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Merlin Rocket Sondown Cup at Tamesis Club

by John Dunkley 17 Oct 2012 21:16 BST 14 October 2012

Andrew Harris and Sara Warren win

Andrew Harris & Sara Warren in Shenandoah (3088) fought off some fierce competition in a 20 boat fleet to win the Sondown Cup at the Thames Series open meeting for Merlin Rockets at Tamesis Club, Teddington, on Sunday 14 October. They also won the Elizabeth Bowl for the first vintage boat.

An early challenge in the first race came from Jon and Joanna Redding in Pikey (3520) until they had to do a 720 turn for a rule infringement. The contest then moved to Andrew's brother, Richard, in Passing Cloud (1079) and David Vines in Elusive (3347). After a delayed start because of a lack of wind, the fleet was sent off on a down river beat in a cold northerly wind which freshened slowly throughout the day. But it was on the up-river run that the outcome was really decided. Richard, crewed by his son, Harry, and David, by his daughter, Sophie, used their lighter overall weight to get the best speed from the following wind, seeking the slackest areas of stream as they raced up-river. With the Canbury mark to be left to port a fast approach on starboard gybe was needed to fend off those boats coming across from the slacker water on both banks. Spinnakers were used by some to good advantage but David Vines achieved impressive speeds without one. There was some aggressive bunching as the main part of the fleet followed on.

In the second race Mike Stephens and Jodok Gerber, the winners of the Porteous Cup at Saturday's race for Vintage Merlins, joined the fray in Flinkidink (1097) and took second place some two minutes behind Shenandoah but only a few seconds ahead of Passing Cloud. The Reddings were fourth in Pikey.

With the best two of the three races to count for overall points, Mike Stephens worked hard to get Flinkidink through to the front but met some keen competition from one of the visiting boats, Snorter (3627) sailed by Alex Jones and Jack Deung from Cookham Reach SC, and crossed the line just over a minute in front. This gave both Stephens and Richard Harris four points each and Flinkidink's second place was decided by a tie break as they beat Passing Cloud in the final race.

There were visiting boats from Hampton, Minima, Upper Thames and Wembley as well as Cookham.

The Prizes were presented by Tamesis Commodore John Adams and the racing was organised by John Harris, who was Race Officer, assisted by Margaret Stokes. Brian Southcott was Rules Umpire and Carolyne Vines, Rear Commodore Sailing, co-ordinated the results.

Overall Results:

1st Shenandoah (3088) Andrew Harris & Sara Warren (Tamesis) 2pts
2nd Flinkidink (1097) Mike Stephens & Jodok Gerber (Tamesis) 4pts
3rd Passing Cloud (1079) Richard & Harry Harris (Tamesis) 4pts (tie break)
4th Shoestring (1136) Joe McLaughlin& Joe Tosh (Tamesis) 7pts
5th Snorter (3627) Alex Jones & Jack Deung (Cookham Reach SC) 8pts

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