Noble Marine - 2016 Bartley Open
Noble Marine Supernova Travellers - Bartley Open
The 15 brave Supernova sailors who decided to ignore the Windguru forecast arrived in the centre of Birmingham to be greeted by light wisps of wind across the reservoir. After a postponement (and application of suncream!) the wind appeared to have filled in enough to get a race underway. What transpired however wasn’t as much a game of snakes and ladders more jet packs and open lift shafts.
Race 1 saw the fleet away cleanly in a steady F1/2 breeze. The wind was straight down the lake, so the RO had managed to set a decent first beat using the maximum length of the reservoir. Those on the right hand side of the course picked up a 45 degree wind shift half way down the beat and had established a clear lead at the first mark. Local boat Steve Hawley lead the way, followed by Chris Watts (who sailed brilliantly through the day) then Bartley Fleet Captain Garry Butterfield in third. Close behind was Tim Hand and Mike Gibson, who are never too far away from the front. Watts was reeled in, and Butterfield retired (due to a shroud failure). Hand made it to the front and after some occasional moments of glory for Matt Biggs, the 60 minute battle in some very shifty conditions ended in Hawley holding off Gibson for second. After the front runners had finished the wind died to near nothing and the rest of the fleet endured a slow drift to the finish.
Over lunch the wind built slightly and races 2 and 3 were held back to back in a more promising breeze. The conditions were still beyond shifty and it was Hand and Matt Biggs who took the lead. Over the course of the race their lead extended and then ended up winning by a very considerable margin. Tom Chadfield had a fantastic race and lead the chasing pack to score third.
With 2 bullets for Hand it was game over for everyone else. However, with an incredible mix of boats in the top few spaces the rest of the podium was all to play for.
Race 3 was a carbon copy of race 2, with Hand and Biggs disappearing into the distance, this time with a hanger-on of Gibson. Hand called every shift and developed a ridiculous lead from Biggs and Gibson. However, the lift shaft opened up for Hand on the final run to the finish as Biggs opened a can of wind and somehow managed to take line honours. Hand just held off Gibson to finish second.
Overall was Hand then Biggs then Gibson.
Frustratingly as we packed up our boats and examined our sunburn the wind filled in to what looked a very pleasant evening. Despite the difficult conditions fun was had by all and everyone vowed to return next year.
Thanks to those who turned up and to Bartley SC for their hospitality.