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Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy

by Dick Sanders & Andy Rice 9 Feb 2016 16:06 GMT 6-7 February 2016

Robbie King and Marcus Tressler sailed their 420 to victory in the final windy event of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, the Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy. With the breeze gusting up to 32 knots in the final race, it was a performance to make the late John Merricks proud. The Olympic silver medallist of 1996 won the inaugural Tiger Trophy in a 420 at a similar age to 16-year-old King, and there was nothing that the irrepressible Johnny Merricks liked better than to battle his way round an impossibly windy race track - and winning.

The teenagers were pushed hard by the veteran Fireball duo Dave Hall and Paul Constable who won the first race, were 2nd in the next, and discarded their final race score of 8th. However King won on countback with impressively consistent scores of 2,1,(3). The final race went to another Fireball sailed by another strong veteran team of Kevin Hope and Russell Thorn.

This was the seventh and final event of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series which has been predominantly windy ever since the first event back in November, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash. It's a testament to all seven clubs that the events have managed to go ahead as scheduled this fierce winter. As for Rutland, the race team monitored wind strength throughout the week and things did not look good. 30 knot 'breezes' were anticipated and the prospect of cancellation looked a very real possibility (The Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy is never postponed).

By Friday morning, David Wilkins, the principal race officer sensed a small opportunity as the wind strength on site was less than the forecast. So the Tiger beer was collected from Everards Brewery in Leicester, the event sponsor since the regattas inception 22 years ago. The large race team were not stood down and the Rutland SC staff prepared to handle the 130 entries.

For the Saturday, it looked like the 18-22 knot winds would make racing possible until it gusted up to 30 knots and stayed there. This didn't stop some sailors staying out for a bit of fly-by for the VRSport TV crew, but it was deemed just too windy for racing.

In the evening, Rutland Sailing Club hosted a bangers 'n mash dinner to celebrate the memory of the club's most famous son, John Merricks. Meanwhile, the race officer had polled the sailors, the majority of whom voted for three handicap races on Sunday instead of the traditional single pursuit race.

Sunday dawned with a strong south-westerly breeze still blowing, but this time the average wind strength stayed at around 18-22 knots with occasional gusts to 25 in the first races. However the final race had a sting in its tail, with the gusts blasting up to 32 knots and causing havoc on the race course. In addition to Everards, the event was supported this year by a local representative of Herbalife who supplied all sailors with a bottle of CR7, 'designed to maintain performance during prolonged exercise', which was just what was needed.

In the teeth of such fierce conditions, there was a high level of attrition, with the traditionally strong-wind classes of the 420, Fireball and 505 coming to the fore. Tom Gillard and Andy Couch raced their Five-Oh to 5th place behind the 420 and Fireballs, with GP14 World Champions Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe the best of the non-trapeze boats in 6th place.

The pressure was on to complete the results in time for prizegiving and this process was considerably assisted by JMST Trustee and legendary coach Jim Saltonstall, standing in for John's dad Dennis who has been suffering from ill health. Jim presented his 'Mr Motivation' oration to the gathering of 'ferrets' of all ages, the youngest, Jack Berry, age 13 (Topper 58th) and the oldest Alan Johnson, age 68 (Enterprise 72nd).

With one of the closest finishes ever, the 420 crew of Robbie King and Marcus Tressler (combined age 33) just beat the Fireball of Dave Hall and Paul Constable (combined age 108), both on equal points but the 420 had a lower discard, Dave having a swim in the last race. Dave commented to young Robbie on the veritable 'who's who' of top sailors names on the Chinese terracotta Tiger Trophy with John's being the first.

Hall and Constable did come away with the Shere Khan Trophy for the highest finishing combined crew over 75. This pair have supported the regatta every year since it was dedicated to the JMST following John's death. The Lady Tiger Trophy went to Val Millward (25th Challenger RSC), the Junior Tiger Trophy was awarded to the 420 girl team of Niamh Harper and Rebecca Coles with a combined age of 30 (33rd 420, Loch Tummel Sailing Club).

