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Merlin Rockets at Carnac 2014

by Tim Fells 29 May 2014 11:38 BST 24-27 May 2014

Offering heartfelt thanks to Tom Jeffcoate for his inspirational idea and organizational zeal, a dedicated team of Merlin sailors took the road trip to Carnac for a long weekend of soleil, le vent, les amis, la cuisine et du vin.

While back in Blighty the late May bank holiday was a bit of a wash out, Carnac delivered perfect sailing conditions. In fact we might say "champagne sailing"! Saturday was well nigh perfect with clear skies, a fresh breeze and nice waves. Sunday was lighter and then both Monday and Tuesday were max power, flat water racing. The club were hugely welcoming, delighting in the presence of so many enthusiastic dinghy sailors and asking that we return before too long.

Out on the race track there was much interest in the performance of the new Winder creation, 3764 'Fancy Liquor', that Tim Fells and Chris Downham were launching for her first sail. Initial performance looked very promising as they led the handicap race all the way to finish line where Nick Craig and Alan Roberts just got their nose across first in a photo finish.

The following day was more telling when in a shifty 5-8 knots, Tim and Chris posted two bullets. Behind them consistency was hard to find. Dave Hayes and Jonny Ratcliffe fought hard for a 3,2, Judith Massey and Graham Williamson were going very nicely for a 4,3 and Fran Gifford with Ben Harridge delighted the crowds by leading race one to half distance (including taking the whole fleet to the wrong gybe mark) before claiming second. Nick and Alan had an uncharacteristically sketchy day for a 7,4.

Monday saw Nick and Alan bounce back. In a full hiking breeze they got the upper hand in race three and kept Tim and Chris at bay to take the win. Their momentum was short lived though as Tim and Chris controlled race four from start to finish. In a blanket finish the next four boats finished overlapped with Tom Stewart and Phil Dalby just getting ahead of Nick and Alan.

Going into the final day, Tim and Chris only needed a top four position from one of the two races to take the title. Nick and Alan took the early lead with Tim and Chris pulling into second. Locked in their private battle they pulled well clear of the chasing pack, crossing in that order to give the title to Tim and Chris with a race to spare.

The final race saw Tom and Phil take the bullet to pull them up to third overall behind Nick and Alan. Dan Willet and Pete Nicholson enjoyed their best race of the weekend to come home second ahead of Dave and Jonny who just failed to take a podium spot.

No report of this event would be complete without mention of the extraordinary (one might say eccentric) performance of Francois Podevyn who had brought his 1964 Chippendale Proctor mark XVI down from Belgium. Sailing single handed, dressed in the sailing gear of the time (flat cap, cotton trousers and plimsoles), out in all conditions, flying his spinnaker and showing great seamanship skills, Francois was the undoubted star of the weekend!

More photos from Carnac 2014 can be found on the website here.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
9 3643HARRIDGE Tim RALPH Andrea HAMPTON685910836
10 3741LYTTON Simon LYTTON Jackie HAYLING ISLAND SC1010975738.5
11 3653CHAPMAN Andy CHAPMAN Melissa NETLEY87111013945
12 3448THOMPSON Sam THOMPSON Clare RNSA11121413121260
14 3697PAGE Richard JACKSON Alex HAMPTON SC13131214141062
15 3544DOWNS David DOWNS Ros TATA STEEL1515151515OCS75
16 2988ANDREW Rod ANDREW BECKER Johanna SNEH16DPIr1616171378

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