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Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller open meeting at Blithfield Sailing Club

by Chris Martin on 23 Mar 2012 17 March 2012
SIlver Tiller open meeting at Blithfield © Belinda Mason

36 boats gathered at Blithfield SC for the first standalone Craftinsure Silver Tiller event of 2012. The late start meant competitors were greeted with spring like sunshine, and what looked like a nice force two which lulled everyone into a sense of false security as the day developed into one of the most bizarre that your correspondent has ever sailed in!

Race one got off cleanly, and the fleet were lead around the first mark by Jon Gorringe and Toby Lewis. The breeze at this point was relatively steady, but there were massive gains to be made if you picked the bends correctly. Gorringe and Lewis held onto their lead to win the race, followed home by Dan Willet and Pete Nicholson all the way from Brightlingsea. Richard Adams and Chris Gould came in third.

Race two is probably best remembered for how many ways the conditions can torture a race officer. Initially a highly port biased line lead to a general recall and a restart under black flag. In the last 30 seconds to the restart it was apparent that the committee boat was the place to be. This lead to a number of BFDs. The swinging breeze never kicked back around to the left and some boats managed to get to the first mark in one, led by Paul and Michelle Keeling. It all looked cut and dried after one leg, but the wind had not done with us yet. Half way down what was supposed to be a run, in not a lot of wind a massive wind shift and a force 4-5 with heavy rain came in from nowhere and turned the fleet inside out. This race was won by the Adams/Gould team, with Andy Davies and Tom Pygall second.

Race three. Again this started in not a lot of breeze, which died off to pretty much nothing halfway up the first beat. About half the fleet headed right to get closer to some ominous looking clouds, but having tempted us with a sudden blast earlier on the breeze was not to materialise until later. Those who picked their way up the left did the best, and three home boats rounded first Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis leading with Steve/Ben Hendon and Chris Martin/Matt Smith in hot pursuit. The clouds headed closer and the wind did fill in just as the lead pack got around the second mark, luckily for the leaders this was not disastrous as they shot away while the bunch behind took each other's wind. Biggs/Hollis held onto their lead, with the fleet newcomers Steve/Ben Hendon also holding onto second place. Another newcomer to the fleet Chris Jennings crewed by Liese Scott came in third.

Overall the Midland team of Richard Adams and Chris Gould took the GKN Trophy. Our thanks go to everyone who helped run the event, and especially to Jon Batt and Nick Broomhall in the committee boat who must have been having kittens pretty much all day! Hopefully the weather for the Inlands in September will be kinder. We look forward to welcoming the fleet back.

More of Belinda Mason's photos on Flickr

Overall Results:

PosSail No.HelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
13650Rich AdamsChris GouldMidland31(DNS)4
23712Jon GorringeToby LewisParkstone1‑445
33644Steve HendonBen HendonBlithfield4‑1026
43627Dan WilletPeter NicholsonBrightlingsea2‑557
53658Chris JenningsLiese ScottBurghfield‑9639
63583Chris MartinMatt SmithBlithfield5‑11611
73684Andy DavisTom PygallBlithfield102(DNF)12
83735David WinderRory MackenzieHollingworth67(DNC)13
93732Tom JeffcoateBen RaynerNotts County78(DNC)15
103565Paul KeelingMichelle KeelingBlithfield123‑1315
113730Paul HollisJames DawesBlithfield‑159716
123510Mike RaineJane HillRudyard Lake8‑15917
133722Matt BiggsBen HollisBlithfield17(OCS)118
143339Tim MaleRebecca MaleBlithfield11(DNF)819
153617Tom ChadfieldAndy ChadfieldBlithfield1313(DNC)26
163701Steve HuntRuth HuntPilkington‑18171027
173719Mike PartridgeClaire DavisHayling Island‑25181230
183663Chris HaworthJo HarveyBlackpool and Fleetwood1416(DNS)30
193645Jeremy DeaconJoanna DeaconCookham‑26221133
203581Mark ReddingtonColin StaiteBartley2212(DNC)34
213705Geoff WrightKatie WrightBlithfield‑23191534
223610Richard DeeChris WintersMidland20(OCS)1434
233402Rob KennaughAbi SpurrBlithfield2114(DNC)35
243508Colin AndersonSean AndersonRedditch‑31201636
253680Steve WatsonPhil ScottMidland1923(DNS)42
263566Jon woodHeatherEarlswood‑29251742
273547Peter MaleLuke TuckerBlithfield‑28261844
283619Guy BrownsTommi CluleyTrent Valley2421(DNF)45
293567Martin SmithKarenBlithfield‑32271946
303548Kieron MasonHenry MasonBlithfield‑30292049
313533Russell BrayshawNicola WilkinsonHollowell‑35282149
323518Julian HarrisSamuel HarrisMidland2724(DNC)51
333723Robert LinePeterHill Head16(OCS)(DNC)53
343653Chris BrownM Williams33(DNC)(DNC)70
353346Ian MackenzieAngela MackenzieBlithfield34(DNF)(DNC)71
363716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)74

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