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Merlin Rocket Felucca Trophy at Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club

by Graham Knox 7 Oct 2013 16:16 BST 5-6 October 2013
David Winder wins the Merlin Rocket Felucca Trophy at Hollingworth Lake © Graham Knox

In a closely fought series, David Winder and Pippa Taylor won the Felucca Trophy, HLSC's Merlin Rocket Open in a fleet of 16 boats. This was part of the Craftinsure sponsored Silver Tiller Series. This Trophy had been in the hands of Richard Whitworth for 17 times in past years and it was a daunting prospect for any one to challenge on his former 'home' waters.

The first race did not start well for Richard Whitworth/Alex Warren, David Winder/Pippa Taylor and Julian Parry/Becca Jones as all were noted over the start line. It would be no surprise that these 3 boats were the early leaders. From an indifferent start, Matt Biggs/John Hackett made progress to cross the finish line behind Whitworth and Winder and take the win. Club Commodore, Steve Crook, with Sally Townend, sailed steadily to finish second. The second race, sailed back-to-back, was more orderly at the start apart from Whitworth not getting the best of it. Winder had the early lead of 5 boats braking clear but, by the end of the first lap, it was Biggs in control securing what looked like an unassailable lead. Whitworth, meanwhile, was gaining places. On a downwind leg, Winder closed up on Biggs and it looked as if he might break through to the lead, strongly but unsuccessfully contested. Whitworth picked up some good lifts and stormed into third place with Crook fourth.

After a late lunch, another clear start found three boats quickly clear ahead, Winder, Biggs and Crook in that order. Whitworth had suffered on a downwind leg as he held a windward 'lane'. By the finish, with the wind lightening, Winder had a short lead on Biggs and Whitworth had crept up to third place again ahead of Crook. Veteran Guy Winder, with Ellie Davies, finished fifth well clear of the boats behind. At this stage, the win could go either to Winder or Biggs but Whitworth could not be ignored. The usual Felucca dinner provided the right atmosphere for a good social evening and preparation for the day ahead.

With a modest westerly windstream two races were again scheduled back-to-back. The pressure was on and a general recall resulted. This was a race that Whitworth should have won as he held the lead against the challenge of Winder. At the line however, Winder managed to sneak in by the narrowest of margins, with Crook again sailing steadily for third place and Biggs in fourth. The Race Officer decided to fly the Black Flag for the fifth and final race. This time it was Crook who sailed off the line to quickly gain a large lead by being able to cross the fleet on port. Parry looked nicely placed in second, Whitworth and Winder following as local knowledge gave an advantage of the wind streams. Biggs was lying fifth at the end of the first lap battling with Winder. However, Whitworth now found the magic line to take him up to second and Winder escaped from the battle with Biggs, who then lost out badly on the following downwind leg. Although Whitworth made some impact on Crook's lead, it was insufficient and Winder's third place was enough to take the Trophy by one point from Biggs, who discarded his 7th place in this final race. Crook's win gave him third overall on countback.

David Winder smiled happily backing up afterwards!

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1The Clone Wars3735David WinderPippa Tayler(OCS)21137
2Po'kin' The Turtle3743Matt BiggsJohn Hackett1124‑78
3Wora3678Steve CrookSally Townend2‑443110
4Faithless3703Richard WhitworthAlex Warren(OCS)332210
5Carbon Foot Print3716Steve LeneyGill Leney37‑87522
6Daddys Boat3679Nick HeginbothamBecky Simmonds55‑66622
7Out Of The Blue 23557Guy WinderEllie Davis6658‑925
8Zeno3659Julian ParryBecca Jones(OCS)1175427
9Free Bird3596Martin WattsRene Watts78‑11101035
10Bronte3663Chris HaworthJonathan Bullen8‑10109835
11Tantrums & Tiaras3623Tom DanielJane Clayton9‑129111140
12Filthy Gorgeous3670Gerald WhiteheadOliver Whitehead10‑1312121246
13Fifty Shades3723Nick BrookNicola Brook49(DNC)DNCDNC47
14Struck Luck3552Alan RobinsonTracy Heginbotham12‑1413141352
15Tickle Pink3755Peter JacksonMike Wilson11‑1515151455
16Holy Grail3574John DonoghueRichard O'sullivan13161413(DNS)56

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