Midland Sailing Club welcomed 30 Merlin Rockets to their Silver Tiller event on 22nd March. Some had travelled from the south and east coasts, and there was a strong contingent from Hollingworth Lake. Among the others were 13 boats from the home club. There was a shifty force 2 from the north west, which gusted up to force 4, and Race Officer Nigel Spurr set a course with 3 beats, a square reach and two runs, which turned into reaches at times.
The first race got away quickly but, with the beats being quite short, the favoured port tack approach to the first mark was always a risky strategy. By the second lap Mike Calvert had gained the lead in a tacking duel with Matt Biggs. Mike held onto the lead with Matt snapping at his heels for the rest of the race only for Matt to get though on the last beat to take the gun.
After lunch the next race was run over the same course. Andy Davis led from Richard Whitworth and Matt Biggs, but Matt dropped out of the running after a couple of laps. Andy was unable to hold off Richard and by lap 4 the Hollingworth sailor had taken the lead, which he held to the finish. Andy was second and Calvert third.
Matt Biggs got to the front early in the final race and was never headed. He was chased first by Julian Parry and David Charlton until Mike Calvert pulled through into second. Julian held on to take third. So the Blithfield team of Matt and Rob have got their 2009 campaign on the road. Will they be the team to beat again in this year’s Silver Tiller?