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Craftinsure 2012

Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Piers Lambert 25 May 2012 09:41 BST 19-20 May 2012

Saturday 19th dawned bright and clear, the first sun for a few weeks! Sharing the weekend with Fireballs, GP14’s and Hornets, the Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller Series joined in the fantastic sight of 70 boats leaving the club for the race area in the Colne.

With a gentle force 1-2 southerly greeting the 20 Merlins race officer Phil Rust and his team set the course and with the tide just starting to ebb had the first race away on time and, without a general recall (rare for the eager Merlin fleet!). With several shifts up the first beat keeping the fleet guessing Andy “Taxi” Davies and Tom Pygall (national champions) rounded first with a chasing pack including Dave Winder, Jon Ibbottson, local Dan Willett, and legend Jon Turner in hot pursuit. Due to the light winds and ebbing tide the reaches ended up being fairly broad and those going high (including Turner trying to defend) lost out heavily running into the gybe mark. The tidal gate then spread the fleet on the next beat and places stayed much the same until the finish, ending with Taxi followed by Dave Winder and Jon Ibbotson.

The second race again started first time, with fickle shifts up the first beat and the few opting for less tide lost to those heading into the stronger stream. At the top mark Nick Craig lead, with Willett, Ibbotson and Will Rainey in close company. Downwind Craig lost out letting Ibbotson go through to take the lead and the race win with Willett second and Craig holding onto third.

Everyone headed back to the shore and a great welcome from the home club, especially in the form of curry/bolognese washed down with a few “bevvies!” Evening entertainment followed with live action from the Champions League final not to mention James Stewart (Nick Craig’s crew and Chelsea stalwart) amusing others with his celebrations!

Sunday started with a fresher F 3-4 breeze from the north. With Sunday being the actual Silver Tiller event two more boats brought the fleet numbers to 22.

Again, away first time, the third race had a number of boats swapping the lead, with the combination of course layout and breeze making for tighter planing reaches - putting grins on many faces! At the finish Taxi lead from Nick Craig and Will Rainey.

The wind dropped slightly for the fourth race and again most of the fleet headed right into the slackening tide. Dave Winder and local Dave Charlton crewed by Ozzie (his first crewing for many years) both hit the left corner of the course, got the ideal shift and came in to the top mark in first and second. In close pursuit were Taxi, Ibbotson and Jon Turner although a swim at the bottom mark unfortunately dropped Turner from the leaders! Tactics changed as the tide turned and the left hand side of the course became the favoured option, with Dave Winder extending his lead throughout the race for a comfortable win, ahead of Taxi, and Jon Ibbotson.

The final race started with the tide now ebbing fast and again a clean start – no recalls in a Merlin Rocket Open!!!! The pack headed left but with 20 degree shifts a lot of “snakes and ladders” occurred. Jon Gorringe and Toby Lewis headed the fleet with Nick Craig, Jon Ibbotson and Will Warren in close pursuit - a helpful gust stretching all four of them from the rest. With the top mark becoming an assault course as the Merlins lapped the tightly bunched GP14 fleet struggling with the tide, a swimming GP14 sailor must have been more than a little scared as the fleet bore off onto the run around him! Jon Gorringe enjoyed the sight of the shortened course flag after 3 laps, winning from Nick Craig and John Ibbotson.

Congratulations to the race team for running the 4 fleets really well with great courses throughout the weekend, and also to the organising, galley and bar teams who did tremendous work behind the scenes to make the whole event such a success.

With 4 separate winners from 5 races and 4th to 8th only split by 5 points the Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller fleet is showing its strength and depth, but the accolades this weekend must go to Taxi and Tom winning on the same points as Jon Ibbotson and Matt Gifford, courtesy of Taxi’s two wins. Nick Craig and James Stewart were third with Will Rainey and Sophie Mackley fourth.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3684A DavisT PygallBlithfield SC12-63
2nd3675N CraigJ Stewart 2-724
3rd3712J GorringeT LewisParkstone YC-8516
4th3707J IbbotsonM GiffordRanelagh SC-10336
5th3735D WinderP TaylorHollingsworth SC71-98
6th3693W RaineyS MackleyShoreham SC3-1058
7th3685W WarrenC RobinsonShoreham SC4-948
8th3723S PottsJ HacketBlithfiled SC54-129
9th3729J TurnerR ParslowLyme Regis6-12713
10th3627D WillettP NicholsonBrightlingsea SC-126814
11th3671P LambertT BeesBrightlingsea SC-1481119
12th3730P HollisJ DawesBlithfield SC-11111021
13th3722M BiggsB HollisBlithfield SC914(DNC)23
14th3731A JonesK JacksonParkstone SC13-151326
15th3717D CharltonC CharltonBrightlingsea SC-16131427
16th3620A BinesS BinesBrightlingsea SC15-161530
17th3666C JordanG JordanBrightlingsea SC-18171633
18th3682J StewardN YannakoyorgusFishers Green17-181835
19th3634B ArcherM GrayParkstone YC-19191736
20th3688D ConlanE GibbonsBrightlingsea SC(DNF)DNCDNC46
20th3716S LeneyG LeneyBlithfield SC(DNC)DNCDNC46
20th3686P AldridgeM BarryBrightlingsea SC(DNC)DNCDNC46

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