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Merlin Rocket Open Meeting at Ranelagh Sailing Club

by Fran Gifford 11 Mar 2013 13:05 GMT 10 March 2013
A cold north easterly greeted 18 Merlins at Ranelagh © Nick Price

A blustery, cold north easterly (and free bacon rolls) greeted the eighteen boats that arrived at Ranelagh to compete for a trophy first awarded in 1946. The fleet was quickly reduced to seventeen with a main halyard lost to the inside of a mast. Despite the cold even this boat launched for a sail, long after the fleet had started.

So four laps of a port hand, sausage with the windward mark most of the way to Hammersmith ensued. The downwind leg against the strong flood tide, was fantastic, close enough to the bank to stay out of the tide, but far enough away to be able to bear away when the blustery gusts hit..... Four or five teams got caught out and found themselves swimming.

Fran Gifford and Alex Jackson were lucky enough to get away on the first upwind leg and never really looked back (actually looked back quite a few times).

The tussle for second was hard fought, between Duncan and Harriet Salmon and David Vines and Charlie Morgan. The Salmons maintained their form of having minor catastrophes whenever they come to Ranelagh, this time a rigging issue meant virtually no spinnaker usage was possible. Catastrophes of previous years sounded more serious, particularly as they managed to hold off the Vines/Morgan challenge and take second.

'Tosh' and son Joe Tosh, appeared to sail a pretty uneventful race in a solid fourth, followed by Alan Broadbent and Russell Hall in fifth. There was undoubtedly very close racing throughout the fleet, with place changes due to capsizes, and judging how long to keep the kite up being a key decision, for those with kites on board.

Having finished, and it being time to go ashore, competitors found there was no shore. The tide was high and over the road, packing up could happen later. No-one likes packing up stood in a cold river. But they do like free lasagne and salad and garlic bread! So a lovely lunch, and a prize giving in which Duncan Salmon said it was his best sail at Ranelagh for years. The funny thing is, I think we always think that. The great place that it is.

Overall Results:

PosBoatHelm / Crew / Club
1st3676 Hot Totty Fran Gifford & Alex Jackson Ranelagh SC
2nd3702 Salmon en Croute Duncan & Harriet Salmon Wembley SC
3rd3347 Elusive David Vines / Charlie Morgan Tamesis Club
4th3559 Smart CookieTosh & Joe Tosh Upper Thames SC
5th3637 Delirium Allan Broadbent & Russell Hall Wembley SC
6th1944 Flying WildTim Harrison / Anna Marriott Ranelagh SC
7th3422 Just Practising Martin & Natalja Wollny Ranelagh SC
8th2444 Scoobee Doo Thomas & Anton Stolper Ranelagh SC
9th3073 Birthday Suit Christopher Edwards / Una Hodgkins Ranelagh SC
10th3556 Make it So Jodok & Daniel Gerber Tamesis Club
11th2406 Merlins Moon Henri Schricke / Elisabeth Markart Ranelagh SC
12th2744 Phantom Spinner Neil Davies / Russell Davies Ranelagh SC
13th1189 Pooh Sel Shah / Ben Marshall Minima YC
14th2636 Perplexed Jeremy Kahn / Hugh Spalding South Bank SC
Rtd2848 Anarchy Guillaume & Pauline de Riberolles Ranelagh SC
Rtd3682 Red Wizard Jon & Harry Steward Wembley SC
Rtd3106 Eureka Brian Clarke / Nick Wilson Ranelagh SC
Dns3579 Old Socks Michael Airey / Francesca Maltishent Ranelagh SC

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