South Staffs Firefly Open Meeting 2012
The number of boats at the SSSC Open Meeting has been steadily declining over the last few years, so it was decided that a new format was required to revive interest in the competition and after much discussion, a radical new plan was agreed.
South Staffs has a fleet of 6 matched team racing boats so we decided to use them for the open meeting rather than private boats. The advantages were clear; totally even racing, since all boats are identical, no problems of borrowing other members boats and no trailing boats for visitors.
With more competitors than boats a series of 15 - 20 minute races were held through the day with each sailor racing in 6, against differing opposition. With such short races the fleet never had a chance to spread out so the racing was incredibly close with any mistake proving costly.
The format gave the excitement and rapid place changes of team racing without the shouting!
John Billington (SSSC) proved his dominance in the fleet by winning 4 of his 6 races with Meg Hicklin crewing. Behind him things were much closer with 3 boats in the last race all capable of securing 2nd place overall. Steve Hayward & Sandra (Budworth) had a great start and held the lead to the end, but were relying on other results to go their way. Alistair & Chloe Macaulay (SSSC) made a charge up the last beat to pass Keith Macaulay & Holly Owens (SSSC) and secure 2nd overall by 1 point. The 3rd for Keith put him on equal points with Steve. Both had equal numbers of 1st, 2nd & 3rd places so the result came down to who beat who in the last race. Thanks to his last race performance Steve took 3rd overall.
It was a great days racing, enjoyed by all the competitors. Hopefully the word will spread and we will see a larger entry next year.
Thanks must go to the OD Rob Hicklin for keeping the races running and successfully completing the full series, Paul Goodhead for sorting out the race instructions and Brian Hudson for working out the racing sequence & boat changes.
1st John Billington & Meg Hicklin
2nd Alistair & Chloe Macaulay
3rd Steve Hayward & Sandra
4th Keith Macaulay & Holly Owens
5th Tony & Brenda Hotchkiss
6th Hugh Smallman & Debbie Love
7th Steve Troke & Brian Hudson
Keith Macauley - 14th June 2012