either committed elsewhere or had not been well. This was a shame as the weather was excellent with a F4-5 breeze on Saturday which moderated to a 3-4 on Sunday. An early threat of rain on Saturday didn’t  materialize and the rest of the weekend was blessed with sunshine.

On the water, home sailors Mark Greer in 2433 crewed by Jim Pierce and Matt Yallop sailing Neil Bartholomey’s 3873 crewed by Stuart Bartholomey were joined by 15 year old MNSC member Solomon Day sailing 2240 and crewed by Heather Trollinger. This was the first time Solomon had sailed a Fifteen, let alone raced  one and it is to his credit that he completed all but one of the races in what was a fairly hard initiation.

The fleet was completed by long time visitor Graham Lamond in 3428, crewed by fellow Fifteen owner Jordan Aspin, making his first visit to sample the delights of MNSC.

The first two races were held back-to-back on a triangular course which tried to make the best of the slightly awkward wind direction. Whilst Solomon got to grips with finding out how fast a Fifteen can go in a good breeze, the other three commenced a battle royal in which the lead changed frequently and the other two were always in contention, no-one was able to get away and a mistimed tack or misjudged wind shift instantly let another boat through. In the first race the win was taken by Mark Greer on the water and on handicap with the next two 
within 1 minute 16 seconds. Race two followed the same course and a similar pattern but with Matt taking the on the water win and Mark the actual win on handicap. This time the top three were separated by 29 seconds.

A pause for a breather and some lunch was very welcome before the boats headed out for Race 3. This followed a slightly altered course to give an extra beat. This time Graham managed to make a break with a lucky lift which took him clear of the others to lead for most of the race. The others were chasing hard, though and a large gust on the last but one downwind leg allowed them to close the gap and put them back in contention.

Graham and Mark split tacks on the next beat and Mark’s choice proved the winner and allowed him to slip through for the win on the water and handicap. Again, it was close, with only 28 seconds separating the top 3 on the water. The fleet then enjoyed MNSC’s famous hospitality along with other club members and guests with an excellent BBQ before retiring to the bar to reflect on a brilliant day’s racing.

As always, the efforts of the ladies in the catering team for the whole weekend was much appreciated.Sunday dawned bright and sunny with a forecast of similar winds to Saturday. In the end it settled at a nice F3 with occasional gusting 4 providing ideal conditions. Fortified with coffee and bacon rolls, the fleet set off to battle on the same course as race 3 for the final two races.

Race four was again close, with Matt taking the win on the water and Mark the handicap. Again, it was close with the top 3 spaced 30 seconds between each boat.

By Race 5, Mark had done enough to secure the event and went for an early bath. Matt, Graham and Solomon stayed for the final battle. It was clear that a port start at the pin end was the way to go. Graham tried it, but was too early and had to bail out. Matt nailed it and at that point it was game over with Matt pulling away and securing the final win of the event.
Overall, an excellent weekend of tight racing in perfect weather and it is to be hoped that attendance will be back to normal next year.

Many thanks to all at MNSC for putting on their usual great welcome.

Graham Lamond

Final results:
1st 2433 Mark Greer and Jim Reid – MNSC 1, 1, 1,1,DNS - 4pts
2nd 3873 Matt Yallop and Stuart Bartholomey – MNSC 2,2,3,2,1 – 7pts
3rd 3428 Graham Lamond and Jordan Aspin – Ripon SC & Sir John Fisher SC 
3,3,2,3,2 – 10pts
4th 2240 Solomon Day and Heather Trollinger – MNSC 4,DNS,4,4,3 – 15pts

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