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Craftinsure Merlin Rocket open meeting at Wembley Sailing Club

by Duncan Salmon 27 Mar 2013 21:06 GMT 24 March 2013

A Craftinsure Silver Tiller event on the Welsh Harp

Having decided to change the date of the Wembley meeting from balmy (but weedy) September to March, hopes were high for some Spring sailing. As it happened it was Arctic conditions that greeted the 24 boats, 15 visitors making the trip to North London, with good turn outs from our friends at Parkstone, Blithfield and Ranelagh, with representatives from Lyme Regis, Snetisham Beach, Papercourt and Upper Thames.

John Gill and his hardy race team ran three back to back races in the 15 to 25 mph north easterly during a day when the temperature did not rise above zero with ice forming on the Merlins and freezing the extremities of the sailors. The wind direction was perfect for the Welsh Harp and allowed a beat up and run down the full length of the reservoir.

Race 1 got underway promptly at 11.30 with Jon Gorringe and Toby Lewis showing the fleet around chased by Matt Biggs crewed by John Hackett and Andy Davis with Tom Pygall in third. Further back the fleet there were multiple capsizes with teams caught out by the big gusts and shifts down the run.

The warning for Race 2 was sounded shortly after the last boat had finished and the fleet was off again, Andy/Tom, Jon/Toby and Matt/John again vying for the lead but this time joined by Jon Turner and Richard Parslow. With a show of exuberance Toby threw himself out of the toe straps and went for a swim in the freezing Harp at the windward mark, Jon Turner - despite his RNLI connections - sailed straight by with a cheery wave into second place. Jon Gorringe, with the soggy Toby back on board, worked his way back to win the race, with Matt/John and Andy/Tom in second and third again.

As competitors finished Race 2, rescue boats delivered bottles of water and mars bars - they were so cold there was risk of breaking teeth but they gave an energy boost (Colin Brockbank thought they should have been deep fried) - following a 30 second postponement (to draw the fleet's attention to what was happening) the warning was sounded for Race 3. Jon and Toby had decided to head for the bar and Andy/Tom led at the windward mark followed by Jasper Barnham crewed by Graham Sexton and Duncan and Harriet Salmon. It took Matt and John the windy run and subsequent flat out reach to get into second place chased hard by Matt's former crew Ben Hollis crewed by Ben Hendon.

The fleet was supplied with very welcome hot soup in the dinghy park and then the Wembley chilli con carne before the prize giving. Jon and Toby were first; Andy and Tom second, tying on points with Matt and John but beating them by their first in the last race with Jasper and Graham fourth.

Jon Turner and Richard won the Century Cup for the fourth time and there were various other Merlin themed clothing prizes generously supplied by MF Products.

Having warmed up the fleet went home having enjoyed a great day's racing thanks to the RS200 and Laser fleets at Wembley who ran the day and Paul Dean Merlin Class Captain at WSC who organised it.

Overall Results:

PosSailHelm & CrewClubR1R2R3Points
13712Goringe & LewisParkstone11DNC2
23684Davis & PygallBlithfield3314
33743Biggs & JackettBlithfield2224
43708Barnham & SextonSnetisham Beach5549
53676Gifford & HarridgeRanelagh4659
63688Hollis & HendonBlithfield87310
73729Turner & ParslowLyme Regis64610
83573Bond & BaileyPapercourt1013717
93442Stockbridge & GreenfieldRanelagh910817
103626Hay & Middleton‑StewartRYA1181018
113702Salmon & SalmonWembley712OCS19
123641Waterhouse & BassParkstone129DNC21
133637Broadbent & HallWembley15111122
143371Dean & PortaWembley17141226
153559Tosh & ToshThames 1315DNF28
163634Archer & O'FarrellParkstone16OCS1430
173567Smith & BestonBlithfield18161531
182997Coulter & HillFishers Green19191332
193651Brockbank & Hewitt & WembleyDNFDNC934
203681Maxwell & EvansWembley22181634
213682Steward & StewardWembley14DNFDNC37
223574Lapes & DonoghueWembley 2017DNC37
233535Cooke & GreenWembley21DNFDNC44
243668Smyth & ReadWembleyDNFDNCDNC50

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