Merlin Rocket Open Meeting at Blithfield Sailing Club
by Ben Archer on 27 Oct 2011
22 October 2011
The final Silver Tiller open meeting of 2011 © Don Stokes
The final race meeting in the prestigious Craftinsure Silver Tiller series was sailed at Blithfield SC. The thought of sailing in the Midlands in mid October wouldn’t necessarily inspire a great deal of enthusiasm, but on this day conditions were absolutely inspirational. The sun shone on the 38 teams gathered to compete on the shoreline, and the F3-4 S/SW wind made the jibs crackle, filling us all with anticipation of the glory to come, and a glorious day’s sailing it was; even the presence of a navigational hazard (a semi-submerged pipe) only added to the tactical challenge of the racetrack.
Race one got underway promptly, without even one general recall! Right was the favoured side of the first beat, the middle of the reservoir being avoided by all. Andy Davis/Tom Pygall mastered the beat and the 1-3 minute shifts to establish a commanding lead which they maintained to the finish. Jon Gorringe/Toby Lewis tried hard to overtake, but could only manage second, distracted as they were by the ferocity of the challenge mounted by Steve Leney/Gill Leney (in third) that they had to protect themselves from.
Race two should have been the race where Jon upset the applecart and took back the open for his own. Left was the way to go in the backing breeze. Such is the standard of the fleet that we would have to look to the very tail enders to find a boat out of phase. This time it was Gorringe who came out on top, closely followed by Davis, with Will Rainey/Kelly Miller showing us all the standard they can sail to, coming in third place.
For the third race, the wind had gone further left, and the course had to be revised, as did the line position…as did the expectations of several sailors, but despite a general recall and the deployment of the black flag, no-one had to go to the naughty step, and the fleet got away clean. There was no way that Andy Davis was going to soft-pedal at his home club, and he proved it by romping home to win the race and the open. Despite some aggressive sailing Gorringe/Lewis could only come up with a second place, and therefore second place overall, third was taken by Richard Dee/Chris Gould who had waited until this late hour to really shine.
Indeed, as we look at the results excluding Jon and Andy, we can see that the fleet is increasingly competitive, better equipped and is sailing better than ever before, as is evidenced by the three different teams coming in third position in three different races, and by the fact that the Merlin Rocket continues to attract top quality sailors from across the country.
Open Meeting Results:
|Pos||SailNo ||Helm/Crew||Club ||R1 ||R2 ||R3 ||Pts|
|1||3684||Andy Davis / Tom Pygall||Blithfield||1||2||1||2|
|2||3712||Jon Gorringe / Toby Lewis||Parkstone||2||1||2||3|
|3||3610||Richard Dee / Chris Gould||Midland||4||5||3||7|
|4||3716||Steve Leney / Gill Leney||Blithfield||3||7||4||7|
|5||3583||Chris Martin / Dan Morgan||Blithfield||16||4||5||9|
|6||3693||Will Rainey / Kelly Miller||Shoreham||8||3||13||11|
|7||3722||Ben Hollis / Ben Hendon||Blithfield||5||6||12||11|
|8||3565||Paul Keeling / Michelle Keeling ||Blithfield||7||8||6||13|
|9||3663||Chris Haworth / Jonathan Bullen||Blackpool and Fleetwood ||17||10||7||17|
|10||3729||Jon Turner / Richard Parsloe||Beer||9||12||9||18|
|11||3617||Tom Chadfield / Andy Chadfield ||Blithfield||10||9||10||19|
