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Merlin Rocket Open at Weymouth Sailing Club

by James Middleton-Stewart on 14 Jun 2010 5-6 June 2010

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

Overall Results:

PosSail BoatHelmCrewClubR1R3R4R5Pts
13707Monkey BusinessSimon BlakeAlex JacksonShoreham / Cookham212-35
23701StomperTom StewartLiam DempseyNorthampton-42417
33703FaithlessRichard WhitworthOlly TurnerHollingworth / Parkstone16-729
43684Keyser SoleAndy DavisTom PugallBlithfield-1131610
53691Quick FixMike CalveretIan GarwoodAxe343-510
637052 Pints of LargerMatt BiggsBen HollisBlithfield85-9417
73717Rioja ‘n’ RollDavid CharltonCelia CharltonBrightlingsea5-115717
83693Slippery when wetWill RaineyKelly MillerShoreham986-1023
93676Hot TottyPat BlakeJill BlakeCookham Reach109-11827
103661Schmoozy BlueGraham ScroggieBen ScroggieParkstone-14712928
113660DjelibeybiDave LeeLewis TurnerStarcross710-171431
123716Carbon FootprintSteve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield6-15131332
133665Still not overRoss JacksonPete HornShoreham-151281232
143671Snakey BPiers LambertChris MathewsBrightlingsea161310(DNS)39
153583Back to the futureChris MartinJohn HackettBlithfield12-17161139
163718Miss AinglefingerDavid SayceFiona SayceHayling Island131415(DNF)42
173713Duck and  DiveS HarlingTim LawsStarcross-1816141545
183448Custers Last StandTerry CurtisJo CurtisWeymouth(DNF)18181652
193400DangerbatJames M-StewartNix M-StewartWeymouth / Hollingworth17-19191753
203457The RevolutionCelia RobinsonIain JonesWeymouth19(DNF)211858
213681Midnight FlightDouglas MaxwellFran HewlettWembley-2020201959

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