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Blue Circle Sailing Club: Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd July

If at first you dont succeed is a saying that came true this weekend at Blue Circle Sailing Club for the 49th Snipe Open Meeting.  After 29 years of trying, Mark Antonelli crewed by Tracey Norris took the honours in what was to prove a test of patience over 2 days and 4 races.

13 boats lined up for the first start on Saturday in what from the outset was to be a closely fought battle.  Mark and Tracey led to the first mark, a lead they maintained for the first half of the race until they were eventually overhauled by Iain Marshall and Ewan Harris.  Ian Knight and Caroline Murdoch had crept their way towards the front and it became a three way battle for the lead.  On the final run, Mark and Tracey snuck through to take the honours with Ian and Caroline taking second and Iain and Ewan taking third.

The second started in less breeze which was shifting significantly around making the race officers job very tricky indeed.  Mark and Tracey appearing to be revelling in the light and shifty conditions led from start to finish with Eric Paalman   taking second and Alan Williams in third.

In Race 3, the introduction of a Windward Leeward course in Race 3 made no difference to Mark and Tracey's dominance as they built an unassailable lead taking the final gun of day 1 with Iain and Ewan taking second and Andy and Carol Gibson taking third.

Sunday dawned with prospects of a good days sailing as there was a gentle breeze that was drying the dew from the tents as the fleet enjoyed their bacon rolls and cups of tea.  The attempts of the public transport system to deter our French Visitor from joining the racing did not succeed and after a short postponement, the fleet launched to make their way to the start.  During the postponement, there were some strange dances going on to encourage the wind to increase however upon launching these majestical moves appeared to have failed as wind slowly decreased.  Race 4 saw Alan Williams and Liz Pike establish an early lead to head the fleet round the course in relative comfort.  As the wind continued to decrease, the fleet were left wanting for every breath of wind to grace their sails and give them any amount of speed above zero miles per hour.  The race officer took the sensible decision to shorten the course after one lap around the lake leaving only the final beat to the finish.  With Alan and Liz still in front, it became a case of hunting out any patch of breeze and Mark and Tracey seemed to have mastered their treasure hunt skills slowly but surely realing in Alan and Liz.  At the finish Liz and Alan took the gun by the narrowest of margins ahead of Mark and Tracey with Sue and Steve Roberts taking third

As the fleet returned ashore for lunch to see if breeze was to increase, it duly did but only for the sail back to the club. Once ashore, the diminishing wind transformed the surface of the lake into a mirror like finish.  The Race Officer made the sensible but disappointing decision to abandon the final two races.

Despite testing conditions the organisation by our newest fleet captain Ian Rumbold was second to none and I am sure that next years 50th Blue Circle Open Meeting will be something exceptional.

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