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Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller Open at Chichester Yacht Club

by Meryl Deane 19 Mar 2013 05:18 GMT 16 March 2013

Despite rain, cold weather and gusty conditions, 22 Merlin Rockets made it to Chichester Yacht Club for Saturday's Open Meeting. Sailors had come from all over the country - from Cornwall to the Midlands and Northwest.

This was the first meeting where results counted for the 2013 Silver Tiller series, sponsored by Craftinsure, a trophy that has a history back as far as 1950.

Conditions were cool & breezy, during most of the racing with some very large gusts. Race Office Nick Colbourne set a triangle /sausage course in Chichester Basin, offering some great reaches & runs, but also some tricky gybes. There were a considerable number of capsizes, keeping the safety crews on their toes, although in this fleet the sailors are experts at self–rescue (much to the safety crews relief due to the cold conditions!)

The wind dropped a little for the first race which started in rain with winds of 11-15 knots. The enthusiasts were all close to the line and after a general recall racing got underway. Jasper Burnham & Graham Sexton (Snettisham Beach) got an early lead, but fell back during the racing. This allowed Richard Whitworth & Sarah Bines (Parkstone), Matt Biggs & John Halkett (Blithfield SC) and David Hayes & Johnny Ratcliffe (HISC) to get past. With some very close racing Richard & Sarah were 1st, Matt & John 2nd and David & Johnny 3rd.

The wind continued to build shifting up a gear during Race 2 to 16-25 knots. These larger gusts increased the capsizes, but led to some spectacularly fast reaches & runs for those who could stay on top of the conditions. The racing remained very close and first place again went to Richard Whitworth & Sarah Bines, 2nd were Sam Pascoe & Alex Adams (Castle Cove SC) and 3rd David Sayce & Graham Williamson (HISC).

With the wind continuing to increase Race 3 was kept short. There were already a number of retirements due to the tricky conditions, but the majority of keen racers were on the start line. This time Sam Pascoe & Alex Adams managed to get a good lead and keep ahead or Richard Whitworth & Sarah Bines, to take first with Richard & Sarah 2nd. Matt Biggs & John Halkett were 3rd.

Competitors retired to the shore for Chichester Yacht Club's tea & cakes, followed by the prize giving.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3703Richard WhitworthSarah BinesParkstone S.C.11‑22
2nd3563Sam PascoeAlex AdamsCastle Cove‑8213
3rd3743Matt BiggsJohn HalkettBlithfield S.C.2‑535
4th3734David HayesJohnny RatcliffeHISC34‑77
5th3736David SayceGraham WilliamsonHISC‑5358
6th3708Jasper BarnhamGraham SextonSnettisham Beach4‑7610
7th3745Stephen CockerillSarah CockerillHISC7‑10411
8th3656Olly TurnerWilliam CarrolStarcross Y.C.66‑812
9th3744Chris MartinTom WhiteBlithfield S.C.‑118917
10th3731Andy JonesLou JohnsonParkstone S.C.109(DNS)19
11th3693Will RaineyCaroline CroftShoreham S.C.9‑121120
12th3650Richard AdamsKattie WrightMidland‑17111021
13th3634Ben ArcherJ. WarrenPYC‑16141226
14th3663Christopher HaworthJoanne HarveyBlackpool & Fleet S.C.1216(DNS)28
15th3626Andy HayNik Middleton‑StewartR.Y.A.1415(DNF)29
16th3442Mark StockbridgeEddy AtfinsRanelagh S.C.‑19171431
17th3448Sam ThompsonClare ThompsonPenzance(DNS)DNS1336
18th3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield S.C.(DNF)13DNS36
19th3610Richard Dee Midland13(DNF)DNS36
20th3688Ben HollisJo MarlowBlithfield S.C.15(DNF)DNS38
21st3584Jon TownsendBarbara LangfordEmsworth.S.C.18(DNF)DNF41
22nd3569John BellOlivia BellHampton .S.C.20(DNF)DNS43

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