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Merlin Rockets at the 50th Hamble Warming Pan

by Steve Storey 13 Mar 2012 11:52 GMT 10-11 March 2012

With Craftinsure again kindly sponsoring the 2012 Merlin Rocket traveller series, the Silver Tiller, the season’s first event took place at Hamble River Sailing Club and coincided with the clubs 50th anniversary Warming Pan celebrations.

Out on the water difficult conditions prevailed all weekend and made life challenging, not only for the competitors who had to battle tide with very light and changing wind directions, but also for the race team in setting realistic courses to cope!

After an over enthusiastic rush at the line resulted in a general recall the first race finally started in a light north westerly. Richard Adams and Chris Gould in 3650 led the fleet on a reaching start down river for 3 laps around the windward leeward course in Southampton water.

As the breeze slowly died away and the tidal effect became dominant it was the risky strategy of Jon Abbotson & John Gifford in 3707 who, by taking a long tack out through the ebbing tide towards the west shore, found themselves back in contention for a well-deserved win on the shortened course. Dan Alsop & Jennie King were a close second in 3539 followed by Will Rainey and Will Carroll in 3693.

With less than 5 minutes ashore the fleet launched again for race two and in the resurgent force 1 breeze and bright sunshine tested the race team with their second general recall of the event. After a short postponement Richard Whitworth and Chris Winters pulled away to lead the race in almost identical conditions to those prevailing earlier. Tim Fells and Chris Downham in 3727 made an early challenge though not consistent enough to hold off the pressure from the ever wily Dan Alsop and Jennie King. “Gangsta Paradise” took second place and the prize for Saturdays overall best Merlin Rocket result.

Sunday morning for race number 3 provided little more in the way of wind with the Race Officer electing to confine all boats to the river with a short beat off the start line and a broad reach down to the bottom mark.

As the race progressed and notwithstanding some of the closely fought racing amongst the fleet – notably Dave Dobrijevic and Jeremy Williamson in 3708 who came through to finish in a fine 5th place – undoubtedly the win of the weekend must go to Frances Gifford and Sophie Mackley. From the gun they steered Alan Warren’s “Tiger Tiger” 3696 through every slight puff of breeze and wind shift to finish a clear 27 minutes ahead of the second placed boat of Ben Archer and Andy Brewer, both of whom sailed well throughout and especially in covering their own position in the major 180 degree wind shift on the last leg of the course.

Event Videos: (by Malcolm Donald,

Jon Turner explains the Genii design features

More pictures in the 'Photo Gallery' tab below the results.

Overall Results:

PosSailBoatHelm & CrewResultsPoints
13707Monkey BusinessJon Abbotson & Michael John Gifford1, 9, 313
23650HeadcaseRich Adams & Chris Gould6, 3, 413
3373FaithlessRichard Whitworth & Chris Winters4, 1, 1520
43684Keyser SozeAndy Davis and Tom Pygall9, 4, 720
53539Gangsta ParadiseDan Alsop and Jennie King7, 2, 1322
63696Tiger TigerFrances Gifford & Sophie Mackley5, 17, 123
73732Dave Wade & Ben Rayner7, 8, 924
83634Ministry of PleasureBen Archer & Andy Brewer19, 5, 226
93693Slippery When WetWill Rainey and Will Carroll3, 14, 1431
101097FlinkidinkMike Stephens & Jodok Gerber8, 11, 1231
113685The Black PearlWilliam Warren and Chris Robinson14, 10, 832
123730Blood Sweat & BeersBen Hollis & James Dawes10, 15, 1035
133658Re‑EntryChris Jennings & Roger Gilbert16, 17, 639
143727FragileTim Fells & Chris Downham12, 7, 2544
153734Sam Pascoe & Tim Rusk10, 13, 2548
163712Oakey DokeyJon Gorringe & Nick Bass17, 16, 1649
173708WickedDave Dobrijevic & Jeremy Williamson25, 25, 555
183718Miss AigletingerDavid & Fiona Sayce25, 6, 2556
193719Fluffbum BabyloveMike Partridge & Claire Davis12, 20, 2557
203661Schmoozy BlueGraham and Ben Scroggie15, 19, 2559
213579Mango TangoJoe Mclaughlin & Charlie Morgan25, 25, 1161
223698Graham Cranford‑Smith & Tim Powell18, 18, 2561
233556Make it SoAlex Jones & Jack Oeund25, 25, 1767
243729ShabazzleJon Turner & Alan Tylor25, 25, 2575

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