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Craftinsure 2012

Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Burghfield Sailing Club

by John and Charlotte Fildes on 15 Oct 14 October 2017
Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller event at Burghfield © Mike Proven

23 Merlin Rocket teams travelled from as far as Devon, somewhere north of Birmingham, and some bumper bashers from Essex to support the first Craftisure Burghfield Merlin Silver Tiller event. A warm welcome awaited us, along with a coffee and a bacon buttie.

Race officer Nick Martin gave us a very straight talking to in his briefing nice and early at 1015 sharp and explained to us that he had re written the sailing instructions so that we could do whatever we liked, NICE! Depending on the wind. His plan for us mortals, was that we would have something new to try in his windward leeward gate courses. Now I know the class has being trying these this year but it was a first for us and we really liked it.

For those who don't know, Burghfield was in fact an old air base which was decommissioned after the war and was dug out to extract the gravel. Interestingly, they left a few island in the lake, for what reason is unclear, but they provide a nice interesting dimension to the racing as it gets shallower as you approach them, and in the 10 knots of breeze we had, they throw up shifts, bends and kindly block the light breeze, all of which gives you lots to think about anyway.

First race got underway at just after eleven and despite the normal jostling on the line, the fleet started first go. The middle of the lake appeared to have a little more wind and that is where the leaders headed up to our first gate. The fleet was incredibly closely packed, and there was little between the first and the last boats. The leader was newly formed Team B&B of Mr Biggs and Miss Beka Jones, great sailing skills combined with his recent loss of a few kilos from the front of the boat making them super quick downwind in the light breeze. I would love to tell you there was a great battle down to the leeward gate at the front of the pack, but the truth is when you are near the back, you are dealing with your own battles and I have no clue what happened up front. Being near the back brings its own battels but we had three good laps of the course and out on top came Chris and Chris followed by Caroline and Kat and the top three was rounded out by team B&B.

Race two was sent off quickly after last boat finished (no messing Martin) and we again sailed on the same Windward/Leeward course with gates at each end and a very similar 8-10 of breeze. Another clean start from the fleet only slightly tainted by one chaps 'should have gone to Spec Savers' moment, desperately trying not to be over the line, resulted in some frank words and loss of some paint and gunwhale. Another close first beat followed, and after three laps the winners were Team B&B, followed by local Burghfield boys Rodger Phillips and Will Crocker and the top three was rounded out by Chris and Chris. After the race we all headed to shore for lunch.

After our top lunch, Mr 'no messing' Martin decided that after a quick poll, he would give us the opportunity to do a touring of the lake and sail round the club marks. Can't be that hard, surely.

We launched again and sailed a complete tour of the buoys so we had some clue as to where we were headed, and race three was off. Another clean start from the fleet and we set off upwind to the windward mark. As before, a shifty first beat meant that a bunch of boats arrived at the starboard rounding top mark in unison which always adds to the fun. We then sailed a run to a buoy in the middle of the lake before gybing onto a tight reach and heading across to the far side of the lake, where there was another gybe mark, and another run before a final reach across the top end of the lake. It was enough to keep the crews on their toes with all the gybes.

The race was won by Team B&B followed by New Merlin Helm Ian Martin (he is clearly happier in the back of the boat than the front) and Pete Horn. Well done Ian and the top three was rounded out by Chris and Chris.

Race four was a re run of race three, but with a few buoy changes to give us some better reaching. Chris and Chris rolled in first closely followed by B&B and then Ian and Pete.

Once on shore and de rigged, we were greeted with an amazing selection of cakes and tea from Mrs Martin and Mrs Potts (has Mrs Potts been on the cakes recently?) before our prize giving to announce the winners. Congratulations to Mr Biggs And Mrs Beka Jones on their win, Chris and Chris for chasing them hard in tricky conditions and, Caroline and Kat rounded out our top three.

A special thanks to Nick Martin and his race team, the safety guys and Mike for the photos. All of the club members who made cake, the club staff that cooked for us and served us drinks. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day. Thank you Burghfield and hope to see you next year. Next up is Blithfield Silver Tiller on Sunday 22 October, see you all there.

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewSail NoClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stMatt BiggsBeka Jones3743Blithfield‑31124
2ndChris GouldChris Kilsby3778Midland/Thames1‑8315
3rdCaroline CroftKat Colvin3673Bartley / Burghfield24‑8612
4thRoger PhillipsWill Crocker3736Burghfield426‑712
5thJohn MeadowcroftKaty Meadowcroft3666Upper Thames‑1674415
6thSimon PottsPippa Taylor3777Burghfield55‑9515
7thIan MartinPete Horn3658Burghfield‑20112316
8thPat BlakeJill Blake3740Cookham Reach SC‑13611926
9thAlex JonesAlice Markham3627Cookham Reach SC69‑151126
10thIan SharpsEllie Sharps3712Burghfield9‑1551327
11thPiers LambertAndy Bines3671Brightlingsea‑14127827
12thChris MartinSamuel Bailey3787Midland‑193101528
13thSteven LeneyGillian Leney3716Blithfield7‑17121029
14thWilliam WarrenSophie Mackley3756Shoreham sc81613(RET)37
15thPaul HollisPaula Mason3730Blithfield1210‑181739
16thRichard DeeNancy Gudgeon3765Midland1113‑171640
17thPhil MasonJamie Mason3624Blithfield‑2114141240
18thJames WellsLiz Wells3566Starcross17‑18161447
19thColin AndersonRob Kennough3583Blithfield102119(DNF)50
20thBen ArcherNix Middleton Stewart3767Parkstone YC1520(OCS)1954
21stPhil AshworthAli Ashworth3734Weymouth SC18‑23212059
22ndJohn FildesCharlotte Fildes3585ASC‑2222201860
23rdDan WillettPete Nicholson3746Brightlingsea SC(OCS)19OCSDNC67

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