The 21 Merlin Rockets that took part in Weymouth SC’s Silver Tiller open meeting, sponsored by Speed Sails, faced a range of conditions in the beautiful setting of Weymouth Bay.
Saturday started grey and still but the sun tried to break through and the sea breeze came and went, and the first race was started in 5-6 kts of wind. At the first leeward mark Simon Blake and Alex Jackson led the fleet, followed closely by Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis with Richard Whitworth and Olly Turner not far behind. As the wind became patchy the tail enders were in much less breeze and the lead boats pulled away. The race was won by Richard Whitworth and Olly Turner, just 5 seconds ahead of Simon Blake and Alex Jackson, with Mike Calvert and Ian Garwood in third place. Tom Stewart finished fourth with a ‘stand in’ crew who was sailing in her first ever Merlin race.
The race committee tried valiantly to run a second race on Saturday afternoon but were defeated by a combination of shifting winds and time restrictions.
On Sunday, however, according to the race officer “it doesn’t get much better than this for Merlin sailing.” A breeze of 16-18kts, with occasional 20kt gusts, bright sunshine and gentle waves provided very exciting racing conditions.
Simon Blake and Alex Jackson led the way for most of Race 3, the first race on Sunday, and finished in first place. In close pursuit was Tom Stewart sailing with his ‘real’ crew Liam Dempsey who had battled traffic jams and had eventually arrived in Weymouth. Tom and Liam just held their second place despite hitting the gybe mark (and doing turns) in the increasingly testing conditions.
The wind shift during Race 4 tested the competitors’ reactions with Andy Davis and Tom Pygall finishing first, with Simon Blake and Alex Jackson second, and Mike Calvert and Ian Garwood third.
For the final race the wind had dropped slightly to 10-12Kts but the sun still shone and there was, as yet no clear winner of the regatta with just one race to go.
Tom Stewart and Liam Dempsey battled round the course with Richard Whitworth and Olly Turner and these two boats pulled away from the fleet to finish the race in first and second positions, followed by Simon Blake and Alex Jackson. The latter discarded this third to win the weekend's racing.
Various photos are available on Flickr
|1||3707||Monkey Business||Simon Blake||Alex Jackson||Shoreham / Cookham||2||1||2||-3||5|
|2||3701||Stomper||Tom Stewart||Liam Dempsey||Northampton||-4||2||4||1||7|
|3||3703||Faithless||Richard Whitworth||Olly Turner||Hollingworth / Parkstone||1||6||-7||2||9|
|4||3684||Keyser Sole||Andy Davis||Tom Pugall||Blithfield||-11||3||1||6||10|
|5||3691||Quick Fix||Mike Calveret||Ian Garwood||Axe||3||4||3||-5||10|
|6||3705||2 Pints of Larger||Matt Biggs||Ben Hollis||Blithfield||8||5||-9||4||17|
|7||3717||Rioja ‘n’ Roll||David Charlton||Celia Charlton||Brightlingsea||5||-11||5||7||17|
|8||3693||Slippery when wet||Will Rainey||Kelly Miller||Shoreham||9||8||6||-10||23|
|9||3676||Hot Totty||Pat Blake||Jill Blake||Cookham Reach||10||9||-11||8||27|
|10||3661||Schmoozy Blue||Graham Scroggie||Ben Scroggie||Parkstone||-14||7||12||9||28|
|11||3660||Djelibeybi||Dave Lee||Lewis Turner||Starcross||7||10||-17||14||31|
|12||3716||Carbon Footprint||Steve Leney||Gill Leney||Blithfield||6||-15||13||13||32|
|13||3665||Still not over||Ross Jackson||Pete Horn||Shoreham||-15||12||8||12||32|
|14||3671||Snakey B||Piers Lambert||Chris Mathews||Brightlingsea||16||13||10||(DNS)||39|
|15||3583||Back to the future||Chris Martin||John Hackett||Blithfield||12||-17||16||11||39|
|16||3718||Miss Ainglefinger||David Sayce||Fiona Sayce||Hayling Island||13||14||15||(DNF)||42|
|17||3713||Duck and Dive||S Harling||Tim Laws||Starcross||-18||16||14||15||45|
|18||3448||Custers Last Stand||Terry Curtis||Jo Curtis||Weymouth||(DNF)||18||18||16||52|
|19||3400||Dangerbat||James M-Stewart||Nix M-Stewart||Weymouth / Hollingworth||17||-19||19||17||53|
|20||3457||The Revolution||Celia Robinson||Iain Jones||Weymouth||19||(DNF)||21||18||58|
|21||3681||Midnight Flight||Douglas Maxwell||Fran Hewlett||Wembley||-20||20||20||19||59|