Overall Results:

PosFleetClassSail NoHelmCrewClubPYR1R2R3Pts
1stSlow42055107King, RobbieTressler, MarcusWarsash sc107021‑33
2ndFastFireball15122Hall, DavidConstable, PaulBlackwater Sailing Club95312‑83
3rdFastFireball15050Hope, KevinThorn, RussellNottinghamshire County Sailing Club9533‑414
4thFastFireball14870Foskett, MattFoskett, SimonSHSC953‑5527
5thFast5059117Gillard, TomCouch, AndyHayling Island sailing club883‑9347
6thSlowGP1414186Dobson, IanTunnicliffe, AndyBurwain11307‑10512
7thSlow20002146Tylecote, SteveBarrett, NeilRutland Sailing Club1100‑88614
8thSlowLaser209835Higson, Edward Bartley Sailing Club1115106‑1116
9thSlowOK1Cumbley, Charlie Teign Corinthian YC111512‑25921
10thSlow200030Dring, AndyLaken, SimonRutland Sailing Club1100(DNC)15722
11thSlowBlaze789Saunders, Jon Felpham SC1070‑3971522
12thFastFireball15130Winder, DaveRayner, BenHollingworth953149(DNC)23
13thSlowLaser 4.7205782Holman, Arran Hollowell121011‑191223
14thFastMusto Skiff442Stenhouse, Richard RWYC8551512‑2027
15thSlow42054464Thompson, RossMcmahon, WilliamFrensham Pond Sailing Club107019‑201029
16thFastMerlin Rocket3658Jennings, ChrisHorn, PeteBurghfield Sailing Club970‑26161430
17thFastOsprey1347Meakins, PhilipMeakins, BenWarsash9421714(DNC)31
18thSlow20002321Barnham, FergusBarnham, FinlaySnettisham Beach Sailing Club1100626(DNC)32
19thFastMerlin Rocket3777Potts, SimonMartin, AllyBurghfield SC97016‑381632
20thSlow42054978Colquitt, AlexBridge, GeorgeWest Kirby Sailing Club1070(DNC)211334
21stSlowScorpion2026Mckee, AndyMassey, ChrisDovestone SC10272411(DNC)35
22ndSlowLaser206880Williamson, Craig HISC/University of Portsmouth1115‑20171835
23rdFast5059158Lewis, PaddyGuery, FinnDatchet Water Sailing Club8832118‑3239
24thSlowGP1413769Thompson, SamWright, TomRNSA113028‑361947
25thSlowChallenger257Millward, Val Rutland Sailing Club116033‑341750
26thSlowRS Aero 71208Thursfield, Matt Chelmarsh105927‑302350
27thSlowLaser Radial208659Wigmore, Daniel Grafham Water Sailing Club11452527(DNF)52
28thSlowChallenger270Hall, Graham Rutland Sailing Club1160‑34312253
29thSlowRS Aero 71298Watsham, Richard Starcross Yacht Club105929‑402453
30thSlowRS200968Escritt, KeithClough, AndreaYorkshire Dales Sailing Club10593028(DNC)58
31stSlowGP1413721Devereux, NickEdwards, GeoffBudworth Sailing Club1130(DNC)223961
32ndFastRS4001202Knight, SamKnight, JohnBartley Sailing Club956‑44322961
33rdSlow42054481Harper, NiamhColes, RebeccaLoch Tummel Sailing Club10702339(DNC)62
34thFastRS400904Blake, GrantBarkr, JessicaOxford sailing Club95635‑593065
35thSlowFlying 153631Wright, ChrisHooper, NickiRutland Sailing Club102045‑462166
36thSlowLaser Radial207986Craig, Eleanor Staunton Harold Sailing Club114541‑502566
37thFastRS8001166Singleton, RalphSingleton, SophieDatchet Water s c8005513(DNC)68
38thFastMusto Skiff538Molesworth, Paul Datchet Water Sailing Club8554325(DNC)68
39thSlowChallenger281Alderdice, Jack Lakeside Sailing Club1160‑56422668
40thFastMusto Skiff487Schooling, Ben Datchet Water Sailing Club8554723(DNC)70
41stSlowLaser204975Griffiths, Haydn Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club1115‑37353671
42ndSlowLaser Radial206876Blackburn, Olive Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club114546‑482773
43rdSlowGP1414090Gibson, NealPhillips, GeoffRedoubt Sailing Club1130‑59334073
44thSlowSupernova1092Horlock, Iain Exe Sailing Club10713637(DNC)73
45thSlowRS Aero 71689Snell, Andrew Army SA1059‑52492877
46thSlowLaser RadialXWhite, Tom Olton Mere1115‑61473178
47thSlowLaser209834Keighley, Tim West Riding Sailing Club1115‑48453378
48thFastMerlin Rocket3753Sims, MichaelBrown, RichardCarsington SC9703841(DNC)79
49thSlowD‑Zero195Lennox, Rob Barnt Green SC103140‑534383
50thSlowGP1413785Robinson, NickyRobinson, JohnStaunton Harold Sailing Club113049‑513786
51stSlowLaser Radial203310Haji‑Michael, Anya Redesmere Sailing Club11454244(DNC)86
