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Selden Merlin Rocket National Championship at Penzance - Day 3

by Tim Fells 16 Aug 2016 19:44 BST 14-19 August 2016

Day 3 at the Selden Merlin Rocket Championships dawned bright and sunny again with a forecast that had the heavier teams salivating at the prospect of some hard core sea sailing. However, what was delivered was perplexing and head scratching.

A strange thermal affect over the town of Penzance meant that while there was a healthy force four up at the windward mark the further down the course you went, the less breeze there was. This zone of no wind pushed up and down the course over the two races sailed.

In the re-sail of race one, the fleet kept tromboning, the leaders extending as they climbed up into pressure then being clawed back as they sailed into less breeze at the leeward mark. The left seemed to have more consistent pressure but the breeze was in fingers down the course, which you could climb up like a ladder of fall out of into a snake.

At the top of the final beat of the three lap race, Jon Turner and Richard Parslow had navigated the ladders successfully to take the lead and were headed for the first championship win for their Genii design. However, Stu Bithell and Tom Pygall deployed their party trick of getting high and surfing down over the top to take the lead at the gybe heading for the downwind finish.

As the leaders reached the final 200 metres to the line, the wind shut down leading to a painful drift to the line. Stu and Tom held on to take their second bullet by a couple of boat lengths from JT and Richard, followed by Ben and Roz McGrane. Roger Gilbert and James Stewart took fourth, Nick Craig and Alan Robert fifth and Simon Potts and Ali Martin sixth.

After an hour of drifting around the PRO set a new course a bit further out to sea and fired off the start sequence in what looked like a pretty ambitious attempt to get in a second race. However, as if on cue the breeze arrived and the fleet got away cleanly in what was the best conditions of the week so far.

First to the top mark were Dave Hayes and Jonny Radcliffe with the pack tight on their heels. This time the breeze held and the fleet enjoyed great sailing. Dave and Jonny kept their lead until the final beat where they got a bit too right of the chasing pack. Mike Simms and Richard Brown clawed through to take a narrow lead and were able to hold it down the final two reaches to the leeward finish and take their first ever Merlin championship race win.

Roger Gilbert and James Stewart kept their title hope alive with another second place with Taxi and Alex Warren hitting hard left on the last beat to climb up to third. For the first time this week, Stu and Tom were not able to convert a position in the top bunch into a race win and came home fourth ahead of Tim Fells and Oli Wills enjoying their best race to date. Dave and Jonny, having suffered a pole launcher failure at the last gybe mark, came home sixth.

The wind then dropped out again leaving the fleet to struggle with a long drift back home. Stu and Tom have the lead at the half way point but Roger and James are keeping them honest.

Results after Day 3:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR2R1R3Pts
1stGold3775Stuart BithellTom PygallHollingworth1146
2ndGold3722Roger GilbertJames StewartFrensham Pond2428
3rdGold3739Ben McGraneRoz McGraneNetley33814
4thGold3776Nick CraigAlan RobertsFrensham Pond451120
5thGold3770David HayesJonny RatcliffeHayling Island87621
6thGold3774Jon TurnerRichard ParslowLyme721524
7thGold3753Michael SimsRichard BrownCarsington915125
8thGold3764Tim FellsOli WellsSalcombe138526
9thGold3645Steve HallSimon HaightonBurnham6121028
10thGold3777Simon PottsAlly MartinBurghfield1061228
11thGold3658Chris JenningsPete HornBurghfield5101429
12thGold3735Richard WhitworthPippa TaylorHollingworth219737
13thGold3656Olly TurnerGraham SextonStarcross1120940
14thGold3730Pete BallantineBen HollisSalcombe / Blithfield12191344
15thGold3754Jon GorringeToby LewisParkstone14141644
16thGold3673Caroline CroftBeka JonesBlithfield20132053
17thGold3733Dave WadeRachel RhodesNorthampton15162253
18thGold3759Sam BarkerMegan PascoeCastle Cove22171958
19thGold3778Chris GouldChris KilsbyBlithfield17261760
20thGold3746Dan WillettPete NicholsonBrightlingsea16291863
21stGold3691Mike CalvertSean AndersonAxe YC19182865
22ndGold3684Andy DavisAlex WarrenBlithfieldOCS11366
23rdSilver3641Mark WaterhouseMatt CurrelParkstone27242374
24thSilver3727Mark StockbridgeNeil DaviesRanelagh18342476
25thSilver3690Tim HarridgeLucy BurnHampton25272779
26thSilver3685Sophie MackleyJames WarrenShoreham30302181
27thSilver3740Pat BlakeJilly BlakeCookham23223681
28thSilver3779David LeeTim LawsStarcross28362690
29thSilver3539Dan AlsopFrances GiffordLyme/ PSUK38233293
30thBronze3683Ben JonesHelen HilditchShoreham32323094
31stGold3756William WarrenChris DownhamShorehamDSQ212598
32ndSilver3769Graham Cranford‑SmithSteve PenfoldSalcombe244038102
33rdSilver3773Alan WarrenBill CarrollShoreham313934104
34thSilver3643Mark BarwellLouise JohnsonLymington Town363137104
35thSilver3744Chris MartinOliver MacleanMidland392541105
36thSilver3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield423533110
37thBronze3651Colin BrockbankMartin HughesWembley343739110
38thSilver3564Rob KennaughColin AndersonMidland2633RET111
39thBronze3772Phil EmeryDavid HawkinsWhitstable374529111
40thSilver3767Ben ArcherTheo HarrisParkstone414231114
41stSilver3566James WellsLiz WellsStarcross2938DNC119
42ndGold3707David HallMari ShepherdBlackwater4028RET120
43rdBronze3628Robin CharlesDan NewmanStarcross444635125
44thSilver3709Tom LonsdaleRhos HawesUpper Thames3341RET126
45thBronze3518Julian HarmsTimothy HarmsMidland464342131
46thSilver3714Richard BurtonAlice MarkhamUpper Thames3547DNC134
47thBronze3704Jemma HughesCharlotte CotterThames454844137
48thBronze3713Steve HarlingEleanor ThomasStarcross4344DNC139
49thBronze3511Andrew MillsEllie MillsHampton475143141
50thBronze3734Phil AshworthAli AshworthWeymouthOCS5040142
51stBronze3352John DonoghueCharles VernalTBC484945142

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