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.
|1st||Phil King||Kevin Driver||3601||Bowmoor|
|2nd||Richard Whitworth||Matt Mee||3593||Hollingworth Lake|
|3rd||Mike Calvert||Jane Calvert||3549||Weymouth|
|4th||Will Rainey||Jennie King||3601||Cookham Reach|
|5th||John Bell||Graham Williamson||3609||Hampton|
|6th||Simon Blake||Linton Jenkins|| ||Cookham Reach|
|7th||Julian Parry||Chris Taylor||3554||Hollingworth|
|8th||Paul Davies||Alex Jackson||3573||Bowmoor|
|9th||Tom Stewart||Chris Downham|| ||Northampton|
|10th||Dave Winder||Jilly Blake||3611||Hollingworth|
- 1st old boat, David Fowler and Ben, 3296
- U21 helm, Tim Harridge