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Merlin Rocket Inlands at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Louisa Archer 25 May 2011 13:35 BST 21-22 May 2011
Merlin Rocket Inland Championships sponsored by Harken © Demelza Mitchell / www.demelzamitchell.co.uk

The Merlin Rocket fleet made a welcome return to Draycote Water SC, the picturesque reservoir surrounded by hills and backed by a beautiful country park, for last weekend's 40th Inland Championships was. The event was generously sponsored by Harken who donated a number of prizes for competitors.

Cloudy blue skies reached over the water for the three scheduled races on Saturday, by the first start at midday a steady 20 knot breeze had filled in with regular oscillations from west to southwest, this gave OOD John Rhodes a challenging job squaring the start lines but he managed each time commendably. The rescue team, headed by Tom Vian and Dave Turner also had their skills tested being kept busy attending a multitude of capsizes on both days.

The action on the water was focused on Jon Gorringe and crew Toby Lewis, from Parkstone YC, who dominated most of the event. The wind shifted right minutes before the first start, Tom Stewart, Simon Blake and Judith Massey spotted this and headed back up the line. However, any potential gain was short lived as the wind went left as the gun went, this allowed the pin end boats the lead – Jon and Toby lead while contention for second/third position was being fought for and taken by Matt Biggs crewed by Ben Hollis and Mike Calvert with his crew Ian Garwood, but not without forces to be reckoned with Andy Davis, Stuart Bithell and Simon Blake and respective crews putting on that all too familiar pressure on the top half of the fleet.

The second race, for the Colne Cup, was another close battle, this time Gorringe was once again at the fore but a wrap in his spinny saw him slip back to third. Warren and Blake took the opportunity and the lead. Jon and Toby were quick to get things back on track and soon rolled Blake before hunting down the leaders Willie Warren and Chris Robinson. In the meantime Taxi (Davis) was plying pressure for second place and eventually over hauled Warren/Robinson.

The last race of the day for the Draycote Water Salver Trophy was won yet again by Gorringe and Lewis; Taxi, was looking good up the first beat but Gorringe and Lewis saw new breeze coming in from the left and sailed a very clever beat, they tacked off on to starboard and sailed low and fast to get in to new pressure first, tacked back on to the port lift and lead at the windward mark. By this point they were getting in their stride and extended their lead to win convincingly. Andy and Phil Dalby sailing the mighty ‘General Lee’, that subtle orange number, held second place for the majority of the race until Taxi finally piped them on the penultimate leg.

Race four on Sunday was for the Colin Pits Memorial Trophy, but only seven boats braved the gales. Jon and Toby lost their rig on the first reach when a 40 knot gust hit, other competitors dropped their spinnys and wore around at the gybe mark, many of them capsizing in the bare away. Taxi and crew Tom Pygal settled down and gave a master-class in heavy weather boat handling to take the bullet. Warren finished second and the Dalby boys third.

The major surprise challenge here was the combination of “The Dalby Sisters” formidable cousins Andy and Phil who worked with great confidence throughout the event to put pressure on the top flight and won fourth overall along with the Maritime Plate (first related crew). Ross Jackson with new crew Pete Horn who were on good form took fifth place in race four. The OOD made the right decision and abandoned race 5, he advised that the committee boat were regularly recording 40+ knot gusts, hence the reservoir was handed over to the windsurfers and we retired to the club in time for the Formula 1.

Others to impress (and to be awarded the afore mentioned Harken goodies) were a young eleven year old Joe Tosh crewing his dad and finishing every race – including the full on race 4, overall fifteenth. Parkstone member, Ben Archer and his crew Chris Whitehouse had their best result at a major event, finishing inside the top ten. Biggs and Hollis had the most spectacular capsize after they broke their rudder on the second reach of race four and a massive gust hit them lifting them clear out of the water.

A hard and challenging weekends sailing for all but our thanks must go to Draycote Water SC and their race team for running a slick and professional event.

Overall Results:

PosSailHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st3712Jan GorringeToby LewisParkstone YC111(DNC)3
2nd3684Andy DavisTom PygallBlithfield SC-43216
3rd3685William WarrenChris RobinsonShoreham SC-162428
4th3702A DalbyPhil DalbyHampton7-103313
5th3691Mike CalvertIan GarwoodAXE3-96413
6th3705Matt BiggsBen HollisBlithfield SC285(DNF)15
7th3683Stuart BithellSophie WegeulinHISC5510(DNC)20
8th3610Richard DeeChris GouldMidland868(DNC)22
9th367Steve IrishAndy Tunnicliff 10411(DNC)25
10th3634Ben ArcherC WhitehouseParkstone YC-18129728
11th3665Ross JacksonPete HornShoreham-141312530
12th3727Tim FellsPaul SmithHayling Island SC12117(DNC)30
13th3695Matthew WnderNix Middleton StewartHollingworth Lake SC131513(DNC)41
14th3707Si BlakeAlex JacksonShoreham67(DNC)DNC48
15th3650Lawrence ToshJoe ToshBanbury SC21-2521648
16th3573Simon BondAnna CarrEx DWSC151815(DNC)48
17th3663Chris HaloorthHannah MarsdenBlackpool & Fleetwood YC191717(DNC)53
18th3510Mike RaineJane HillRudyard Lake SC231919(DNC)61
19th3539Dan ALsopJennie KingLyme Regis(OCS)1416DNC65
20th3635Mike StephensMatthew (DNC)2114DNC70
21st3643Alistair GlenMoira GlenShoreham SC2016(DNC)DNC71
22nd3496Martin SmithKaren BestonBartley SC262620(DNF)72
23rd3581Mark ReddingtonColin StaiteBartley SC(DNC)2018DNC73
24th3583Chris MartinSean AndersonBlithfield SC1723(DNF)DNF75
25th3693Will RaineyKelly MillerShoreham SC9(DNF)DNFDNC79
26th3728Judith MasseyGraham WilliamsonHayling Island SC11(DNF)DNCDNC81
27th3594Alan MarkhamAlice MarkhamUpper Thames SC2522(DNC)DNC82
28th3492Steven WardLeigh WilsonBartley SC2424(DNC)DNC83
29th3347Martin HunterM HunterT.S.C2827(DNC)DNC90
30th3708Bob HolroydKeith CallaghanBurghfield22(DNF)DNCDNC92
31st3489Richard G TurnerERic BanningBanbury SC27(DNC)DNCDNC97
32nd3548Kieron MasonHenry MasonBanbury SC(DNC)DNFDNCDNC105
32nd1189Alan MarshallSelina ShahMinima YC(DNC)DNFDNCDNC105
32nd3701Tom StewartSteve HallPittsford SC(OCS)DNCDNCDNC105

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