Please select your home edition
Edition
Musto 2017 728x90 Surefooted

Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Piers Lambert 20 May 2014 18:45 BST 17-18 May 2014

Part of the Silver Tiller series sponsored by Craftinsure

The fleet of 5 local boats and 8 travellers were pleased to be greeted with clear blue skies, sunshine and the promise of a light breeze at Brightlingsea after the last few breezy opens and an eye popping Inlands last week!

The first race got underway behind the OK and Fireball fleets, with a beat against the tide in a gentle 5 knots with a few tricky shifts. Many locals headed right and those going closer to the tide left included Andy 'Taxi' Davis and Alex Warren who tacked behind most of the fleet to go furthest were rewarded with better pressure and a lift. There was a close rounding with Taxi and Alex, Ben Hollis and Caroline Croft, Matt Biggs and John Hackett and Alex Jackson and local super-crew Sarah Bines all in the mix.

Taxi and Alex pulled away for a bullet with Ben and Caroline in second and Alex and Sarah in third.

The sea breeze fought to strengthen but a few light clouds formed and the fickle light breeze stayed for the next race. As the tide had now just changed both the preceding Fireballs and Merlins were a little too eager and had recalls and the race officer Phil Rust raised the black flag.

The fleet got away second time, this time with Ian Sharps and Alley Martin getting away for a win, with Taxi and Alex, Alex and Sarah and Ben and Caroline next.

So overnight Taxi and Alex led from Ian and Alley, with Ben and Caroline in third. The fleet headed to the bar, then cottage pie at the club, or off for a curry, to find the OK fleet had filled the nearest restaurant so a short stroll to another was needed to sate the hunger (apparently our curry was much tastier!)

Sunday there was not a cloud to be seen, and also very little water as the fleet launched from the oyster bank. We were happy to be joined with 3 more visitors coming for the Silver Tiller (points for the series were taken from Sunday races only).

A long beat against the light breeze and current to get to the start and enough water for the PRO to get a good course still meant a prompt start on time though!

Again shifty conditions made for tactical beating and at the first mark the tide caught out many. With Matt Biggs and John Hackett judging it best, while Taxi and Alex hit the mark trying to tack under them and had to spin! They were closely chased by Piers Lambert and Tim Bees, Alex and Sarah and Dan Willett and Pete Nicholson.

Up the next beat Matt and John found a few snakes while Taxi and Alex and Piers and Tim found a ladder, with Dan and Pete in close attendance. Alex and Sarah overtook Piers on the reach, and Dan snuck past on the last run, but Alex and Sarah were unfortunately OCS. Thus another bullet for Taxi and Alex, second for Dan and Pete and third for Piers and Tim.

The fourth race the breeze freshened and the tide started ripping, and the start line was adjusted by a Fireball who hooked the pin with his rudder and dragged it giving a starboard bias! Ian and Alley, Taxi and Alex took off from the pin, rolling Piers and Tim who couldn't make the pin and had to gybe out!

The fleet hooked into increasing pressure on the left and giving the windward mark more respect the fleet started enjoying tight kite reaches and tactical downwind gybing with the result of Taxi and Alex, with Ian and Alley and Alex and Sarah in hot pursuit.

For the final race the sea breeze was working properly with a fun 10 knots, and the PRO moved the race course into the extra water provided by the flooding tide to get away from the main stream and a less vicious windward mark tide.

Close at the top mark were Taxi and Alex, Alex and Sarah, Fergus Barnham and Graham Sexton, and Ian and Alley. The kite reach and breeze had strengthened with the flooding tide to make a very tight first reach and some having to drop kites to make the wing mark. Up the next beat Alex and Sarah found the turbo button and passed Taxi and Alex to have a healthy lead that was briefly threatened by an altercation (they tried calling starboard) with a very large yacht that had the 'Might is Right' mentality. This caused them to go head to wind to miss it. Fortunately they held on to the finish with Taxi and Alex second, Ian and Alley third and Fergus and Graham fourth.

