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Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Graham Williamson on 20 May 2010 15-16 May 2010

The cognoscenti of the Merlin Rocket class headed to Hayling Island for the weekend of the 15th and 16th in the knowledge that there would be excellent racing on both days. The Saturday was the Glyn Charles Pursuit race and the Merlin's were the largest competing class with 23 entries.

After a tour of Chichester Harbour which reached from nearly as far as Itchenor to Emsworth in a breeze which was strengthening progressively throughout the race, the highest placed of our contingent were Richard Whitworth and Ollie Turner who finished 17th in 3703, Faithless.

For the Silver Tiller, sponsored by Speed Sails, on Sunday, racing was out at sea. With a forecast for substantially increasing breeze, heavy rain, and with the prospect of a difficult return into the harbour over the Bar, Mike Dawe, the PRO opted to hold racing in Hayling Bay east which is quicker to get to and from.

In the event all fears were groundless and three terrific races were held in a 15 – 20kt south westerly; which provided some great reaching conditions. Sickness held three boats ashore, including David & Fiona Sayce who took delivery of their new vessel on Saturday, and were literally sick as a parrot at not being able to compete. With these the entry would have topped 40 for that critical extra Silver Tiller discount.

The Whitworth/ Turner combo hit the fast button in race one and quickly established a comfortable lead. However, at the second leeward mark it became apparent that there were navigational uncertainties in the good ship Faithless as they headed for the leeward finish line to see if they would get a gun. When they heard nought they rounded the finish pin and headed off upwind again, still safely ahead.

Inexplicably at the next leeward rounding they ignored the finish and shot off upwind again, permitting Mike Calvert and Chris Downham (3691, Quick Fix) to pounce and gain the bullet while Whitworth and Turner hoisted the kite to run back to the finish arriving just before Rich Adams and Rob Kennaugh could get in on the act.

For race two the navigation was solid and Faithless made sure of her just rewards. The hunting pack was closer this time, and at the final leeward mark, there was place changing between Simon Blake /Alex Jackson, Calvert/ Downham and David Winder/ Pippa Taylor who gained the inside berth for the advantage on the reach to the finish.

As the ebb tide gathered strength from behind the line; starting the third and final race became more difficult leading to a postponement, a few recalls and some black flag victims including Whitworth, John Pink (competing away from his 49er Olympic commitments) with Rachel Williamson, and Willy Warren/Chris Robinson. It was the turn of Matt Biggs & Ben Hollis to score the bullet ahead of Winder/ Taylor in the race.

This gave the day to Whitworth/ Turner, and the Calvert/ Downham 3rd place gave them 2nd overall ahead of Winder/Taylor with their two second places. Fourth overall were Blake/ Jackson who had been very consistent throughout the day; another excellent open race day at Hayling Island, venue for the 2011 national championships and a classic not to be missed.

Overall Results:

PosSailNoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3703Richard WhitworthOlly TurnerParkstone/Starcross/HLSC21(DSQ)3
2nd3691Mike CalvertChris DownhamAxe1-434
3rd3662David WinderPippa TaylorHolingworth Lake-6224
4th3707Simon BlakeAlex JacksonShoreham-5347
5th3705Matt BiggsBen HollisBlithfield-19718
6th3652John BellGraham WilliamsonHampton/HISC46(DNC)10
7th3684Andy DavisTom PygallChase7-20512
8th3655Richard AdamsRob KennaughMidland311(DNC)14
9th3685William WarrenChris RobinsonShoreham105(DSQ)15
10th3701Alan BaxLiam DempseyHISC-1612618
11th3710John Rees?HISC810-1418
12th3696Alan WarrenWilliam CarrollShoreham119(DNC)20
13th3610Richard DeeChris GouldMidland12-14921
14th3653Judith MasseyJeremy WilliamsonHISC-14131023
15th3641Mark WaterhouseClaire LangholeParkstone-26151126
16th3583Chris MartinJohn HuckuttBlithfield918(DNC)27
17th3656Simon LyttonJackie LyttonHISC-2221728
18th3711John PinkRachel WilliamsonHISC208(DSQ)28
19th3693Will RaineyKelly MillerShoreham SC18-191230
20th3676Patrick BlakeJilly BlakeCookham Reach SC(DNC)23831
21st3665Ross JacksonPete HornShoreham1516(DSQ)31
22nd3702Duncan SalmonIan GarwoodWembley-21171633
23rd3660David LeeLewis TurnerStarcross YC-28221335
24th3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlitghfield1325(DNC)38
25th3400James Middleton-StewartAndrew YoungWeymouth23-261841
26th3704Rob Porteous?HISC27-301542
27th3571Andy JonesMari ShepherdParkstone-31242044
28th3650Laurence ToshLiese ScottBanbury-29281745
29th3697Richard PagePeter PageHampon SC-32311950
30th3618Terry CurtisTom PrestonWSC/UTSC30-332151
31st3661Graham ScroggieBen ScroggieParkstone2527(DNC)52
32nd3715Paul RaysonJulie RaysonFishers Green SC2429(DSQ)53
33rd3692Marcus ZilvoldJulie NuttallWhistable17(DNC)DNC57
34th3625Richard BramleyTony ChealShoreham SC3332(DNC)65
35th3645Jeremy DeaconJoanne DeaconCookham Reach3434(DNC)68
36th3591Terry BridgewaterEstelle BridgewaterEarlswood3535(DNC)70
37th3532T. Charle GyradAnna ChestormanHISC36(DNC)DNC76
38th3491Stephen StoreyPatrick HardingHISC37(DNC)DNC77

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