Photos © Demelza Mitchell / www.demelzamitchell.co.uk
Twenty-five Merlin Rockets arrived in torrential rain for the Cookham Reach Silver Tiller Open Meeting, sponsored by Speed Sails. Once the rain had eased a little, the competitors forced themselves out of the comfort of their cars to begin the rigging process. As the size of the entry became known the fleet was split into four flights for the day.
The sun came out in time for launching, and while racing was being abandoned all around the coastline of the UK, the river Thames had its usual fits and starts of wind, with regular 25 knot gusts, frequently resulting in spectacular chaos across the course.
With the flight system in place, and every place gained or dropped effectively counting double, racing was close and fraught. Duncan Salmon and Ian Garwood took the win in the first of the two flights with Matt Biggs and Rob Kennaugh winning the other in spectacular style, never being challenged from the start (soon to become a theme).
After a very tasty lunch the Biggs and Kennaugh show continued, winning both of their next races to take the open meeting, although in the final race they did have to take full advantage of a swim by Ross Jackson and Dave Reid while leading, to get ahead. In the other flights races wins also went to Andrew Harris and Liam Dempsey, and Glen Truswell and Olly Turner.
Following a lot of amazing cake, hot showers and the prizegiving, Matt Biggs and Rob Kennaugh returned to the Midlands with a very large silver shield and some valuable points to continue their attempted defence of the Silver Tiller title.
1st, Two Pints of Lager, 3705, Matt Biggs & Rob Kennaugh, Blithfield SC
2nd, Business as Usual, 3626, Glen Truswell & Olly Turner, Starcross YC
3rd, Salmon en Croute, 3702, Duncan Salmon & Ian Garwood , Wembley SC