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Merlin Rocket Open at Chichester Yacht Club

by Meryl Deane 25 Mar 2010 10:42 GMT 21 March 2010

After a miserable day on the Saturday 19 Merlin Rockets turned out for a lovely spring day, with sunshine and a good F2-3 south westerly breeze. Race Officer Mark Harper set a P shaped course in Chichester Basin to make the most of the water and the wind. This was a Silver Tiller event, sponsored by Speed Sails.

In Race 1 a last minute postponement was forced on the race committee as a cruiser decided to sail across the start line. Following this, Matt Biggs & Ben Hollis got away from the fleet early on chased by Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner. Both boats had a good lead - getting well away from the rest of the fleet. The next 4 boats had a fairly close race behind the leaders. 1st Matt Biggs & Ben Hollis, 2nd Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner, 3rd Richard Dee & Chris Gould.

In Race 2 all the boats got a clean start, which was pretty even across the start line. By this time it was close to high water and thus slack tide. Those going into the shore to try and find less tide found themselves in slightly less wind, while those sailing out into the middle found a slight advantage of more wind. This time 3 boats pulled away from the fleet. Initially Pat & Jill Blake had a lead over Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner with Simon Blake & Alex Jackson close behind. Both Richard & Olly and Simon & Alex managed to get past during the race. The rest of the fleet were left to fight it out for the lower positions. 1st Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner, 2nd Simon Blake & Alex Jackson, 3rd Pat & Jilly Blake.

In Race 3 both leading boats had a chance of winning. This time with the tide going out the first attempt at starting had so many boats over that it was recalled. The Race Officer black flagged the next start. Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner made a determined start which was about as close as one can get to the line without being over. On the 1st lap Matt Biggs & Ben Hollis and Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner had a close race upwind. On the downwind leg, Richard & Olly eventually pulled away with a slick gybe. Both boats got away from rest of the fleet with only Simon Blake & Alex Jackson in contention. 1st Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner, 2nd Matt Biggs & Ben Hollis, 3rd Simon Blake & Alex Jackson.

Overall Results:

1st Richard Whitworth & Olly Turner (HISC/PYC & Starcross)
2nd Matt Biggs & Ben Hollis (Blitchfield)
3rd Simon Blake & Alex Jackson (Cookham Reach)
4th Richard Dee & Chris Gould (Midland)
5th Steve & Gill Leney (Blitchfield)
6th Pat & Jilly Blake (Cookham Reach)

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