52ndSlowD‑Zero181Stewart, Gordon NHEBSC1031‑66573491
53rdSlowD‑Zero178Southwell, Thomas Hill Head Sailing Club1031‑57543892
54thSlow200021226Moore, IanTba, TbaStaunton Harold1100‑65583593
55thSlowD‑Zero191Austin, Nigel Cransley Sailing Club1031‑64554196
56thSlowEnterprise22901Young, PaulColeman, EmmaMidland Sailing Club1142‑635644100
57thFastNational 18401Houseman, OliverVines, Jeremy & Vasey, MikeTamesis Club9005843(DNC)101
58thSlowTopper 4.247222Berry, Jack Jack Berry1353‑696042102
59thSlowFlying 154031Pollard, PeteParkin, ClaireRutland Sailing Club10205352(DNC)105
60thSlowLaser Radial210098Russell, William Paxton Lakes Sailing Club11456862(DNC)130
61stSlowD‑Zero177Hill, Alistair Grafham Water Sailing Club10317061(DNC)131
62ndFast5059088Smith, AndyNeedham, TimNotts County8834(DNC)DNC135
63rdFast5059136Mears, StewartTucker, RichardRCYC88313(OCS)DNC144
64thSlowFlying 153886Bonar, BruceAshworth, DavidRutland Sailing Club102018(DNF)DNC149
65thSlow42053983Hughes, AlexanderSmith, TomSutton SC107022(DNC)DNC153
66thSlow4205405Terkelsen, LaineyTerkelsen, LucyStone Sailing Club1070(DNC)29DNC160
67thFast5059156Pickering, MikePriddle, MikeRestronguet SC88331(DNC)DNC162
68thFastB14795Barnes, MarkJones, CharlotteWhitstbale Yacht Club85532(DNC)DNC163
69thSlowLaser182565Hopkins, Jack Delph Sailing Club111551(DNC)DNC182
69thSlowD‑Zero156Morgan, Ian Hill Head103151(DNC)DNC182
71stSlowLaser Vago SH1814Baxter, DaveMellor, KateYorkshire Dales Sailing Club106454(DNC)DNC185
72ndSlowEnterprise19876Johnson, AlanTickle, KayeSCWC114260(DNC)DNC191
73rdFast29er900Banham, RossKing, AlexDatchet Water Sailing Club90062(DNC)DNC193
74thFast29er1249May‑Papailiou, KimMitchell, TomSurrey Sailing Club90067(DNS)DNC198
75thSlowD‑Zero193Moll, Kevin Hunts Sailing Club1031(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastD‑One21Jones, Vanessa Grafham Water Sailing Club971(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastMerlin Rocket3709Lonsdale, TomEwart, Alexupper Thames970(DNF)DNCDNC262
75thSlowEnterprise23306Lunn, MarkBlackburn, SteveLeigh & Lowton Sailing Club1142(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser Radial200043Luxton, Matthew Staunton Harold Sailing Club1145(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastContender2410Noble, Nick Portishead Yacht & Sailing Club (PYSC)976(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowSupernova1123Pebody, Jon Hunts Sailing Club1071(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastInt Moth4121Phare, James QMSC500(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser Radial1Pratt, Richard Rutland Sailing Club1145(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowNational 123505Procter, TomHutchison, HenryHunts Sailing Club1080(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastRS400866Reynolds, PaulReynolds, CathyNottinghamshire County Sailing Club956(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowRS Aero 71141Rickels, Jonathan Grafham Water SC1059(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlow200022511Roach, NataliePickles, AlexRoyal Navy Sailing Association1100(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser Radial141040Russell, Gareth Paxton Lakes Sailing Club1145(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowFinn4Ward, Russell Hayling ISland S C1042(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFast5059159Weston, MarkHawkes, SimonWest Riding Sailing Club883(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlow200021107Sayed, JasminIronside, JoeNewhaven and Seaford Sailing Club1100(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastB14681Willis, LiamWillis, JulieLymington Town Sailing Club855(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowD‑Zero175Woods, Dave Rossendale Valley SC1031(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlow20002977Westwood, DamonBarrett, MartynRutland Sailing Club1100(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowRS100 8.4205Wicks, Jim Locks Sailing Club1000(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser207000Wigmore, Simon Grafham Water Sailing Club1115(DNF)DNCDNC262
