Merlin Rocket Open Meeting at Parkstone Yacht Club
The 26 boats that travelled to the penultimate open meeting in this iconic race series, which, incidentally Britain’s top dinghy sailors have fought over since 1950, were greeted with the beautiful sight of Poole harbour on a sunlit, misty morning. Unfortunately for them, there wasn’t a breath of wind. After an hours postponement was all it took, however, and the slick PYC race team headed up by PRO Barry Rolfe got the fleet away with only one general recall, when a fitful force 1-2 filled in from the west-north-west.
A tight three lap triangle-sausage-triangle course meant that the fleet remained bunched in the first race, not even the leading group really got clear. Despite this Jon Gorringe with crew Toby Lewis stamped their authority on the fleet with a win, but even they were tested by conditions and very tough competition; both Matt Biggs/Ben Hollis and William Warren/Sophie Mackley pressed him to the finish. Andy Jones (with Ceilidh Higgs) confirmed he has put the wilderness years behind him. Showing his true form, he put in an excellent start and first beat to round the windward mark in pole position. Sailing well, he finished fourth despite continued pressure, but unfortunately he failed to capitalise on this result in the next two races.
Race two was sailed in similar conditions, but a shifty breeze with large holes in it meant for a real Salcombe-style snakes and ladders racing. Only ‘Mr Consistency’ Jon Gorringe made it to the podium from the original top three, with Andy Davis/Ellie Bremmer romping into first despite a disappointing start. Local hero Richard Whitworth, crewed by class chairman Louise Johnson banked a third; leaving it all to do in the last race…
The course for the third race was a classic Parkstone YC harbour tour, and a port biased line created a snarl up at the pin end, with a smart few getting away up at the committee boat. Despite giving away lots of distance, they stayed in clean air up the first beat then the wind stopped after the leading bunch rounded the second mark, with a lucky 10 boats managing to round the mark and get away whilst the rest of the fleet sat waiting for the wind.
The long run from Piccadilly down to Drakes was very one sided, and those who took the Island side lost out to those soaking low and staying out into the harbour. William Warren who led from the start won this race and achieved a second overall position. He was followed in by a newcomer to the fleet, I14 hero, Sam Pascoe, storming along and proving at once his own ability and the durability of the modern Merlin to finish 11th overall at his first Silver Tiller open Meeting, in his 12 year old boat.
Andy Davis scraped a third, hotly pursued by a pack that was lifted all the way up to the finish when the tide created an apparent wind bend. But it was not enough to stop Jon Gorringe taking his first Parkstone Merlin open.
|1st||3712||OAKEY DOKEY||JON GORRINGE||TOBY LEWIS||PARKSTONE YC||1||2||‑14||17||3|
|2nd||3685||BLACK PEARL||WILLIAM WARREN||SOPHIE MACKLEY||SHOREHAN SC||3||‑6||1||10||4|
|3rd||3684||KEYSER SOZE||ANDY DAVIS||ELLIE BREMMER||BLITHFIELD SC||‑15||1||3||19||4|
|4th||3703||FAITHLESS||RICHARD WHITWORTH||LOU JOHNSON||PARKSTONE YC||‑8||3||4||15||7|
|5th||3718||MISS AIGLETINGER||DAVID SAYCE||FIONA SAYCE||HAYLING ISLAND SC||5||4||‑6||15||9|
|6th||3702||SALMON EN CROUTE||DUNCAN SALMON||JACK SALMON||WEMBLEY||‑12||5||5||22||10|
|7th||3722||STEALTH||MATT BIGGS||BEN HOLLIS||BITHFIELD||2||‑15||13||30||15|
|8th||3729||SHABAZZLE||JON TURNER||RICHARD PARSLOW||PARKSTONE YC||6||‑11||10||27||16|
|9th||3693||SLIPPERY WHEN WET||WILL RAINEY||KELLY MILLER||SHOREHAM SC||9||‑13||7||29||16|
|10th||3539||GANGSTA PARADISE||DAN ALSOP||JENNIE KING||LYME REGIS||7||9||‑21||37||16|
|11th||372||LEADER||SAM PASCOE||TIM RUSH||WEYMOUTH SC||‑21||16||2||39||18|
|12th||3610||NEEDLEMAKERS||RICHARD DEE||CHRIS GOULD||MIDLAND||‑11||7||11||29||18|
|13th||3731||MAYHEM||ANDY JONES||CEILIDH HIGGS||PARKSTONE YC||4||17||‑20||41||21|
|14th||3634||MINISTRY OF PLEASURE||BEN ARCHER||A BREWER||PARKSTONE YC||‑17||14||8||39||22|
|15th||3694||THE SOUP DRAGON||STEVE TYLER||ALLY TYLER||PARKSTONE YC||14||8||‑16||38||22|
|16th||3730||BLOOD SWEAT N BEERS||PAUL HOLLIS||JAMES DAWES||BLITHFIELD SC||13||‑22||9||44||22|
|17th||3661||SHMOOZEY BLUE||GRAHAM SCROGGIE||BEN SCROGGIE||PARKSTONE YC||10||12||‑15||37||22|
|18th||3583||BACK TO THE FUTURE||CHRIS MARTIN||DAN MORGAN||BLITHFIELD SC||16||10||(DNC)||52||26|
|19th||3573||RONG NUMBER||SIMON BOND||ANNA CARR||HAYLING ISLAND||‑19||18||12||49||30|
|20th||3664||BACK IN BLACK||ANT HACKFORTH||HELEN TAYLOR||PARKSTONE YC||18||‑20||18||56||36|
|21st||3633||CHILL OUT||DAVID BURSEY||FRANCES LOVELL||PARKSTONE YC||‑22||21||17||60||38|
|22nd||3641||PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON||MARK WATERHOUSE||CLAIRE LANGHOLZ||PARKSTONE YC||‑20||19||19||58||38|
|23rd||3655||LOOSED CANNON||DAVID WILKINS||JOSH DACKS||PARKSTONE YC||‑23||23||22||68||45|
|24th||3654|| ||STEPHEN BAILEY||CATHERINE MILES||PARKSTONE YC||‑24||24||23||71||47|
|25th||3681||MIDNIGHT FLIGHT||DOUGLAS MAXWELL||FRAN HEWLETT||WEMBLEY SC||‑25||25||24||74||49|