|12||3730||Paul Hollis / James Dawes||Blithfield||6||14||15||20|
|13||3539||Dan Alsop / Jennie King||Lyme Regis||14||15||8||22|
|14||3547||Peter Male / Jon Gibbons ||Blithfield||23||11||14||25|
|15||3731||Andy Jones / Maddie Jones||Parkstone||12||13||16||25|
|16||3581||Mark Reddington / Colin Staite||Bartle||11||17||17||28|
|17||3702||Duncan Salmon / Harriet Salmon||Wembley ||15||16||22||31|
|18||3339||Tim Male / Rebecca Male||Blithfield||24||21||11||32|
|19||3717||David Charlton / Celia Charlton||Brightlingsea ||13||19||19||32|
|20||3634||Ben Archer / Ian Garwood||Parkstone||19||25||18||37|
|21||3701||S Hunt / Ruth Critchly ||Pilkington||18||22||20||38|
|22||3705||Geoff Wright / Katie Wright||Blithfield||20||20||23||40|
|23||3510||Mike Raine / Janey Hill||Rudyard Lake||Rt||24||21||45|
|24||3566||Jon Wood / Heather Wood||Earlswood ||22||23||27||45|
|25||3662||Mike Whitehouse / Karen Whitehouse||Chelmarsh||21||Rt||25||46|
|26||3598||Robert Smith / Andrew Smith||Shustoke||27||Rt||24||51|
|27||3508||Colin Anderson / Sean Anderson||Redditch||26||26||28||52|
|28||3567||Martin Smith / Karen Beston||Blithfield||25||28||29||53|
|29||3612||Andy Beardshaw / Charlie Noakes||Redditch ||32||27||26||53|
|30||3402||Rob Kennaugh / Abi Spurr||Blithfield||Rt||18||Rt||57|
|31||3591||Terry Bridgewater / Estelle Bridgewater ||Earlswood||28||29||30||57|
|32||3681||Douglas Maxwell / Beate Pohler ||Wembley||29||31||31||60|
|33||3541||Norman Price / Luke Tucker||Blithfield||31||30||35||61|
|34||3489||Richard Turner / Eric Banning||Banbury||30||Rt||33||63|
|35||3530||Mike Colles / Paul Insley||Midland||Rt||33||32||65|
|36||3548||Kieron Mason / Henry Mason||Banbury||Rt||32||34||66|
|37||3346||Ian Mackenzie / Angela Mackenzie||Banbury||Rt||Rt||Rt||78|
|38||3675||Nick Craig / James Stewart||Frensham Pond||Rt||Rt||Ns||78|
Of course this was the final open in the Silver Tiller race series, and the occasion was marked by the MROA black tie dinner and prizegiving at BSC that evening. By winning on his home turf, Andy Davis had cemented his grip on this iconic trophy, and relegated Jon Gorringe to third overall. An appeal with the RYA might put his Championship victory in doubt, but there was no question about Andy Davis’ commanding second win in the Silver Tiller.
At the MROA Silver Tiller Dinner and prizegiving Chairman Louise Johnson gave a commendable speech, commenting on the high standards of sailing and the commitment of so many (94) quality sailing teams to this series. She also gave thanks to organisers behind the scenes who do such a vast amount of support work, not just in the MROA committee but also in sailing clubs all around the country, in order that we can all enjoy unparalleled Merlin Rocket racing.
Rod Daniels of Craftinsure, the sponsors of the 2011 Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller series, gave away the prizes.
Silver Tiller top 10:
|1||4.3||3684||Andy Davis||Tom Pygall|
|2||6.6||3705||Matt Biggs||Ben Hollis|
|3||8.4||3712||Jon Gorringe||Toby Lewis|
|4||18.6||3716||Steve Leney||Gill Leney|
|5||22.6||3610||Richard Dee||Chris Gould|
|6||22.7||3702||Duncan Salmon||Harriet Salmon|
|7||23.8||3583||Chris Martin||Rob Kennaugh|
|8||27.9||3701||Tom Stewart||Steve Hall|
|10||33.9||3539||Dan Alsop||Jennie King|
Best Attendance : Chris Martin /Dan Morgan 3583 Back To The Future
Best Improver : 13th Ben Archer/Andy Brewer 3634 Ministry of Pleasure
Full Silver Tiller results, and rules