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Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Whitstable Yacht Club

By John Cooper & Andy Dalby on 26 Jun 2012 23-24 June 2012
Andy and Phil Dalby win the Whitstable Silver Tiller
Andy and Phil Dalby win the Whitstable Silver Tiller
Photo © Steve Storey

With 45 knots of breeze blowing across Whitstable Bay on the Friday and with more to come forecast, it wasn’t surprising there was a reduced entry of 24 boats for Whitstable Yacht Club’s annual Silver Tiller meeting.

Despite having to run the racing from a RIB, following the sad loss of the club committee boat in a storm, Jon Silk and his race team were determined to get two races in on Saturday. A rather nervous fleet launched into a solid Force 5, gusting 6. With Salcombe Week only two weeks away boat and body damage was to be avoided and several crews elected to stay ashore.

Andy Dalby takes up the story and tells it from his point of view...

RACE 1:
  • Dave Hayes forgot his mainsail so went back to get it! Some people will go to amazing lengths for a 3DL (new technology sail)
  • Tough to work out which way the wind was going to veer. The fleet were initially driven left which didn’t pay. Unusually at Whitstable, those that went right gained but playing the shifts seemed to be the key. Andy “Taxi” Davis rounded first followed by Tom Stewart and then us. Judith Massey was in the mix with Will Rainey and Dave Winder. The first reach was tight with the tide – not all could hold kites.
  • There was significant carnage at the first and subsequently every gybe mark - the chop made gybing difficult as the main was powered up through the gybe!
  • On the second reach Taxi had spinnaker problems and dropped places. Tom Stewart lost it and spun out for a big swim but we (Andy & Phil Dalby) managed to keep it together to the end of the race to take the win. Sailing deep on the runs with the tide was advantageous.
In between races:
  • Dave Hayes arrived with mainsail.
  • I fell out of the boat – long swim trying to get back in within the 5 minutes.
RACE 2:
  • Off the start it paid off for those who went left out of the tide – but the wind was still shifting.
  • Tom Stewart rounded first – can’t remember the rest just concentrating on the blast down the reach and then…
  • Carnage at the gybe mark again – Casualties included Dave Hayes, Dave Winder and us.
  • Taxi’s main halyard failed on second beat.
  • Tom Stewart pulled out a comfortable lead with William Warren, Will Rainey and Judith Massey in pursuit.
  • Dave Winder and the Dalby’s recover to pull back into the race crossing each other up the final beat. Dave Winder does very well to get up into 3rd with a snapped and trailing spinnaker pole.
  • On final run Will Rainey has spinnaker issues which allow the Dalby's through to fourth.

One competitor summed up conditions succinctly – “chuffing windy”. Most people had at least one swim and the relatively light damage (one spreader bracket, one spinnaker pole, a deck sheave and lots of burgees) speaks volumes for the robust construction of the modern Merlin and its rig.

Sunday morning dawned with more of the same and a postponement was signaled. However with over 30 knots being recorded on the harbour wall racing was called off for the day. So the winners of the Holden Cup for the Craftinsure Whitstable open meeting were Andy and Phil Dalby, their first ever Silver Tiller win. Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor were second overall with William Warren and Chris Robinson third.

The “Man of the Match” award must go to Joe Tosh, aged just 13 years and a day. Crewing for his dad in “Cool Cookie”, he completed both races. Well done Joe!

The Silver Tiller series results so far are updated after each event on the MROA website. After 12 events, the leaders are Jon Gorringe and Toby Lewis in MR3712.

Overall Results for Whitstable:

PosSail NoNameHelmCrewClubR1R2Pts
13690General LeeAndy DalbyPhil DalbyHSC145
23735The Clone WarsDavid WinderPippa TaylorHollingworth Lake SC235
33685The Black PearlWilliam WarrenChris RobinsonShoreham SC628
43733The Dark SideTom StewartSteve HallNorthampton SC819
53693Slippery When WetWill RaineySophie MackleyShoreham SC5510
63728Volski QueenJudith MasseyOli WellsHayling Island SC4913
73658BattoChris JenningsLiese ScottBurchfield7815
83732 Dave WadeBen RaynerNorthampton SC11718
93555Light FantasticTim HarridgeJames WarrenHampton SC91120
103559Smart CookieLawrence ToshJoe ToshUpper Thames SC121426
113484Lounge LizardNeal GibsonKeith MaleyRedoubt SC131326
123684Keyser SozeAndy DavisTom PygallBlighfield SC/WYC3DNF28
133734 Dave HayesJonny RadcliffeHayling IslandDNC631
143736 Geoff CarvethGraham WilliamsonHISCOCS1035
153676Hot TottySimon BlakeAlex JacksonShoreham SC10DNF35
163692NemoRien ZivoldSteve GreyWYCDNF1237
17=3645Blue VelvetJeremy DeaconJoanne DeaconCookham Reach SCDNFDNC50
17=3672Bola BolaJohn CooperHilary BradshawWYCDNCDNC50
17=3740Why AskPat BlakeJill BlakeCookham Reach SCDNCDNC50
17=3687 Allan JacksonAlice Brotchie DNCDNC50
17=3700BrazilianPhil EmeryKaren EmeryWYCDNFDNC50
17=3618Easy RiderAndy KerrGareth HallBewl Valley SCDNCDNC50
17=3604Aunt FannyStuart GurneyPhilippa DanielsBognor Yacht ClubDNCDNC50
17=3731MayhemAndy JonesMadie JonesParkstone SCDNFDNC50

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