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Merlin Rocket Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Tim Fells 16 Sep 2013 15:33 BST 14-15 September 2013

A quality fleet of 44 boats arrived at Grafham Water for the final major event of what has been a great year for the class; a record 120 boat turnout at Salcombe Week and one of the most competitive championships since the class heyday in the 70's.

The forecast for Sunday was ominous with wet and very windy conditions due to arrive around the middle of the day. Consequently, a sensible decision was made to have four races on Saturday and try to fit the final race into the Sunday morning window before conditions became un-sailable.

Saturday's conditions started in a F3-4 Northerly that slowly dropped as the afternoon progressed and then finally disappeared as the fleet was on the first lap of race four. It was a testing day with big shifts coming down the track and consistency was hard to find. In the main the starts were port end biased but the right corner was the place to be, with many boats having won the start struggling to get across to the favoured side. Of course, just when most of the fleet had worked this out, the wind went left at the start of race three allowing those who had risked the pin end to escape into a big lead!

The four races saw four different winners with Richard Whitworth/Sarah Bines, Dave Winder/Pippa Taylor, Dave Hayes/Jonny Ratcliffe and Jon Ibottson/Sophie Mackley all picking up one of the beautiful race winners trophies. However, the consistency of Jon Gorringe/Andrea Ralph and Andy Davis/Tom Pygall saw them in amongst the overnight leaders going into the final race shoot out.

Sunday morning dawned with a healthy SSW gusting up to 20 knots and the fleet got away first time for a classic five lap workout with rigs raked well back and some scorching reaches to enjoy. By mid-race Roger Gilbert/Oli Wells had stretched their legs to build a comfortable lead but behind them there was a four way tussle going on for the overall title. Dave/Jonny looked to have one hand on the trophy when they lost their rudder on a windy reach. Taxi/Tom then took up the running but Jon/Andrea looked like they had taken pole position when getting into third place ahead of Richard/Sarah. However, at the final gybe mark, Jon/Andrea were rolled by Dave/Pippa leaving them tied on 11 points with Taxi/Tom, each with 2,2,3,4. Taxi/Tom took the title on count back based upon the last race result with Richard/Sarah a further point behind.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st3684Andy DavisTom PygallBlithfield Sailing Club/Whitstable Yacht24‑203211
2nd3754Jon GorringeAndrea RalphParkstone YC3‑722411
3rd3703Richard WhitworthSarah BinesParkstone & Hollingworth12‑144512
4th3734David HayesJonny RatcliffeHayling Island SC5319(DNC)18
5th3708Jasper BarnhamGraham SextonSnettisham Beach SC/Thorpe Bay YC6‑2237824
6th3735David WinderPippa TaylerHollingworth Lake4118(DNC)326
7th3722Roger GilbertOli WellsFrensham Pon SC/ HISC9‑12711128
8th3749James PetersAlan PetersHayling Island Sailing Club76‑1381031
9th3658Chris JenningsAlly MartinBurghfield SC894‑121132
10th3688Ben HollisCaroline Croft ‑2314661642
11th3712Ian SharpsEllie MartinBurghfield1885‑241243
12th3610Richard DeeChris GouldMidland12118‑151344
13th3710Jon IbbotsonSophie MackleyRanelagh1513161‑2045
14th3727Tim FellsChris DownhamHayling Island SC20‑251022658
15th3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield17161214(DNC)59
16th3756William WarrenMark OakeyShoreham SC‑242311131461
17th3729Jon TurnerRichard ParslowLyme Regis SC135(BFD)BFD770
18th3733Bernard GammonJames DamesNorthampton SC271517‑301776
19th3539Dan AlsopAlice RookLyme Regis SC25102817‑3080
20th3707Alex JacksonAlex WarrenShoreham1419(BFD)5DNC83
21st3671Piers LambertAndy BinesBrightlingsea Sailing Club19‑2422231983
22nd3702Duncan SalmonHarriet SalmonWembley SC28‑3415192486
23rd3641Mark WaterhouseNikki BassParkstone Yacht Club223026‑33987
24th3643Tim HarridgeWill CarrollHampton SC26339‑372795
25th3715Paul RaysonJulie RaysonFishers Green SC/ Salcombe YC1629(BFD)322198
26th3731Andy JonesMaddie JonesParkstone‑292823291898
27th3626Andy HayNix Middleton‑StewartRYA30‑32241631101
28th3645Paul JenkinsPeter JenkinsWeir Woods Sailing Club‑3727193423103
29th3612Tom LonsdaleBen EavesNorhampton SC‑3221312626104
30th3744Chris MartinJoe ToshBlithfield SC441830(BFD)15107
31st3569Rory MacprickDuncan BellHampton Sailing Club3326(BFD)2028107
32nd3651Colin BrockbankRussel HallWembley‑3131272722107
33rd3743Matt BiggsJohn HackettBlithfield102033(DNF)DNC108
34th3663Christopher HaworthBecca JonesBlackpool & Fleetwood Yacht Club213521(BFD)34111
35th3746Dan WillettPete NicholsonBrightlingsea SC1117(BFD)BFDDNC118
36th3751Tony JohnsonLouise JohnsonLymington Town SC34‑37252535119
37th3165Abigail CroftJoe Butterworth/Alice MarkhamQueen Mary Sailing Club39‑42351037121
38th3583Colin AndersonSean AndersonRedditch3641(BFD)1829124
39th3448Sam ThompsonClare ThompsonRNSA38383421(DNC)131
40th2997Richard CaulterChris HillFishers Green‑4339372832136
41st3634Bloody BenPhilippa DanielsParkstone Yacht Club‑4036293536136
42nd3750Stephen DunnRachael RhodesWalton&Frinton Yacht Club35(DSQ)32BFD25137
43rd3442Mark StockbridgeNigel PlayfordRanelagh41(DNC)383133143
44th3682Jonathan StewardHarry StewardFishers Green/ Wembley42403636(DNC)154

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