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Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Steve Storey 30 Apr 2012 15:27 BST 28-29 April 2012

For those competitors who enjoyed the relative calm and tranquillity of last weekend's restricted (river or estuary) Craftinsure Silver Tiller at Cookham Reach, Hayling Island's 2 day event (the eighth so far in the series) proved to be physically more demanding - at least on the first day!

Saturday's racing, an open water (reservoir lake or harbour) event held within the wide expanses of Chichester Harbour tested skill and determination as race one kicked off in a force 4 gusting force 5. With the north easterly creating wind over tide conditions, skilful sailing again ensured a minimum of start line incidents as the fleet of 33 boats finally sheeted in for the first beat after only one general recall!

In the lead at the windward mark William Warren and Chris Robinson in 3685 succumbed to the strong pressure from Colin Smith and Graham Williamson who themselves were acutely aware of Britain's 2012 Olympic 470 contender Stuart Bithell crewed by Christian Birrell being only too close for comfort! As the fleet powered away down the first reach with much position changing in the fast planing conditions it was Stuart and Christian who were in the lead by the bottom mark, a position which they continued to hold to the flag, marking what appeared to be a very successful repeat guest appearance in the Merlin Rockets!

However slightly further down the fleet Jon Gorringe & Toby Lewis in 3712 were making a late charge happy to settle for second place whilst keeping a weather eye on Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis in 3722 coming up for third.

The twist in the tale... joy for some disappointment for others, Stuart and Christian black flagged at the start.

With no sign of the wind abating, the start of race two saw ten competitors black flagged and head home for an early shower. Now the reduced fleet were left to battle it out for "first to the windward mark" and Mike Calvert and Ian Garwood in 3691 made best use of the toestraps on the beat to get the pole position and be first to hoist on the reach!

Fired up after their win in race one, Jon and Toby were now determined to make it their weekend and some slick spinnaker work saw their second place position turn into that of lead boat as they roared down the harbour on another exhilarating three sail reach! Working hard to maintain the position they were finally rewarded with the welcome sound of another "first to finish gun" despite a tough challenge from Mike & Ian who being both hunter and hunted did consistently well to secure second place. Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis sailing with "Blood Sweat and (no) Beers" finished in third.

It's amazing what a hot shower can do and revived competitors headed first to the bar and then to an excellent HISC Mexican dinner, plenty of time then to contemplate the day's events and what tomorrow's similar forecast would have in store?

Sunday morning again dawned with torrential rain in the bleak and cold conditions and no sign of the force 5/6 north easterly slackening towards more acceptable sailing weather.

Eventually after a slight lull and with the wind swinging more toward the east, the race team decided to proceed and crews were despatched to rig and prepare. However conditions on the water from the committee boat proved less than satisfactory and wisely (though disappointingly for some) the meeting was abandoned.

So Jon & Toby held onto their well-deserved two first places and were declared the overall winners of this year's Hayling Island Silver Tiller event!

Next stop Rutland Water May 6th. With the training event taking place in advance and new skills to be tested on the water in the race it promises to be an exciting weekend. Let's hope for some sunshine for this one!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2Pts
1st3712Jon GorringeToby LewisParkstone YC112
2nd3722Matt BiggsBen HollisBlithfield235
3rd3734David HayesJonny RatcliffeHISC5712
4th3727Tim FellsNicola BrookHISC11415
5th3735David WinderPippa TaylerHollingworth Lake10515
6th3691Mike CalvertIan GarwoodAxe15217
7th3723Simon PottsHolly Scott 61218
8th3656Simon LyttonJackie LyttonHISC14620
9th3724Martin JonesVicky JonesHISC13821
10th3685William WarrenChris RobinsonShoreham SC81321
11th3627Dan WillettPete NicholsonBrightlingsea201030
12th3539Dan AlsopJennie KingLyme Regis191130
13th3708Dave DobrijevicJeremy WilliamsonHISC161733
14th3693Will RaineySophie MackleyShoreham SC28937
15th3731Andy JonesMaddieParkstone211637
16th3729Jon TurnerOlly TurnerLyme Regis172037
17th3730Paul HollisKelly MillerBlithfield SC241539
18th3555Tim HarridgeBug HarridgeHampton SC271441
19th3736Colin SmithGraham WilliamsonHISC3BFD42
20th3728Judith MasseyHarvey HillaryHISC4BFD43
21st3563Sam PascoeMegan PascoeWeymouth SC222143
22nd3726David HitchcockChris HitchcockHISC251944
23rd3733Tom StewartSteve HallNorthampton7BFD46
24th3684Andy DavisTom PygallBlithfield / Whitstable YC9BFD48
25th3710Andrea RalphJohn ReesHISC321850
26th3658Chris JenningsLiese ScottBurghfield SC12BFD51
27th3589John HollandsMaria GrayHampton SC312253
28th3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield18BFD57
29th3634Ben ArcherP Horne 23BFD62
30th3682Jon StewardNke YannakoyoruosFishers Green SC26BFD65
31st3567Martin SmithKaren BestonBlithfield29DNF68
32nd3579Joe McCloughinChalie MorganTamesis30DNC69
33rd3604Stuart GurneyPhillipa Daniels 33DNC72
34th3697Stuart BithellChristian Birrell BFDBFD78
34th3676Pat BlakeJill BlakeCookham Reach SCDNFDNC78
34th3510Mike RaineJaney HillRudyard Lake SCDNCDNC78
34th3588Simon PerryChris AllenHISCBFDBFD78
34th3718David SayceFiona SayceHISCDNFDNC78

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