Burghfield OK Open Meeting Saturday 19th June 2021
By Jeremy Deacon
The 7 visiting boats were warmly welcomed by 5 home boats and a professional looking race team headed by Rob Sterling. Thankfully mother nature chose to look kindly on us, held the rain off and gave us a slightly better than expected ENE breeze of 5-8 knots to get started with.
The Race Team laid a Rhombus course for the 8 sprint races of 2 laps each with a gate start/finish line a short beat from the final mark. This gave us a beat, reach, run, reach and plenty of passing opportunities.
Race 1 got away cleanly with Dan (I am afraid I missed his surname), in a borrowed boat, getting away cleanly from a tight pack and extending away from the squabbling group behind. By the end of lap one Andy Dalby and Jeremy Deacon had broken clear of the pack and were fighting hard for second. On the final mark Jeremy managed to get an overlap for water and held Andy off to the line for second.
Race 2 was another clean start and Dan and Andy cleared off with Andy getting the better of Dan to take the gun this time. Whiley old fox Alan Atkin got in on the action this time holding Jeremy off to take third.
Race 3 was a little more processional with Andy leading the way again, closely followed by Dan and Jeremy with Deryck Lovegrove showing a good turn of speed to follow them home for fourth. Further back, new OK Sailor and the second of two boats from Broadwater SC, Richard Beke, managed to hold off Steve Hinton-Lever to take a well deserved 12th place.
Race 4 was a bit more interesting although Dan and Andy were at the front swapping places again. Dan took his second bullet with Andy second. Jeremy got swallowed by the pack on the first beat and struggled to get back though while Rodney Tidd and Alan Robinson fought for third, Rodney getting the upper hand by the end, and Alan Atkin holding Jeremy off to take fifth.
This should have been the lunch break but seeing good conditions the Race team felt getting a fifth race in was prudent and so we went again, and rightly so I felt.
Race 5 was a battle for the win between Jeremy and Dan. Andy got stuck in the pack and let the 2 at the front get away. Jeremy led until final run where the lightweight Dan was just too quick and managed to win the gybing duel and take water at the mark. From there he extended down the reach to take the win from Jeremy. Andy managed to rescue a fourth following Alan Robinson home who took the third he just missed out on in race 4.
So at lunch, with 5 races sailed and 1 discard now allowed, Dan was leading with 5 points, Andy Second on 7 points and Jeremy third on 11 points. Theoretically any of the 3 could still win but Jeremy would need 3 bullets and for Dan to have a shocking last 3 races. So it was between Dan and Andy for the open.
Lunch over and on to Race 6. A slightly increased breeze of maybe 10 knots and the beat stretched out a bit. Following the first (and only) general recall of the day, Dan sailed away with this one and wrapped up the open with 2 races to spare. Jeremy managed to hold Andy off to keep his chances of second overall alive with just 2 points separating them. Taking his best result so far was Sam Sparks in fourth followed by Mary Reddyhoff who had been quietly racking up good results through the morning and was getting faster and faster.
Race 7 and with the open in the bag all eyes were on the fight for second. Andy got a cracking start and looked set for a good result. Disaster for Jeremy as he found himself to windward of Rodney who took no prisoners and pushed him over the line. Jeremy turned back and cleared himself and then went hard right. When he came back to the fleet he crossed somewhere around fifth place and set about chasing down the leaders. By the finish Andy crossed the line to take the win and secure second overall followed by Dan and not far back was Jeremy rescuing a podium and third overall. Alan Atkin came home fourth followed by a consistent Mary taking her 4th fifth in 7 races.
Race 8 was slightly depleted with 4 boats heading for an early shower. Dan and Andy took the lead up the first beat with Mary, Deryck and Rodney close behind. A bad first beat left Jeremy down the order with another fight on his hands. Dan took the win just to emphasize a commanding win on his first time in an OK (he looked pretty comfortable to me) followed again by Andy and then came Mary, sailing very well and comfortably holding off Jeremy who had managed to find a way past Rodney who took fifth and Deryck in Sixth.
Back to the club to pack away and enjoy a well deserved pint and a socially distanced prize giving. A well run open meeting and a huge thanks to Deryck and Burghfield for organising it and Rob and his team for putting on 8 great races. Thanks also to Nick Craig for lending both his boats to Dan and Jeremy (can I have the faster one next time??) and to another club member for loaning their boat to Ian.