On a beautiful November day 18 boats took to the Thames at Putney for the 61st RTYC Merlin Open. 9 home boats were joined by 9 visitors from 7 other Clubs, for the final race of the 2011 Thames series which had started at Ranelagh back in April.
With a F2 ESE wind, the start was the usual Ranelagh running start towards Hammersmith to a mark on the Surrey bank opposite Crabtree. With some congestion and a light wind at the leeward mark, there was an opportunity for places to be gained but the first 4 boats were round and clear before the rabble arrived.
With 2 loops of the course to complete on that stretch of the river and then a return to the Putney, changes were occurring throughout the fleet, as first one boat would get some wind then another. At the front, Elusive, Birthday Suit and General Lee were fighting hard, these 3 pulling out a gap from Flying Wild, Tiersel and Flinkydink. In the fleet places were also changing constantly, hitting a mark and re-rounding could cost you 6 or 7 places, if the wind dropped at the wrong time.
After nearly 90 minutes of sailing, last year’s winners, David Vines and Fran Gifford, took the bell to be followed home 3 minutes later by Ranelagh Rear Commodore Christopher Edwards and Una Hodgkins. Andy Dalby and M Gray were less than a minute behind while Mike Stephens and Nicky Erskine Tulloch took 4th from Michael Gifford and Rebecca Johnson, who held off a charging Pat & Jilly Blake by just 19 seconds.
|Pos||Sail No||Boat||Helm / Crew||Club||Time|
|1||3347||Elusive||David Vines / Fran Gifford||Tamesis||15.13.55|
|2||3073||Birthday Suit||Chris Edwards / Una Hodgkins||Ranelagh SC||15.17.32|
|3||3690||General Lee||Andy Dalby / M Gray||Hampton SC||15.18.8|
|4||1097||Flinkydink||Mike Stephens / Nicky||Tamesis||15.24.23|
|5||1944||Flying Wild||MJ Gifford / Rebecca Johnson||Ranelagh SC||15.26.39|
|6||901||Tiercel||Pat & Jilly Blake||Cookham Reach SC||15.26.58|
|7||3702||Salmon en Croute||Duncan Salmon / Harriet Salmon||Wembley SC||15.28.34|
|8||2744||Phantom Spinner||Tim Harrison / Anna Marriott||Ranelagh SC||15.31.2|
|9||2406||Merlins Moon||Jon Ibbotson / Nikki Banks||Ranelagh SC||15.35.30|
|10||3637||Delirium||Alan Broadbent / Russell Hall||Wembley SC||15.41.3|
|11||2997||Cream Cracker||Jon Steward/ Nick Yannakoyorgos||Fishers Green SC||15.42.27|
|12||3422||Just Practising||Martin Wollny & Natalija||Ranelagh SC||15.45.26|
|13||1993||Joker||Chris Whitehouse / Dennis Long||Ranelagh SC||15.50.33|
|14||214||Diabolo||Nick Price / Paolo Wollny||Ranelagh SC||15.53.2|
|15||1189||Pooh||Ben Marshall / Sel Shah||Thames SC||15.58.6|
|16||3106||Eureka||Brian Clarke / James Hayward||Ranelagh SC||16.1.29|
|rtd||3316||Hurricane Betty||Allan Munroe Faure / Calum MF||South Bank SC||rtd|
|rtd||2848||Anarchy||Chris Gould / Sophie Pickford||Ranelagh SC||rtd|