Photo © Mike Rice / www.fotoboat.com
Seventy eight Merlin Rockets arrived in Looe on Saturday to driving rain and force 6 winds. However, on cue, the wind gods delivered a force 3–4 with 3-4 foot swell and some sunshine. About as good as it gets in the Merlin.
Race 1 and the first start as per tradition, was a general recall. So on to the black flag and this time the fleet behaved themselves. Off the start the fleet split left and right. To the left The Black Pearl (Will Warren/Chris Robinson) led with Wild Card (Roger Gilbert/James Stewart) taking the middle ground and Bluebird (Tom Stewart/Liam Dempsey) taking the right. With strong tidal set to the SW, those out to the left overstood. This resulted in the guys from the right rounding first led by Wild Card and Bluebird.
Down the next two reaches, Wild Card extended from Bluebird followed by Keyser Soze (Andy Davis/Ellie Bremer) and Devilled Kidney (Chris Lewns/Tom Pygall). Over the next lap these places did not change with some of the boats that had come in from the left, working their way through the fleet led by The Black Pearl.
With Wild Card out in front in clear air, the only boat that was to even to come into contact with them throughout the race was Bluebird, who at one point mid race closed to within 100m.
Bluebird held on to finish second, followed by Keyser Soze, Business as Usual (Glenn Truswell/Olly Turner), Devilled Kidney and Time & Tide (John Bell/Graham Williamson).
That evening saw the Mayor’s/Commodore’s reception, plus free gin and tonic from Speed Sails.
The question on many people’s lips today, is will the fleet catch Wild Card or can Gilbert & Stewart win back to back championships? With the forecast for the rest of the week to be winds from 10 – 30+ knots, it looks as if this could be a week to that will be talked about for a while.
Top 20 positions in race 1:
||Business as Usual
||Time & Tide
||The Black Pearl
||Sally Ann Townend
||Still Not Over