Please select your home edition
CoastWaterSports 2014

Merlin Rockets Midland Circuit meeting at Midland Sailing Club

by Ian Smith 31 Oct 2013 10:38 GMT 26 October 2013

On Saturday 26 October, Midland Sailing Club hosted the final event of the Merlin Rocket Midland Circuit, with the points counting towards the Craftinsure Silver Tiller series overall.

10 visitors, from as far afield as Brightlingsea, Parkstone and Hollingworth Lake, joined 6 home boats, on a blustery and overcast morning. Windfinder forecasting S to SW breeze of 11 knots gusting to 23 and likely to build throughout the day. The race team set a course with 3 beats, 1 run and 3 reaches in anticipation of some exciting racing.

Race 1 started with boats bunching at the pin end, the fast crews breaking clear up the first beat. Richard Whitworth and Fran Gifford leading around the windward mark, closely followed by Jon Gorringe and Nicky Bass and Ben Hollis and Caroline Croft. A tactical run on the next leg saw Richard and Jon sailing high, while Ben stayed low and picked up a strip of stronger breeze which carried him underneath and through the leaders and first into the bottom mark.

Ben and Caroline maintained their lead for a considerable portion of the race, leaving Richard and Jon battling for 2nd and 3rd and Dan Willett and Pete Nicholson nipping at their transoms. However the shifty conditions allowed Richard and Fran to gradually reel in the leaders, to take the win by a mere 5 seconds.

After a light lunch, not wanting to spoil appetites for the 'annual end of season dinner' planned for the evening, races 2 and 3 were sailed back to back. With the wind varying considerably in strength, but, unusually for Midland, remaining fairly constant in direction, the course remained the same, with only a minor tweak here and there.

Again, a port end bias saw an even bigger bunch at the pin end. With some quality sailing on display, at the front of the fleet. Ben and Caroline lead around the top mark, followed by Richard and Fran, Jon and Nicky and Dan and Pete, much place changing followed and even the odd capsize, with Ben eventually breaking clear and maintaining his composure to take the win by a fair margin.

Meanwhile, Chris Martin and Joe Tosh from Blithfield, entered the fray for the minor places. The finishing order being, Dan and Pete 2nd, Richard and Fran 3rd and Chris and Joe 4th.

With a win each for Ben and Richard, race 3 was to be the decider. The line was squared up a little, but still the contenders bunched at the pin end. At the gun, Richard was OCS, but was able to round the end quickly and clear the start.

By the windward mark, he and Fran had carved their way back to 3rd. The 3 leaders proceeded to break well clear of the chasing bunch early on. Once again Chris and Joe battled their way back into contention for the chocolates, until a swim forced their retirement.

The penultimate rounding of the last gybe mark on the course, was a very close run affair, with Ben trying to luff Richard in an attempt to keep clear air, allowing John to sail lower and take the lead. Richard was able to roll Ben to windward and Ben sensing that maybe he needed help from John in order to win the event, was to be disappointed when on the tight, 3 sail reach into the leeward mark, Jon and Nicky were flattened by a sizeable gust and chose to retire from the race.

On the last lap, Richard was able to gradually edge away from Ben, to take a second win. Ben and Caroline in 2nd, Dan and Pete in 3rd and creditable 4th place, for locals, Rob Kennaugh and Chris Gould, in their wooden Gnome design.

All in all, some great racing, before the sailors readied themselves for the Annual Dinner.

Overall Results:

13703Richard WhitworthFran GiffordParkstone/Hollingworth1312
23688Ben HollisCaroline CroftHampton2123
33746Dan WillettsPete NicholsonBrightlingsea3235
43744Chris MartinJoe ToshBlithfield54DNF9
53754Jon GorringeNicola BassParkstone45DNF9
63402Rob KennaughAbi SpurrMidland66410
73583Colin AndersonSean AndersonRedditch87512
83627Alex JamesJack DeungCookham Reach78613
93567Martin SmithKaren BeestonBlithfield1310717
103530Mike CollesMegan WardMidland11DNF819
113680Steve WatsonDan BarrettMidlandDNF9DNC26
123626Andy HayNix Middleton‑StewartRYA9DNFDNC26
133442Mark StockbridgeLynsey WilsonRanelagh1511DNC26
143674Mike AnslowJan KimberMidland10DNFDNF27
153582Malcolm HyamsYasmin GhaniMidland12DNCDNC29
163497Jan HollandAlex HomerMidland14DNFDNC31

These results contributed to the Midland Circuit 2013 and Silver Tiller 2013 series results.

Related Articles

Merlin Rockets at Whitstable
23 boats enjoy sunshine for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 1 The weekend of the 5th and 6th June saw 23 Merlin Rockets descend on Whitstable Yacht Club for a glorious weekend in the sunshine for the first Craftinsure Silver Tiller of 2021. Posted on 8 Jun
Merlin Rockets at Medley
First Race to the Trout Inn The Merlin Rocket De May Vintage & Thames Series made its first visit to the picturesque Medley Sailing Club, perched on the banks of the River Thames above Oxford. Posted on 18 May
Merlins at Parkstone
A fresh to frightening south-westerly forecast Parkstone Yacht Club welcomed the Merlin Rocket Class for an open meeting on Sunday 16th May 2021. The forecast was a fresh to frightening south-westerly with frequent rain showers to wash the salt out of our eyes. Posted on 18 May
Bartley Merlin Rocket Open
First event in the Midland Circuit 2021 A heavy wind was forecast for the Bartley SC Open meeting on Sunday 9th May, the first event in the Midland Circuit 2021. The duty officer Steve Ward and Fleet Captain Mark Reddington stood strong and ran back-to-back races before and after lunch. Posted on 13 May
Getting set for Poole Week 2021
Having had to take a year out, Poole Week is back this August! Sponsored by Bournemouth Digital, Poole Week is one of the country's most popular sailing weeks for dinghies and small keelboats, offering friendly yet competitive racing, great social events and much more. Posted on 6 May
Merlins at Ranelagh
The first event in the 2021 Thames Series Far outweighing the joy of the long awaited ending of lockdown, and the re-opening of pubs was the thrill and anticipation of the first Ranelagh Sailing Club Merlin Rocket open meeting of the year. Posted on 30 Apr
Merlins renew sponsorship deal with Craftinsure
Long-standing support as Silver Tiller series title sponsor The Merlin Rocket Owners' Association is delighted to announce the continued support from Cratinsure, as it prepares for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller 2021. Posted on 25 Apr
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Open
A very healthy fleet of 32 teams on an insanely beautiful spring day Salcombe Yacht Club, despite the privations of the recent past, has been lucky to host the Merlin Fleet as one of the last official events of 2020 and for SYC, the first permitted in 2021. Posted on 20 Apr
Vintage Merlin Rockets at Fishers Green
13 boats of 7 different designs take part After some deliberation whether to hold the De May vintage Merlin open, the decision was to go for it, offering the use of an outside toilet (no clubhouse access permitted) plus a very pretty venue. Posted on 13 Apr
The Missing Foils?
Development continues on 1967 Chippendale Merlin Rocket I've been thinking about fitting foils to my 1967 Chippendale Merlin Rocket for some time since the class changed the rules in a bold initiative last year called "Levelling Up - Let the Development Continue!". Posted on 1 Apr