Merlin Rocket Open Meeting at Banbury Sailing Club
by Ben Archer on 14 Apr 2011
10 April 2011
The twenty seven boats which arrived at Boddington reservoir on Sunday morning for the fifth meeting in the Craftinsure Merlin Rocket travellers series were greeted with glorious sunshine, and very little, very shifty wind, coming (mainly) from the club side of the lake. Undaunted, the OD set a course which, during the briefing, looked like spaghetti thrown at the blackboard, but on the water turned into a beat, close reaches, runs, indeed a really decent racetrack.
The Reservoir itself is not the largest sailing area in the UK and on this occasion, there wasn’t much wind, but these factors made this event.
The yachting press are always keen to feature exciting photographs of sailors being tested by extremely strong winds and raging seas, yet the conditions on this reservoir on Sunday were equally a test of windsense, racecraft, boat handling and mental strength as any F6 race on the sea, and the sailing standard in this fleet is extremely high.
Race one got away cleanly. The first beat was to buoy 4 in the NE corner of the reservoir, and a start in clear wind with pace allowed the leading pack to round and be halfway down the second leg whilst the mid fleeters were still rounding the first mark. Spinnakers went up and down with the shifts as the reaches tightened and broadened. The race was won by Speed Sails dream team Matt Biggs and Andy Davies, closely followed by Steve and Gill Leney – back on form after a patchy open performance at Salcombe- and in third was evergreen Richard Whitworth with guest crew Jack Tosh.
As the wind was forecast to die off completely, the OD ran the second race back to back with the first. The breeze filled in slightly, but shifted and the fleet beat up to buoy seven (NW corner) but four (it should have been more) boats were discounted from the chocolates by being adjudged to be OCS. The Biggs/Davies combination again came in first with Chris Martin showing what a good sailor he can be to come second, with Simon Blake third.
After a super club lunch, the fleet sailed off for the final race.
The wind had shifted and dropped, indeed there were patches of wind no more than 15 metres in diameter moving across the lake as well as the general wind backing between NE and NW. Putting yourself in the right place for the wind in relation to the course was vital and after a last minute change of course then a general recall, the new pairing Duncan and Harriet Salmon showed how it was done to take the win, followed by Tom Stewart and Rich Hall second, with Blake/Jackson third.
This meant that Biggs/Davies won overall, Salmon/Salmon were second and Blake was third, after a challenging days racing at this most hospitable of Midland clubs. First Prime of Life (10 - 20 years old) boat was Back to the Future (3583) sailed by Chris Martin & Matt Smith and first Mature (20+ years old) boat was Riders on the Storm (3382) sailed by Tim Bury &
Thanks to the duty crew ably led by Club President, Dave Cornish, the catering team of Wendy, Shirley, John and Jane who kept everybody fed, Rebecca who signed everyone in and kept everyone watered from behind the bar and to Rod Bowes for the excellent photos. Without such helpers the day would not have been possible nor as enjoyable for everyone.
Many sponsors deserve a mention here to - Craftinsure who sponsor the Silver Tiller series, and the Midland Circuit sponsors: Dirtyhands, MF Promotions, Paintcraft, Pinnell & Bax, and Winder Boats. Thanks to all.
|Pos||Sail No||Boat Name||Helm||Crew||Club||R1||R2||R3||Pts|
|1||3705||Two Pints of Lager||Matt Biggs||Andy Davies||Blithfield SC||1||1||-28||2|
|2||3702||Salmon en Croûte||Duncan Salmon||Harriet Salmon||Wembley SC||4||-28||1||5|
|3||3707||Monkey Business||Simon Blake||Liam Dempsey||Cookham SC||5||3||3||6|
|4||3716||Carbonfootprint||Steve Leney||Gill Leney||Blithfield SC||2||5||-28||7|
|5||3703||Faithless||Richard Whitworth||Jack Tosh||Hollingworth Lake SC||3||-4||4||7|
|6||3583||Back to the Future||Chris Martin||Matt Smith||Blithfield SC||-9||2||6||8|
|7||3701||Stomper||Tom Stewart||Steve Hall||Northampton SC||7||-28||2||9|
|8||3563||Leader||Paul Hollis||James Dawes||Blithfield SC||-8||6||5||11|
|9||3650||Headcase||Tosh||Liese Scott||Banbury SC||6||-28||8||14|
|10||3695||Shiny Happy People||Matthew Winder||Nix Middleton- Stewart||Hollingworth Lake SC||-10||9||7||16|
|11||3684||Keyser Soze||Tom Jeffcoate||Ben Rayner||Notts County SC||-25||8||9||17|
|12||3645||Blue Velvet||Jeremy Deacon||Joanne Deacon||Cookham Reach SC||-13||7||12||19|
|13||3637||Delirium||Alan Broadbent||Russell Hall||Wembley SC||-21||11||10||21|
|14||3492||Empty Pockets||Steve Ward||L Wilson||Bartley Green SC||-12||10||11||21|
|15||3674||Autumn Gold||Mike Anslow||Ian Smith||Midland SC||11||-28||13||24|
|16||3591||Ra||Terry Bridgewater||Estelle Bridgewater||Earlswood Lakes SC||-17||12||14||26|
|17||3508||Red Dragon||Colin Anderson||Sean Anderson||Redditch SC||-16||13||16||29|
|18||3634||Ministry of Pleasure||Ben Archer||C O'Toole||Parkstone YC||14||-17||15||29|
|19||3489||Love on the Rocks||Richard Turner||Eric Banning||Banbury SC||15||15||-17||30|
|20||3530||Sir Topaz||Mike Colles||Steph Reeves||Midland SC||-19||14||18||32|
|21||3382||Riders on the Storm||Tim Bury||Pat Kuenzler||Banbury SC||20||16||-21||36|
|22||3496||Smokin'||Martin Smith||Karen Beston||Blithfield SC||18||-19||19||37|
|23||3683||Bluebird||Mark Barwell||Louise Johnson||Lymington Town Sc||-28||18||20||38|
|24||3548||Firestarter||Kieron Mason||Henry Mason||Banbury SC||23||21||-24||44|
|25||3346||Galactic Gnu||Ian Mackenzie||Angela Mackenzie||Banbury SC||22||22||-23||44|
|26||3361||Nirvana||Simon Sawyer||Andy Warwood||Banbury SC||-28||20||25||45|
|27||3412||Easy Over||Andy Raftry||Nina Raftry||Redditch SC||-24||23||22||45|