Photo © Derek May
The seventeen vintage merlins, including visitors from Tamesis, Upper Thames, Minima, Banbury and Waveney & Oulton Broad Sailing Clubs, that took part in this round of the De Mays series were faced with a good wind albeit from the north, not the most favoured direction at Hampton because of the trees and buildings on the Middlesex bank on this stretch of the river. Despite this there was some close racing throughout the fleet although there was no one to seriously challenge last year’s winning helm.
The first race was so closely contested for the start that two general recalls were required, the first start seeing almost half of the fleet over the line at the starting signal, whilst the second had more that 6 boats over the line. The black flag was flown for the third attempt and this had the required effect of allowing the race to get underway with only one boat the wrong side of the start line and therefore disqualified.
Mike Stevens from Tamesis crewed by Jennie King took an early lead with only Phil Dalby from Hampton crewed by Alex Jackson posing a serious challenge by overtaking Mike on the third lap before fading and finishing in second place.
The second start had John Bell crewed by his son Duncan, from Hampton gain an early lead only to lose it on the third lap to Mike Stephens, these positions were to be maintained to the end of the race.
The final race saw Mike Stephens take a very early lead, one which was not to be seriously challenged. Martin Hunter from Upper Thames crewed by Chris Martin were to win the fight for second spot from Stuart Jenkins of Hampton crewed by his young daughter Imogen.
1st 1097, Mike Stevens & Jennie King (Tamesis Sailing Club)
2nd 1761, Phil Dalby & Alex Jackson (Hampton Sailing Club)
3rd 1201, John Bell & Duncan Bell (Hampton Sailing Club)
4th 2018, Martin Hunter & Chris Martin (UTSC)