The PRO Phil Rust did a great job with good courses and fast turnarounds and the fleet all wanted to thank him for the weekend.

So Taxi and Alex were victorious in both the overall Open Meeting and the (Sunday points only) Silver Tiller!

Overall Results for 2 day open meeting:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st3684Andy DavisAlex Warren1‑21125
2nd3707Alex JacksonSarah Bines33(OCS)3110
3rd3712Ian SharpsAlley Martin‑5152311
4th3688Ben HollisCaroline Croft24‑84616
5th3743Matt BiggsJohn Hackett454‑7518
6th3746Dan WilletPete Nicholson‑121025724
7th3758Fergus BarnhamGraham Sexton7‑1296426
8th3671Piers LambertTim Bees‑106310827
9th3641Mark WaterhouseNix Middleton‑Stewart976‑111032
10th3620Andy BinesRebecca Bines6117‑121135
11th3686Ed GibbonsMaddy Anderson119108(DNC)38
12th3750David ConlonFinbar Anderson8811‑131340
13th3702D Salmon (DNC)DNC149949
14th3634Ben ArcherPhilippa Daniels131313‑15RDG50
15th370Alan MarkhamAlice Markham(DNC)DNC12141255
16th3682Jon StewardHarry Steward(DNC)DNC15DNCDNC66

Related Articles

Merlin Rockets at Shoreham
A gentle breeze and egg throwing at Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 5 On Saturday 24th July, 24 Merlin Rockets went to Shoreham Sailing Club to enjoy some fabulous sea sailing for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller, where the locals promised us big waves and a good breeze, and some valuable Nationals practice. Posted on 27 Jul
Merlin Rockets at Mumbles
A new venue for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 4 On the (very sunny) weekend of 17th - 18th July, a small but very dedicated group of Merlin Rocket teams headed down to Mumbles Yacht Club on the beautiful Gower Peninsular in South Wales for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller. Posted on 21 Jul
Merlin Rocket Downriver Race at Ranelagh
Carnival atmosphere on the Putney embankment The format of this race, which is one of the highlights of the Merlin Thames Series, is a race from Putney on the ebbing tide down to Battersea with one turning mark and then back to Putney on the flood. Posted on 18 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week overall
Winner not decided until the end of the final race With the title still not decided, competitors were welcomed by more breeze than had been forecast, again from the South-West giving very enjoyable sailing conditions. Posted on 9 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 5
The maths is such that Birrell & Potts could still win from Gillard & Holman Wednesday evening saw a lovely celebration of Spud Rowsell's life with humorous recollections from Alan Warren, Barry Dunning, Jon Turner, Keith Callaghan, Pat Blake and Scotty. A life well lived. Posted on 8 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 4
Conditions for Wednesday were close to perfect Following the excitement of Tuesday's racing, conditions for Wednesday were close to perfect. A force 3-4 South-westerly was blowing up the harbour with enough shifts and gusts to make for interesting racing. Posted on 7 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 3
A breeze day in Salcombe Harbour! All eyes had been on the forecast for Tuesday since the start of the week and it did not disappoint. The storm had passed through overnight and by the morning the sun was out and the wind was ripping down through the harbour with some vicious gusts. Posted on 6 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 2
A morning of sunshine though precious little wind In contrast to the first morning rain, competitors at Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week were greeted by a morning of sunshine though precious little wind. Posted on 5 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 1
The ritual of crossing the estuary to Mill Bay returns Two years have passed since the fleet last descended on Salcombe for the Salcombe Gin sponsored Merlin Week, so it was with much excitement that the morning fleet set about the ritual of crossing the estuary to Mill Bay to prepare for the morning race. Posted on 4 Jul
Merlin Rockets at Starcross
22 boats turn out for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 3 The Merlin Rocket sailors arrived at Starcross to a friendly welcome and light SE winds carrying the delectable smell of bacon butties throughout the dinghy park for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller on 19th and 20th June. Posted on 23 Jun