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Merlin Rocket Inlands at Grafham Water Sailing Club

By Jennie King on 23 Sep 2002

A quality fleet of 57 turned out for the MR Inland Championships at Grafham over the weekend of 21/22 September. Competitors took notice of the "spit, don't swallow" warning as soon as they launched into the bright green water of Grafham - blue/green algae is in evidence at many inland lakes at present.

Racing on Saturday consisted of three, shortish, back-to-back races in a tricky, shifty northerly F2. Previous winners, Phil King and Kevin Driver opened with a race win and never looked back whilst many of the favourites suffered with inconsistency. Dave Winder and Jilly Blake took a comfortable race 2 whilst Will Rainey and Jennie King did the same in race 3. The first beat was make or break for many! At the end of the day only King had three top five results whilst several teams had scored an OCS under the black flag rule.

Day 2 promised more breeze which really materialised around lunchtime as a squall hit the fleet as they lined up to start the final race. Race 4 was taken by Mike and Jane Calvert, in a steady F3 -4 with King and Driver coming in second to take the championships with a race to spare. As the PRO sorted the start line, rain clouds threatened and a F5-6 squall blew in for about 30 minutes. One mast was seen to fall over. The fleet was as eager as ever and the PRO had a field day with his black flag and claimed about another 8 victims before the final race got away. 67 yr. old Alan Warren with supercrew, Liam Dempsey romped away to take the final race whilst the rest of the fleet scrapped for places.

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewSail NoClub
1stPhil KingKevin Driver3601Bowmoor
2ndRichard WhitworthMatt Mee3593Hollingworth Lake
3rdMike CalvertJane Calvert3549Weymouth
4thWill RaineyJennie King3601Cookham Reach
5thJohn BellGraham Williamson3609Hampton
6thSimon BlakeLinton Jenkins Cookham Reach
7thJulian ParryChris Taylor3554Hollingworth
8thPaul DaviesAlex Jackson3573Bowmoor
9thTom StewartChris Downham Northampton
10thDave WinderJilly Blake3611Hollingworth
  • 1st old boat, David Fowler and Ben, 3296
  • U21 helm, Tim Harridge
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