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Merlin Rocket Salcombe Week - Day 5

by Tim Fells 12 Jul 2012 20:38 BST 8-13 July 2012

After the sunny weather that has blessed Salcombe Merlin week to date, the forecast rain arrived on Thursday with a building breeze that started light for the morning race and reached fresh to frightening for the afternoon.

Day 5 Morning – Green versus Black flights

With a beat against the tide and an asthmatic southerly edging down the harbour, the big decision was whether to start on the Portlemouth shore and keep out of the tide but risk very little wind, or start on the town side and fight the tide to get past the end of the fairway for more favourable breeze.

Overnight leaders, Dave Winder/Pippa Taylor opted for the Portlemouth strategy and nailed a perfect start close to the beach. Meanwhile their main opposition, Taxi/Ellie Bremmer, Mike Calvert/Ian Garwood and Jon Gorringe/Toby Lewis opted for the town shore. Dave and Pippa showed they have the mastery of the week by making the right decision and taking a good lead. Conditions continued to be really challenging with the breeze through the Bag and down to Yalton on rinse cycle. This did not appear to affect Dave and Pippa who came home with a good lead.

Behind them some new faces were ‘enjoying’ the conditions. Duncan and Harriett Salmon were third just behind Jon/Toby. Dan Alsop/Jennie King were fourth ahead of Simon Potts/Holly Scott. Of the front runners, Taxi/Ellie were 13th, Tom Stewart/Steve Hall 8th and Mike/Ian 9th.

Day 5 Afternoon – Red versus Blue flights

For the afternoon race the forecast big breeze arrived from the Southwest and was at its strongest down through the start finish line in the town. Matt Biggs/Ben Hollis took the early lead at Blackstone and showed great boat handling to carry their kite all the way through the town with a couple of excellent gybes. Tim Fells/Chris Downham and Dave Hayes/Jonny Radcliffe who had followed Matt and Ben round the top mark both hit the tide gybing in a big gust in front of the club.

Steve Crooks/Joanna Marlow also made it down under kite while Willie Warren/Sophie Mackley showed old sea dog tactics to two sail the run into second place.

Over the next two laps Matt and Ben kept it together to take the gun while Tim and Chris recovered to power through to take second place. Willie/Sophie hung onto third ahead of Steve/Joanna and Simon Blake/Alex Jackson in the Superfast Cuttlefish recovered from some early gear failure to take fifth.

By the end of this war of attrition there were only 15 finishers and at least two masts had gone missing in action.

Overall, Dave and Pippa have won the week with a day to spare. Their score line of 1,1,1,2,5 means that even if Tim and Chris were to win the last race they would tie on points but lose on count back.

Behind them the battle for second is very tight. Tim and Chris are on 9 points, Taxi/Ellie on 10,Tom/Steve on 10.5, Mike/Ian on 11 and Wille/Sophie on 12. The forecast for Friday is 15-20 knots from the Southwest with some sun, so it should be a classic final day.

Results so far

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