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Twelve Snipes joined the 50th anniversary of the Snipe Open in Blue Circle.

On the first day, wind is perfect with a medium 10 - 15 knots breeze, blowing right along the main axis of the lake which allows a standard “sausage” race to take place with a long upwind leg and downwind leg.

For the first race of the day, Andy Gibson and Ian Knight take the lead from the beginning and keep their lead till the end. However, behind, a group of 5 - 6 Snipes sail extremely closely, with positions changing along the legs. At the finishing line, after 1h of race, the distances between some Snipes is less than a few feet. More competitive than the America's Cup!

The leadership for the second race is this time very challenged. The four leaders, Peter Wolstenhome, Ian Marshall and Andy Gibson and Maxim Romain take consecutively the lead sailing in very close distance. This generates some light collisions near marks but all in fair spirit as 720 are promptly executed. In the end, Peter Wolstenhome, sailing with his son Matthew, take the lead and wins the race, followed closely by myself and Ian Marshall just about 2 feet behind me. Like the English Rugby Team when they beat the French, I could not resist to the pleasure of saying "Well Done!" in my most friendly manner to Ian. It is true however that my big smile at is not very English, but I will get at some point this very English placid attitude!

The third race, is run with still a great 12 - 15 knots breeze, which sees the victory of Peter Wolstenhome once again, followed by Alan Williams and myself.

Everybody is quite happy and exhausted after these 3 long and competitive races. And it is now time to get (finally) some drinks (although some may have started in between and before). A "fish & chips" van specially organized by the Blue Circle Club is waiting for us. Everybody enjoys greasy and homey fish & chips with bitter beer (and some wine although nobody understood why Ian Marshall bought it). To add up to the party, a folk guitar player arrives and starts to sing songs. Although the musician tries hard to get Sue to dance as she is celebrating her 29th birthday, Sue is not convinced and prefers to remain within the warmth of Steven and her drinking colleagues. As the party ends, everybody gets back to the tents... under the heavy rain that has started to pour. As French like to repeat during their English classes, "it was indeed raining cats and dogs". Nevertheless, after this full day of sailing and the few drinks, nobody has difficulties to sleep. So well, that it is with surprise that in the morning, some fellow sailors wake up in, literally, a small pond. For Sam (the daughter of Sue), a big pile of mud had even slipped from the road to the tent, together with the boat. Well, as Lloyd would say "Fish&Chips and rain, that is what makes England great!

On Sunday morning, the wind is very low and unstable. After a postpone ment, it is decided however to go out sailing. After reaching the committee boat, all the Snipes start to wait as the wind is too low and unstable to give a start. To compensate for the wait, the rain starts to pour again, on a monsoon style, heavy and thick, for about 30 minutes. Everybody tries to move on the boat to keep warm. Lloyds, as a great English Man, is in great spirit and proposes to possibly go swimming in the lake as water is warmer there than the rain. Cecile, a bit more French, is wondering in the same time what it is about this whole concept of “seriously sailing” (sitting) and having “serious fun” under the rain. But, ultimately, Ian’s own charm naturally prevails in the eyes of his charmed crew!

Finally, God wakes up and the wind starts to blow. again, perfectly along the lake axis, and with a great medium breeze of 10 - 15 knots.

The first race is very enjoyable and is won, once again, by Peter Wolstenhome followed by Alan Williams and Ian Gregory. The second race is then supposed to start back to back but the Snipes decide to come back to the Sailing club for a tea as they feel quite cold after the heavy rain. The race committee also quickly agrees that it is indeed a clever move and proposes that we also have the lunch, decision approved by everyone. During the break, I ask Peter about the secret of his three consecutive victories. Peter says he has probably the advantage of being lighter, sailing with Matthew. I suspect there is something else but unfortunately can’t pinpoint what it is. Rethinking it, that is why I am probably lagging behind him in the ranking.

For the second race, the first start is cancelled after some mysterious miscommunication between the safety boat and the committee boat, although it should have just been an individual recall (theory goes that there was not only milk in the tea served to our respected race officers but I have received the firmest denials from the organizers). This decision is however real luck for me. Not only had I crossed the line before the start but also I had a problem with the jib that had obliged me to take down the sail. Less happy is Ian Marshall who had taken the lead when race was cancelled. A second start is promptly given and this time Alan Williams took the lead and finishes first followed by Peter Wolstenhome and Ian Marshall.

Final race is once again won by Peter Wolstenhome, followed by Alan William and Ian Gregory.

In the end, Peter won brilliantly the competition. Brian Gregory commented that it was a great tribute to Peter's father (who welcomed him some 50 years ago) that his son, Peter, and his grandson, Matthew, had won the 50th Blue Circle Snipe Open Meeting. Alan Williams finished second and I finished third.

All in all, a really great race in Blue Circle w ith perfect wind conditions, a perfect English rain and great fun in the evening. A big thanks to Ian Rumble, Mike Kerr, Graham Campbell, and all the organizers of the race.

View race video footage taken by Peter Wibrow on Youtube

HelmCrewClubBoat NoR1R2R3R4R5R6  
Peter Wolstenholme Mathew Chipstead 29611


0.75 0.75 0.75 2 2 6.25 1
Alan Williams Liz Pike   30316 6 7 2 2 0.75 0.75 11.5 2
Maxim Romain Lloyd Roberts Blue Circle   4 2 3 OCS 5 4 18 3
Ian Gregory Cécile Gregory   28451 8 6 5 3 4 3 21 4
Iain Marshall Ewan Harris Blackwater 29501 5 3 7 5 3 6 22 5
Andy Gibson Carol Gibson Whitstable 29374 0.75 4 4 8 6 8 22.75 6
Ian Knight Caroline Williams Shoreham 29164 2 5 6 6 7 5 24 7
Brian Gregory John Bright Blue Circle 30315 10 9 8 4 9 7 37 8
David Jones MIchael Janman Blue Circle 20255 9 8 DNF 7 8 DNF 44 9
Kevin Harvey Josh Harvey Blue Circle   7 10 9 DNC DNC DNC 50 10
Ian Rumble Morgan Archer Blue Circle 30048 11 DNS DNS 9 10 9 51 11

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