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Marblehead Mermaid Open at Datchet Water

by Roger Stollery 3 Nov 2015 15:26 GMT 1 November 2015
Marblehead Mermaid Open at Datchet © Roger Stollery

A record 27 boats entered, but only 22 raced for the Mermaid Open Marblehead event run by Guildford Model Yacht Club, which was sailed at Datchet. The other opens for 505 and B14s at Datchet were abandoned and Mermaid nearly didn't go ahead because of thick fog. After 2 postponements the fog cleared enough to see a short distance into the lake from the northern car park. Alf Reynolds and Peter Stollery went for a sail to test the wind and there was just enough to keep them moving, so the GMYC race team set a short course parallel and close to the bank in the hope of having some form of racing in a wind that hadn't made up Its mind and was very light.

PRO, Roger Stollery decided to run the whole fleet of 22, without splitting it into heats as there was a sufficiently wide start line and this worked well and the 3 races ran back-to-back to form the morning's racing.

In Race 1 the northerly wind was a good direction relating to the course set, but progress was slow and the quicker boats were lapping the slower boats on the second lap. Graham Bantock made a good start and had a big lead to win from John Smith from Manor Park, both were sailing QUARKs. Race 2, now a single lap, went to Peter Stollery and his UPROAR 'Inside Edge', with Graham second and Terry Rensch third.

There was now a 180 degrees change wind direction, beating towards the South. Rob Vice sailing his CRAZY TUBE FREE 'Eccentricity' won Race 3 from John, with Peter third. Graham was top of the lunchtime leaderboard with 7 points from Peter 10 and Rob 13.

After a short break 3 more races were sailed, but in increasingly difficult conditions because the fog was becoming thicker and it was difficult to see boats at the outer end of the start line. The results of all 3 races were the same with Peter sailing faultlessly to win, Graham 2nd and Rob 3rd, with the exception of John Smith getting 2nd place in Race 6. As the fog was closing in, all competitors agreed to stop racing before the end of the designated sailing time.

After winning one of the races Peter was asked how he did it and said that "today the left thumb is just as important as the right thumb". This was reference to watching the wind indicator in making sure that the sails were at the right angle to the wind; 'if in doubt let them out' comes to mind.

At the prizegiving, Peter thanked Roger and the Guildford race team for running the event in difficult circumstances and promised to come back and run the event next year. The Vic Cooney Trophy for the first over-sixty competitor went to Graham Bantock and the Ted Gearey Trophy for best improver from the first 3 race place positions went to Phil Holliday, who finished the event 7th.

Overall Results:

1st Peter Stollery (Guildford) UPROAR, 7pts - Winner of the Mermaid
2nd Graham Bantock (Chelmsford) QUARK, 11pts - Winner of Vic Cooney Trophy
3rd Rob Vice (Clapham) CRAZY TUBE FREE, 13pts
4th John Smith (Manor Park) QUARK, 15 5th Terry Rensch (Datchet) QUARK, 26pts
6th Roy Stevens (Tri-Services) QUARK, 26pts
7th Phil Holliday (Watermead) QUARK, 40pts - Winner of Ted Gearey Prize, best improver
8th Alan Viney (Guildford) PRIME NUMBER, 43pts
9th John Bennett (Eastleigh) PARADOX, 46pts
10th John Shorrock (Datchet) QUARK, 49pts
11th Richard Uttley (Emsworth) STARKERS, 51pts
12th Peter Crisp (Chipstead) STARKERS, 54pts
13th Colin Walton (Manor Park) STARKERS, 58pts
14th Brian Quinn (Rotherham) STARKERS, 60pts
15th Alf Reynolds (Chelmsford) PARADOX, 62pts
16th Les Thorn (Hawley Lake) PARADOX, 68pts
17th Dick Grainge (3 Rivers) STARKERS, 75pts
18th Alan Veal (Eastleigh) ROAR EDGE, 83pts
19th Keith Parrott (Frensham Pond) UPROAR, 92pts
20th John Townsend (Guildford) ROK, 93pts
21st Steve Williams (3 Rivers) PARADOX, 93pts
22nd Austin Guerrier (3 Rivers) PRIME NUMBER, 126pts

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