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Marblehead Mermaid Trophy at Guildford Model Yacht Club

by Roger Stollery 15 Nov 2017 17:52 GMT 12 November 2017
Phil Holliday leads the fleet during the Marblehead Mermaid Trophy at Guildford © Roger Stollery

There was uproar at Guildford Model Yacht Club's water at Abbey Meads for this annual open Marblehead event. No outlandish behaviour though, just two boats to that design, going fast!

13 races were sailed in a limit 'A' rig wind blowing from the north north-west, not blowing quite straight down the lake, but a little over the left shoulder. This gusty and variable wind direction set a challenge for the 12 competitors from six clubs to pick the right shifts to windward and to search for the best wind and shifts on the run of the windward/leeward course. There was plenty of fast planing on the run, which made for an exciting spectacle, which everyone enjoyed along with the sunny, but cold conditions.

After the group photo, the fleet was well spread out in Race 1, as competitors tried to get the hang of the wind conditions. Peter Stollery and Rob Vice, sailing different configurations of their UPROARs immediately made their mark with a one-two finish. They didn't have it their own way and in Race 2 John Shorrock sailing his new QUARK 2 took the honours.

The 11 o'clock two-minute silence was observed to honour those who gave their lives for our freedom.

John was still with the leading boats in Race 3 and finished third behind Peter and Rob, who gained most by searching for the gusts on the far side of the lake and tacking downwind to make great gains on the run.

In Race 4 Alan Viney sailing a PRIME NUMBER made a good start and headed for the strongest winds on the far side of the lake to get to the windward mark first, but was overtaken on the run by Rob, and David Adam sailing another PRIME NUMBER. On the second downwind leg there was close racing at speed between Peter and Rob, who got to the gate first, but was passed by Peter close to the finishing line.

In Race 5 Rob led to the windward mark closely followed by Phil Holliday sailing his newly acquired French NIOUTRAM, with a beautiful Remi Bres swing rig, with Peter some way behind in fourth. However on the run he passed both of them giving a master demonstration of tacking downwind into the strongest gusts to take the lead and hold it to the finish.

The gusts were getting stronger at this point, which made tacking more difficult and manoeuvring less predictable. In Race 6 there was a collision with a loud crack and an entanglement between Alan and Roy Pearson's ROK. RO, Roger Stollery sensed that Roy's boat was sinking and rowed flat out to reach the boats just in time. However by the time that the water had been drained out of the ROK, the rescue boat had drifted into the trees at the leeward end of the lake and any progress rowing out of the branches against the wind was very slow. A huge hole amidships put an end to Roy's racing, but he stayed on to observe. Peter won this race by staying on the rhumb line to make the best of the shifts in the more moderate wind in the centre of the lake.

Predicting the stronger winds Peter and Nick Royse changed to 'B' rigs for Race 7. Martin Crysell sailing a PRIME NUMBER was first at the windward mark followed by Phil and Peter. They stayed on the rhumb line on the run, but Rob romped away by tacking downwind and planing to the leeward gate to win from Peter and Phil.

At the break for lunch, Peter was at the top of the leaderboard with 7 points ahead of Rob with 13 and John 22.

The next three races were a familiar story with Peter and Rob dominating with the third places being David in Race 8 and John in the other two races. David sailed well in Race 11, leading from start to finish from Nick Royse initially, sailing his CRAZY TUBE FREE and then Phil and Peter.

David let Peter win Race 12, but finished second and in the final Race 13 it was the predictable result from the pair of UPROARs.

At the prize giving Peter thanked the RO and ARO, Keith Parrott for running another good Mermaid, which was much enjoyed by everyone, including new member Keith Bullard who was delighted to go away with the last prize, which is traditional at GMYC events to encourage the fleet, without which there would be no winners.

Roger Stollery announced a new initiative for the Guildford club, who are offering free ALE on Wednesday afternoons in the summer to attract new members to this fantastic radio sailing lake. The details are on the GMYC website

Overall results:

1st Peter Stollery Guildford UPROAR - 12
2nd Rob Vice Clapham UPROAR - 25
3rd David Adam Woking PRIME NUMBER - 41
4th John Shorrock Datchet QUARK 2 - 43
5th Phil Holliday Datchet NIOUTRAM - 47
6th Martin Crysell Guildford PRIME NUMBER - 57
7th Alan Viney Guildford PRIME NUMBER - 70
8th Les Thorn Hawley Lake PARADOX - 71
9th Nick Royse Frensham Pond CRAZY TUBE FREE - 88
10th Keith Bullard Guildford TONY ABEL'S - 100
11th Roy Pearson Guildford ROK - 121
12th Peter Dunne Guildford STARKERS - 127

Winner of the Vic Cooney Trophy and best improver: David Adam

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