It was a very cold bleak morning that greeted the 50 or so Merlin Rockets preparing for the 7th Speed Sails Silver Tiller meeting of the season at Rutland Water on Sunday May 2nd.
This event is held in the middle of a four day training event that the Merlin Rocket class hold every year, so there were over 20 ‘trainee’ boats there as well as the hardcore Silver Tiller Sailors, and a few visiting stars too!
With the NE wind gusting over 30 knots and the temperature at 8degrees C it certainly felt more like winter than the beginning of May. As the wind was forecast to drop slightly the race committee wisely decided to postpone for a while and in fact only 26 boats were on the line for the first race at 1pm.
After a clean start and a shifty beat it was Simon Blake and Alex Jackson in ‘Monkey Business’ that popped out of the right hand side with quite a comfortable lead at the windward mark. The first reach was shy and it was only the fit and strong that could hold the spinnakers to windward of the water tower which was in the course! Blake and Jackson managed well and extended their lead from the following pack ; Ian Pinnell, standing in for Tom Stewart, with Liam Dempsey.
Unfortunately they had to retire with gear failure on the next lap so they never got to show their true form. David Winder and Pippa Taylor were smoking along and got to comfortable second place on the first run – the course was triangle sausage twice. Disaster struck Simon and Alex at the leeward mark when they rolled in on the last gybe. This left Dave and Pippa defending the lead from Mike Calvert and Chris Downham, Matt Biggs and Rob Kennaugh and Richard Whitworth and Ollie Turner. By the final windward mark Calvert and Downham had closed to round just 5 seconds behind Dave and Pippa but try as they did they couldn’t quite get past and Dave Winder took the first race – a fitting present as it was his birthday!
It was Richard Whitworth and Ollie Turner who were first away from the line in race two. They shot out of the port end and banged out to the left to be rewarded with a nice left hand shift which put the whole fleet in their window when they tacked onto port. They rounded the windward mark comfortably ahead of those more conservative souls who were working the shifts towards the right of the course and those who had gone all the way left and found themselves overstood. So chasing them were a close group of boats which included our Olympic hopefuls from the 470 Class – Matt Mee and Johnny McGovern who had just come back from the big French regatta at Hyres to borrow Steve Goacher’s Merlin. But it was Calvert and Downham who got second position at the gun.
Going into the last race there four boats that could still win – basically whoever won the race would win the meeting. Then the committee boat dragged its anchor and there was a wait whilst the RO reset the line. Unfortunately the chill factor got to many competitors and there were only 14 boats left on the start line. Whitworth and Turner were down at the port end again but this time they had more company. They did round first but only just ahead of the lighter weight crews of Dave and Pippa and Matt and Johnny. The first reach was too shy for spinnakers at first so the lightweights could hang on and Calvert and Downham who had missed out on the last shift coming into the windward mark were chasing hard.
This is Merlin racing at its most exciting and those of us watching couldn’t help but impressed by the standard of boat handling. Whitworth and Turner made no mistakes and try as the others did there was no catching them. So Richard Whitworth an ex national champion,and Ollie Turner our current champion crew, a new pairing this year, won their second Silver Tiller this year. The excitement builds for the next Silver Tiller event at Hayling Island on May 16th.
|1st||3703||Richard Whitworth||Olly Turner||Hollingworth Lake/Parkstone/Starcross||-4||1||1||2|
|2nd||3691||Mike Calvert||Chris Downham||Axe/Castaways||2||2||-3||4|
|3rd||3662||David Winder||Pippa Taylor||Hollingworth Lake SC||1||-6||4||5|
|4th||3670||Matt Mee||Jonny Mcgovern||Hollingworth Lake SC||-6||3||2||5|
|5th||3705||Matt Biggs||Ben Hollis||Blithfield SC||3||-5||5||8|
|6th||3655||Rich Adams||Rob Kennaugh||Midland SC||5||4||(31 DNC)||9|
|7th||3583||Chris Martin||John Huckett||Blithfield SC||(31 DNC)||8||6||14|
|8th||3665||Ross Jackson||Peter Horn||Shoreham SC||7||-13||8||15|
|9th||361||David Charlton||Celia Charlton||Brightlingsea SC||-10||9||7||16|
|10th||3702||Duncan Salmon||Ian Garwood||Wembley SC||9||-10||9||18|
|11th||3620||Andy Bines||Derick Gentry||Brightlingsea SC||8||12||(31 DNC)||20|
|12th||3627||Dan Willet||Pete Nicholson||Brightlingsea SC||-17||11||10||21|
|13th||3650||Tosh||Lisa Scott Liese||Banbury SC||11||-20||11||22|
|14th||3695||Matthew Winder||Nicola Middleton-Stewart||Hollingworth Lake SC||(31 DNC)||15||12||27|
|15th||3480||Jon Steward||Nick Yannakoyorgos||Fishers Green SC||14||-23||13||27|
|16th||3692||Marinus Zilvold||Julie Nuttall||Whitstable YC||13||14||(31 DNC)||27|
|17th||3403||James Dawes||Ken Johnson||Redditch SC||15||-22||14||29|
|18th||3663||Chris Haworth||Jo Harvey||Blackpool & Fleetwood YC||12||18||(31 DNC)||30|
|19th||3671||Piers Lambert||Sarah Bines||Brightlingsea SC||16||17||(31 DNC)||33|
|20th||3496||Martin Smith||Karen Beston||Redditch SC||20||-21||15||35|
|21st||3674||Mike Anslow||Chris Winters||Midland SC||19||16||(31 DNC)||35|
|22nd||3707||Simon Blake||Alex Jackson||Shoreham SC||(31 DNF)||7||31 DNC||38|
|23rd||3668||Mark Smyth||Jemma Horwood||Wembley SC||21||19||(31 DNC)||40|
|24th||3508||Colin Anderson||Sean Anderson||Redditch SC||18||24||(31 DNC)||42|
|25th||3629||Peter Browne||David||Trent Valley SC||22||(31 DNC)||31 DNC||53|
|26th||3701||Ian Pinnell||Liam||Northampton SC||(31 DNF)||31 DNC||31 DNC||62|
|26th||3619||Guy Browne||Tommi Cluley||Trent Valley SC||(31 DNF)||31 DNF||31 DNC||62|
|26th||3430||Rob Sloane||Belinda Bramhall||Trent Valley SC||(31 DNC)||31 DNC||31 DNC||62|
|26th||3563||Paul Hollis||Richard Elliot||Blithfield SC||(31 DNF)||31 DNC||31 DNC||62|
|26th||3716||Steven Leney||Gillian Leney||Blithfield SC||(31 DNC)||31 DNC||31 DNC||62|