75thFastB14788Wilce, JoshHall, WillRutland Sailing Club855(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowK156Willis, Keith Lymington Town Sailing Club1065(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowRS Aero 91218Abbott, Christopher Nottingham Sailing Club1031(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser Vago DH1217Allum, PeterBamber, RachaelBanbury Sailing Club1064(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser115549Bakin, Andy Nottingham SC1115(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowBlaze811Barlow, Pete Burghfield Sailing Club1027(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastNational 18347Barry, EwenBrowne, Stan & Barrett, DionRLymYC900(DNF)DNCDNC262
75thSlowSolo5509Bell, Richard Netley SC1146(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastContender705Belson, Andrew Rutland Sailing Club976(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastNational 18406Berney, JessicaDavidson, Gregor & Hinds, AlyBlackwater Sailing Club900(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowStreaker1519Beyts, Angus Newburgh1146(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowBlaze799Botting, Richard Draycote Water Sailing Club1027(DNF)DNCDNC262
75thSlowGP1414095Burge, MattChildsPoole Yacht Club1130(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowSolo5158C, S Grafham Water Sailing Club1146(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowD‑Zero190Campbell, Robert Cransley1031(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastVortex2014Carter, Jonathan Rickmansworth Sailing Club920(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlow42054536Collyer, TomChadwick, AaronAldenham SC1070(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowD‑Zero179Corney, Mike QMSC1031(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowD‑Zero Blue108Cox, Graham Hunts Sailing Club1059(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastB14761Craig, NickPygall, TomFrensham Burghfield855(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowGP1414174Creaser, LawrenceHunter, AndyNorthampton SC1130(DNF)DNCDNC262
75thSlow20002473Cripps, TimClay, AmyNotts County S.C1100(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastRS4001453Halman, StuartWalsh, AnnaLeigh and lowton sc956(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastMusto Skiff396Harris, Stuart Banbury Sailing Club855(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowRS Aero 71076Hewitt, Martin Nottingham Sailing Club1059(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser200890Higson, Jeremy Bartley Sailing Club1115(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFast5059039Gledhill, HamishThear, AdrianWest Riding Sailing Club883(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowScorpion2022Gray, PeteForbes, SimonHayling Island SC1027(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser Radial202529Grimshaw, Rebecca Staunton Harold Sailing Club1145(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFast29er2119Escritt, IanMellor, KateYorkshire Dales Sailing Club900(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser Radial122676Everitt, Andrew North Herts and East Beds Sailing Club1145(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowRS Feva XL5005Flint, JessLucy, AliceRutland Sailing Club1233(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thSlowLaser188578Fowles, Steven Queen Mary Sailing Club1115(DNC)DNCDNC262
75thFastRS4001428Gardner, JamesGardner, AnneHISC956(DNC)DNCDNC262

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