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Merlin Rocket Open Meeting at Parkstone Yacht Club

by Ben Archer 19 Oct 2011 09:30 BST 16 October 2011

The 26 boats that travelled to the penultimate open meeting in this iconic race series, which, incidentally Britain’s top dinghy sailors have fought over since 1950, were greeted with the beautiful sight of Poole harbour on a sunlit, misty morning. Unfortunately for them, there wasn’t a breath of wind. After an hours postponement was all it took, however, and the slick PYC race team headed up by PRO Barry Rolfe got the fleet away with only one general recall, when a fitful force 1-2 filled in from the west-north-west.

A tight three lap triangle-sausage-triangle course meant that the fleet remained bunched in the first race, not even the leading group really got clear. Despite this Jon Gorringe with crew Toby Lewis stamped their authority on the fleet with a win, but even they were tested by conditions and very tough competition; both Matt Biggs/Ben Hollis and William Warren/Sophie Mackley pressed him to the finish. Andy Jones (with Ceilidh Higgs) confirmed he has put the wilderness years behind him. Showing his true form, he put in an excellent start and first beat to round the windward mark in pole position. Sailing well, he finished fourth despite continued pressure, but unfortunately he failed to capitalise on this result in the next two races.

Race two was sailed in similar conditions, but a shifty breeze with large holes in it meant for a real Salcombe-style snakes and ladders racing. Only ‘Mr Consistency’ Jon Gorringe made it to the podium from the original top three, with Andy Davis/Ellie Bremmer romping into first despite a disappointing start. Local hero Richard Whitworth, crewed by class chairman Louise Johnson banked a third; leaving it all to do in the last race…

The course for the third race was a classic Parkstone YC harbour tour, and a port biased line created a snarl up at the pin end, with a smart few getting away up at the committee boat. Despite giving away lots of distance, they stayed in clean air up the first beat then the wind stopped after the leading bunch rounded the second mark, with a lucky 10 boats managing to round the mark and get away whilst the rest of the fleet sat waiting for the wind.

The long run from Piccadilly down to Drakes was very one sided, and those who took the Island side lost out to those soaking low and staying out into the harbour. William Warren who led from the start won this race and achieved a second overall position. He was followed in by a newcomer to the fleet, I14 hero, Sam Pascoe, storming along and proving at once his own ability and the durability of the modern Merlin to finish 11th overall at his first Silver Tiller open Meeting, in his 12 year old boat.

Andy Davis scraped a third, hotly pursued by a pack that was lifted all the way up to the finish when the tide created an apparent wind bend. But it was not enough to stop Jon Gorringe taking his first Parkstone Merlin open.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoatHelmCrewClubR1R2R3TotalPts
1st3712OAKEY DOKEYJON GORRINGETOBY LEWISPARKSTONE YC12‑14173
2nd3685BLACK PEARLWILLIAM WARRENSOPHIE MACKLEYSHOREHAN SC3‑61104
3rd3684KEYSER SOZEANDY DAVISELLIE BREMMERBLITHFIELD SC‑1513194
4th3703FAITHLESSRICHARD WHITWORTHLOU JOHNSONPARKSTONE YC‑834157
5th3718MISS AIGLETINGERDAVID SAYCEFIONA SAYCEHAYLING ISLAND SC54‑6159
6th3702SALMON EN CROUTEDUNCAN SALMONJACK SALMONWEMBLEY‑12552210
7th3722STEALTHMATT BIGGSBEN HOLLISBITHFIELD2‑15133015
8th3729SHABAZZLEJON TURNERRICHARD PARSLOWPARKSTONE YC6‑11102716
9th3693SLIPPERY WHEN WETWILL RAINEYKELLY MILLERSHOREHAM SC9‑1372916
10th3539GANGSTA PARADISEDAN ALSOPJENNIE KINGLYME REGIS79‑213716
11th372LEADERSAM PASCOETIM RUSHWEYMOUTH SC‑211623918
12th3610NEEDLEMAKERSRICHARD DEECHRIS GOULDMIDLAND‑117112918
13th3731MAYHEMANDY JONESCEILIDH HIGGSPARKSTONE YC417‑204121
14th3634MINISTRY OF PLEASUREBEN ARCHERA BREWERPARKSTONE YC‑171483922
15th3694THE SOUP DRAGONSTEVE TYLERALLY TYLERPARKSTONE YC148‑163822
16th3730BLOOD SWEAT N BEERSPAUL HOLLISJAMES DAWESBLITHFIELD SC13‑2294422
17th3661SHMOOZEY BLUEGRAHAM SCROGGIEBEN SCROGGIEPARKSTONE YC1012‑153722
18th3583BACK TO THE FUTURECHRIS MARTINDAN MORGANBLITHFIELD SC1610(DNC)5226
19th3573RONG NUMBERSIMON BONDANNA CARRHAYLING ISLAND‑1918124930
20th3664BACK IN BLACKANT HACKFORTHHELEN TAYLORPARKSTONE YC18‑20185636
21st3633CHILL OUTDAVID BURSEYFRANCES LOVELLPARKSTONE YC‑2221176038
22nd3641PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGONMARK WATERHOUSECLAIRE LANGHOLZPARKSTONE YC‑2019195838
23rd3655LOOSED CANNONDAVID WILKINSJOSH DACKSPARKSTONE YC‑2323226845
24th3654 STEPHEN BAILEYCATHERINE MILESPARKSTONE YC‑2424237147
25th3681MIDNIGHT FLIGHTDOUGLAS MAXWELLFRAN HEWLETTWEMBLEY SC‑2525247449

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