West Oxfordshire Open Meeting Report

NOT ALWAYS ABOUT THE SAILING!
This meeting was sailed for the first time in two years on the 16th October with 5 visitors from as far away as North Wales and Cornwall competing with 7 Club boats. The wind forecast was never looking good and sadly the conditions for the day could only be described as calm!

Despite the lack of wind the OOD for the day Roger Postbeschild, in true WOSC tradition of never shirking an attempt at running a scheduled race whatever the weather, set a short figure of 8 course. 
All competitors launched, bar Ben Pym’s crew Sophie who made what was perhaps the wisest decision of the day to not step aboard! Ben duly won the race sailing single-handed with Chris and Liz Kameen a close 2nd. Ted and Ella Ashworth finished 3rd ahead of the rest of the fleet where places changed randomly and frequently. Local youngsters James Ball and Jasmine Speller who where 4th starting the last lap suffered most ending up 11th at the finish. 
Ripples appeared on the water for the start of race two and Sophie was persuaded to board Ben’s ship! Needless to say as soon as the race started the ripples faded only to return intermittently  during the race. Chris and Liz made the most of the wind they found and sailed away for a comprehensive victory. Behind the rest of the fleet searched for the wind that would get them to the finish line ahead. The Ashworths won this battle in 2nd, local single-handed Firefly speedster Oli Burrows with crew for the the event Emily Batterton 3rd with James and Jasmine just behind.
The fleet adjourned for lunch and watched a gently breeze fill in from the southwest (or was it!!?) as they enjoyed their veggie cottage pie and peas. Just maybe the 3 more scheduled races could be sailed! 
The fleet launched once more and with the breeze still hanging in there Roger P boldly set a slightly larger triangle course. Hopes were high until the warning signal sounded and the lake gradually returned to its mirror finish. Ashore once more Sophie presumably felt quietly pleased with herself as the fleet cajoled their boats across the start line. Chris and Liz proceeded to give a master class of flat calm pond sailing combining concentration and no little skill to win the one lap hour long race by nearly half a leg. Behind the race was on for the other podium places. From the shore the boats were moving so slowly it gave spectators plenty of time to work out all the combinations, of which there were many with three races to count. On the line Hybrid Ben crossed 2nd with Jason and Imogen Aldous 3rd, just half a boat length behind. 
With one or two boats already having retire and the rest of the fleet finished Roger P motored out in the patrol boat and not surprisingly found that the fleet’s decision to call it a day was unanimous.
Ashore to tea and apple cake and the prize giving. As the winning helm Chris Kameen said in his speech after thanking the Club for its usual hospitality “Sailing is not always mainly about the sailing but sometimes more importantly about seeing and talking with friends.” Certainly very much the case on the day and confirmed as I left the Club to the sound of a number of the younger members chatting and laughing around the ping pong table and the polished surface of the lake.  
Results
!st             Chris and Liz Kameen             4 pts2nd           Hybrid Ben Pym and Sophie   8 pts3rd           Ted and Ella Ashworth             9 pts
1st s/h      Freya Halsall                          22 pts (7th)1st u16    Emily Batterton (crew)            13 pts (4th)1st u18    James Ball/Jasmine Speller   20 pts (6th)
Full results can be found here:  https://www.wosc.org.uk/resources/Results/2021/Firefly%20Open.htm
Tony Thresher