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Merlin Rocket Open Meeting at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Dave Hayes & Ben Archer 1 Jul 2011 10:54 BST 25 June 2011

The 14th open meeting of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller series was sailed at Whitstable Yacht Club, on the sunny Thames estuary. A very strong fleet of 30 boats amassed on the start line for the first of two races on Saturday 25th of June.

After an onshore warning about starting discipline, expert Race Officer John Silk got the fleet away cleanly, in a fresh 15knt Westerly wind, which kicked up a vigorous “Whitstable chop”. Andy Davies/Tom Pygall dominated the first beat despite an early challenge by Andy Dalby and Phil Dalby. Newcomers to the front of the Merlin fleet David Hayes and Jonny Ratcliffe made up lots of ground by spotting the leaders who were hard left, making the most of the calmer water nearer the beach.

The reaches were high octane affairs with Geoff Carveth and Graham Williamson making most ground on the downwind legs. It was still not enough as Judith Massey and Olly Turner managed to hold off Carveth until the last reach, and he couldn’t make it to the chocolates.

For the second race of the four race series the wind was steadily building, but the Merlins don’t have a problem with that, however, it was the black flag that decimated the fleet, with notables such as Andy Davies, Geoff Carveth and most of the Brightlingsea SC entants. Tom Stewart lead out of the blocks followed by Andy Dalby, Pat Blake who seems to be enjoying a long awaited return to form, and David Hayes.

The reaches were increasingly lively and a few near who wiped-out at the gybe mark. As the race went on the wind against tide gave an interesting sea state. It paid to stand way beyond the downwind lay lines and gybe late to come into the bottom mark with speed. Stewart won, Judith Massey finished a good 2nd. David Hayes snuck past Andy Dalby for another 3rd.

Day two was a very different day indeed, the weather forecast had been promising a very hot day with light winds and the sailors had to draw on a very different skill set to that of the day before. However, the lessons taught by the black flag the day before were not well learnt and there were five black flag starts in the 6-8 knt easterly breeze.

There were at least 8 boats in disgrace including several notables. When the fleet got away the leading bunch included Davies, Blake, Alex Jackson /Nicola Brook, and none other than Tony/ Lou Johnson. Tense reaches and tactical beats resulted in another bullet for Davies, Jackson 2nd, and Johnson 3rd, with Hayes just pipping Whitstable stalwarts John and Hilary Cooper.

The wind dropped for the fourth and final race, but this time there was a clean start without the black flag. Geoff Carveth and Graham Williamson got their noses ahead on the first beat, and they were closely followed by Davies, Jackson, William Warren / Sophie Mackley, Blake, and Massey, but Geoff Carveth decided to demonstrate his skills and a battle royale for 2nd and 3rd unfolded behind him.

There was a good performance by Alex Jackson who was just behind Davies, and Tom Stewart who made it back to 5th place despite a poor start, but it was Davies then Warren who came to the fore. Andy Davies and Tom Pygall won the event overall, David Hayes and Johnny Ratcliffe were second with Alex Jackson and Nicola Brookes coming in third.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoNameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
13684KEYSER SOZEANDY DAVISTOM PYGALLBLITHFIELD/WYC1(BFD)124
23722STEALTHDAVID HAYESJONNY RATCLIFFEHAYLING ISLAND 334(6)10
33707MONKEY BUSINESSALEX JACKSONNICOLA BROOKESHOREHAM SC6(RAF)2412
43728VOLSCI QUEENJUDITH MASSEYOLY TURNERHAYLING ISLAND52(BFD)714
53690GENERAL LEEANDY DALBYP DALBYH S C2411(RAF)17
63676HOT TOTTYPAT BLAKEJILL BLAKECOOKHAM REACH (9)56920
73672BOLA BOLAJOHN COOPERHILARY BRADSHAWWYC(12)115824
83700BRAZILIANPHIL EMERYKAREN EMERYWYC10610(11)26
93716CARBONFOOTPRINTSTEVE LENEYGILL LENEYBLITHFIELD(14)871328
103692NEMORIEN ZIVOLDJULIE NUTTALLWYC(DNF)1091029
113683BLUEBIRDTONY JOHNSONLOUISE JOHNSONLYMINGTON 18143(21)35
123652 GEOFF CARVETHGRAHAM WILLIAMSONHISC4(BFD)BFD136
133717RIOJA N' ROLLDAVE CHARLETONCELIA CHARLETONBRIGHTLINGSEA 15714(18)36
143701STOMPERTOM STEWARTSTEVE HALLNORTHHAMPTON (DNS)1BFD537
153715TRULY SCRUMPTIOUSPAUL RAYSONJULIE RAYSONFISHERS GREEN 89(BFD)2037
163620 COOL COOKIEANDY BINESDEREK GENTRYBRIGHTLINGSEA 13(RAF)121439
173685THE BLACK PEARLWILLIAM WARRENSOHIE MACLEYSHOREHAM S C(DNS)BFD8342
183650HEADCASEL TOSHJOE TOSHBANBURY161316(RAF)45
193634MINISTRY OF PLEASUREBEN ARCHERC O'TOOLEPARKSTONE YC211218(24)51
203693SLIPPERY WHEN WETWILL RAINEYROSS JACKSONSHOREHAM S C7(RAF)BFD1553
213729SHABAZZLEJ TURNERR PARSLOWBEER(RAF)DNF131256
223687MELLOW YELLOWALAN JACKSONSONIA MCNALLYMAYLANDSEA (DNS)DNS151763
233554Boat nameDAVID LAPESGERALDINE MARKSWEMBLY(DNC)DNC171664
243569TIME ZULUJOHN BELLDUNCAN BELLHAMPTON20(RAF)BFD1970
253627SNORTERDAN WILLETTPETE NICHOLSONBRIGHTLINGSEA 11(RAF)BFDDNS73
263697TOO DARK N, STORMYRICHARD PAGEELIZABETH DALBYHAMPTON SC(DNS)DNS192373
273589FAT BOTTOM GIRLJOHN HOLLANDSMARIA GRAYHAMPTON SC(DNS)DNS202273
283671SNAKEY BPIERS LAMBERTSARAH BINESBRIGHTLINGSEA 17(RAF)BFDDNC79
293686IFPAUL ALDRIDGEMELISSA SORRELLBRIGHTLINGSEA 19(RAF)DNSDNC81
303708WICKEDLAURIE SMARTKEITH CALLAGHANBURGHFIELD S C(DNF)RAFDNSDNS93

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