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Tactics To Win by Nick Craig
Tactics To Win by Nick Craig

Merlin Rocket Open at Chelmarsh Sailing Club

by Paul Jones 29 Oct 2012 13:54 GMT 27 October 2012
Merlins at Chelmarsh © Jennie Orton

Chelmarsh SC holds its first Merlin Open... ever!

Chelmarsh welcomed the Merlin fleet to their debut event in the Merlin Rocket Midland Series to their picturesque reservoir set in rolling Shropshire countryside a few miles from Bridgnorth.

The welcome was warm but the weather was FREEZING and that coupled with a gusty wind reaching 27 knots at times meant for sailors to dig out the thermals and tune the rig for the "stay upright" setting.

After a slight delay Race Officer Tim Davies set a start line just off the dam wall into the building North Easterly making for a "no capsize or get swept on to the wall" start strategy from the sailors, very wise particularly as some of the fleet looked like they had just rolled out of Winders yard!

Matt Biggs and John Hackett [3743]battled it out with Chris Martin and Rob Kennaugh [3744] for the first few laps until a mistake from Martin allowed Biggs to pull away and increase his lead over the 6 laps eventually taking the gun from Rich Adams and Katie Wright [3650]. Paul Hollis and James Dawes [3730] finished third. A few competitors decided, after taking an early ice bath at the gybe mark, to head for the gourmet lunch on offer in the clubhouse.... another wise decision !

After a thorough warming and the partaking of Chelmarshs' finest offerings the fleet launched again for race 2. A change in course brought the fleet into the relative shelter of the clubhouse shore for the gybe mark which was gratefully appreciated by both competitors and spectators alike. By now Matt and John were getting to grips with both the conditions and Chelmarshs' "little foibles" and took the gun once more. Chris and Rob made no mistake this time to take second with the consistent duo of Paul and James again third.

After taking on more ballast [sorry, cake and hot tea] for race 3 the now weary competitors headed out for the last race, with the wind slightly reduced in strength [so the spectators said, the competitors did not agree!] Matt and John made it a clean sweep, followed in once more by Chris and Rob from Midland. Paul and James again came in third.

So the first ever Chelmarsh Merlin event concluded in what was very testing conditions for the competitors, spectators and race officers alike. A big thank you to all the teams who travelled, the race, galley and rescue team and of course Mike and Karen Whitehouse for suggesting it in the first place!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
13743Matt BiggsJohn HackettBlithfield1112
23744Chris MartinRob KennaughBlithfield4224
33650Rich AdamsKatie WrightMidland2446
43730Paul HollisJames DawesBlithfield3336
53583Colin AndersonSean AndersonRedditch56711
63688Ben HollisPhil "Supercrew" ScottBlithfield651411
73662Mike WhitehouseKaren WhitehouseChelmarsh107512
83612Andy BeardshawCharlie NoakesRedditch98614
93680Steve WatsonPhil HarrisonMidland714815
103567Martin SmithKaren BestonMidland89917
113610Richard DeeChris GouldMidland14141428
113548Kieron MasonBelinda MasonBlithfield14141428
113581Mark ReddingtonColin StaiteBartley14141428

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