Blaze Open Meeting Burghfield April 6/7


There were 3 great race events this weekend. The Grand National, The Boat Race and the 2 day

Blaze Class Open at Burghfield. There was a few fallers in the gusty conditions and the odd

contact and some big margins between the front of the fleet and the tail enders. Unlike the Boat

Race there were no protests and only one person over the line (twice) and he still finished second


Saturday started with the traditional pre season training. This year a shore based discussion lead

by current National champion Rob Jones and Miles Mence on how to get the best out of a carbon

mast and general sail set up.

3 short races were run on Saturday around a trapezoid course. The wind from the south is not a

good direction at Burghfield. So lots of wind shifts and holes plus the odd gust which could send

you speeding away from the rest of the fleet or see half the fleet sail past you. The first 2 races

followed the same pattern with local sailor Simon Beddows reaching the windward mark first and

leading for that lap only to be overtaken up the beat on the second lap by Ben Pickering. Apart

from the first race due to an eager start they were followed by Rob Jones who got through to

second place in the second race. Also in contention were Miles Mence, Andrew MacGaw and Ian


Back to the bar to share a beer and stories of large wind shifts and gusts that missed you. A

hunting party set out to Theale to sample the local curry house and drink yet more beer. Then to

the pub at the head of the lake for beer and a Blues band. Andy the Dancing Farmer had decided

to give the event a miss after some spurious comments on various forums about his dancing

frightening the newcomers.

Sunday started grey and damp as the few visiting campers emerged from their tents looking for

water, food and a hangover cure. The wind had shifted to a southwesterly and gone up by several

notches. Just as gusty and still on the shifty side. The race officer set a course around the club

marks and off we went again. The same protagonist fought it out at the front of the fleet with Ben

Pickering again getting all of the wind shifts right. This time Mark Asbury also got into the mix. Ben

having got 5 straights firsts then retired to pack his boat up leaving the field wide open for the last

race. Local sailor and event organiser Mike Bell roared away from the start and rounded the

windward mark a country mile ahead of all the other boats and maintained this lead for much of the

race until Rob Jones caught and passed him.

Well done to Ben Pickering who never missed a shift and at 17 has many years ahead of him if he

is to emulate our Association chairman Paul Taylor who at 71 is still competing.

Thanks to our race officer Ian Bullock for an extremely professional job as race officer and also

to Burghfield for allowing us to slot in between club racing on the Sunday. Our next event is at

Felpham April 26/27. There will also be a large turnout for POSH at Paignton on May 10/11.

Simon Beddows.