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Merlin Rockets at Lyme Regis Sailing Club

by Lousia Archer on 10 Jun 2011 4-5 June 2011

A focussed, highly competitive fleet of 18 boats gathered for the first start of the Lyme open and with the Merlin Championships only 10 weeks (four open meetings) away, there was a hard edge to the racing at this iconic open meeting. This was a Silver Tiller event sponsored by Craftinsure.

A NNE wind of between 12 and 17 knots had settled across Lyme bay for the first race – the boats had rigged in a much stronger wind- the fleet got away cleanly and went hard left toward the beach. Jon Gorringe/Toby Lewis got clear ahead of the pack of five boats following him which had broken away from the rest of the fleet. Despite strong challenges from Jim Hunt/Ben Hollis, Tom Stewart/Steve Hall and Andy Davies/Tom Pygall, he maintained his lead to the finish line, with Stewart second and Davies third, Hunt having been squeezed out.

For race two the wind dropped significantly to 10-15knts, and the leaders again went hard left, apart from Hunt and Davies who sailed out to sea banking their gain on the fleet following a pin end start. Gorringe and Mike Calvert/Ian Garwood were neck and neck at the windward mark where there was an incident which ultimately saw Gorringe disqualified from the race. Hunt and Davies passed Calvert, but all three held off the pressing fleet and kept their positions till the finish; Hunt, Davies, Calvert.

Sunday morning was windy (16-20knts) with sporadic showers, but the fleet was eager to go sailing, even having to be held on the beach whilst the safety boats got into position. Race three was the first race of the weekend to have a general recall and the black flag was raised straight away to keep the everyone in order. Despite favouring the pin end at the start the leaders went right and later on, right of middle up the first beat in part because of the incoming tide. Gorringe led to the first mark and was only seriously challenged (by Tom Stewart) on the first reach but after that he got away. Behind him, the battle for second place between Andy Davies and Tom Stewart went on with Davies prevailing and Stewart coming in third.

Following the pattern of the previous day, the wind dropped to 12-16knts for race four. The committee boat end was favoured at the beginning of the start sequence but there was a large shift before the off, which Andy Davies, Jim Hunt and Tom Stewart were all smart enough to take advantage of, with Mike Calvert quick on the uptake as well, a group of 5-7 boats broke away from the fleet, with Hunt and Calvert showing great speed. It was not enough. Jon Gorringe managed to get into third place on the final downwind leg by sailing in the breeze, despite this Hunt’s second place behind Davies looked assured, but Davies was deemed OCS and a shoddy leeward mark rounding allowed Gorringe into first, followed by a boot faced Hunt in second, just in front of Tom Stewart who had quietly worked his way into third place, much to the chagrin of Mike Calvert.

For the final race the wind had calmed right down to 7-12knts, and had become very shifty, but the fleet initially headed left before attempting to stay in phase, with boats only a hundred metres apart sailing in very different winds. Stewart/Hall got ahead early on in the beat, but Gorringe/Lewis hit the starboard lay in time to cross but he wasn’t to have it all his own way this time; and in a vain attempt to cover Davies and Calvert he sailed into several headers unfortunately Calvert missed two shifts on the run, and the race finished Stewart first, Davies second and Gorringe third.

The overall winners were Jon Gorringe and Toby Lewis, with Tom Stewart and Steve Hall in second place and Andy Davies and Tom Pygall coming in third, following a weekend of very closely fought racing in the beautiful surroundings and varied conditions of Lyme Bay.

Overall Results:

PosSailHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st3712Jon GorringeToby LewisParkston Y C1(DSQ)1136
2nd3701Tom StewartSteve HallNorthhampton S C2-83319
3rd3684Andy DavidTom PywallBlithfield322(OCS)29
4th3705Jim HuntBen HolmesBeaver S C4152(DNC)12
5th3691Mike CalvertIan GrwoodAxe-5344415
6th3722David HayesToby Barsley-DaleHayling Island S C-8476522
7th3539Dan AlsopJennie KingLRSC756-8624
8th3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield97-105728
9th3634Ben ArcherAndy BrewerParkstone S C6997(DNC)31
10th3683Charlie CumbleyLouise JohnsonLymington Town S C-10689831
11th3695Mathew WinderNix Middleton StewartHollingworth Lake S C-12101112942
12th3571Andy JamesMaddie JamesParkstone S C-151312101045
13th3400James MiddletonJames VaughanWeymouth-141113111247
14th3467Mike FenwickPenny FenwickWexmouth S C13-1414131151
15th3681Douglas MaxwellBeate PohlerWembley S C-171615141358
16th3573Simon BondAnna CarrRYA1112(DNC)DNCDNC61
17th3442Chris IlesKath IlesLocks S C1615(DNF)DNCDNC69
18th3604Stuart HurleyTessa GilksThames S C(DNS)DNFDNCDNCDNC76

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