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Great Britain, British Airways Open 2004

21st March 2004

Report and results courtesy Roger Cooper.

Probably because of forecast gale-force SW winds, the turnout for the 1st OK open meeting of the year was greatly reduced from normal. � With a recorded gust of 53 knots just before the first race, your correspondent Roger Cooper had a wave of "discretion" so this report was written after having enjoyed the comfort of the Clubhouse for most of the day!!

Race 1 got underway in a moderating force 5 and Nick Craig got away first, followed by Malcolm Wenman and then Derek Lovergrove. In ever rising winds, Nick pulled out a good lead, but the order behind him didn't change, so they finished Nick 1st, Malcolm 2nd and Derek 3rd.

After a good lunch our heroes went out again for Race 2 in much the same conditions, albeit there had been some tempting sunny intervals when wind speeds temporarily moderated, rather deceivingly. The order off the start line was Nick, Derek and Malcolm, which remained until about half distance, when Derek fell in, allowing Malcolm through for a finishing order of Nick 1st, Malcolm 2nd and Derek 3rd .

Undaunted, our fearless sailors set our for Race 3 whilst the Wanderers had abdondoned. �Half way through the race, the most horrendous squall swept across the lake, and even Nick was knocked down a couple of times, but got up to finish and win. During the squall, Derek capsized at a leeward mark and his boat was driven onto a lee shore and he thereby retired, and Malcolm chose discretion and came in to retire, but thereby retaining his record of remaining upright all day. �Testimony to the excellent build quality of OKs is that there was no gear failure all day, with the new carbon masts being given a torture test!

So with Nick having sailed a Master Class in strong wind sailing, and Malcolm and Derek bravely contesting the other two places, the final overall positions were:-

  1. Nick Craig 2110
  2. Malcolm Wenman 2042
  3. Derek Lovegrove 2104

British Airways race team set some very good courses using all points of their lake, and with some fantastic looking reaches, and also provided excellent rescue boat cover. With good facilities on and off the water and some tasty catering, I am sure that with a kinder forecast we will see much better numbers turn up for the start of the 2005 season.