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Merlin Rocket River Championship at Bourne End Week

by Chris Rathbone 4 Jun 2018 15:47 BST 26-28 May 2018

The Merlin Rocket Class has a long association with Bourne End Week but it was only in 1995 that the Merlin Association and Upper Thames Sailing Club incorporated the Week as the River Championship. Usually a four day series for the Championship, this year the River Championship was truncated into three days with the final day counting for the Bourne End Week overall series.

In part due to public exams, there were slightly fewer entries than usual (14) but competition was fierce and there were several different race winners. The weather was mostly light (sometimes variable) but usually sailable but on the Saturday the winds were quite brisk and resulted in a few capsizes.

Pre-event favourites, Laurie Smart and Vanessa Pilon, Alex Jackson and Rachel Alder and Chris and Pippa Kilsby predictably were the front runners from the off but John and Dan Meadowcroft were also in the hunt and won the first race. The breezy second race was won by Laurie and Vanessa from Jeremy Deacon and Mike Janowicz with Chris and Pippa third.

The next day, Chris and Katie Rathbone joined Laurie and Vanessa at the front of the fleet as the wind lightened and swung around the compass, making local knowledge a valuable commodity! Laurie and Vanessa won, followed closely by Chris and Katie and Alex and Rachel. The afternoon race promised to be better than the morning but in the end was horrid and the fleet was glad to come off the water to cool down. Alex and Rachel won, Team Kilsby was second and Laurie and Vanessa were third.

All to play for on the final day and Chris and Pippa won the first race while Alex and Rachel were second and Laurie and Vanessa third. The second race was lighter and once again local knowledge was at a premium. Team Smart benefited from working the Berkshire bank and went into an unassailable lead with the other front runners sitting in less wind and more current on the Bucks bank. The Meadowcrofts were second and Alex and Rachel third. The Kilsby team was fifth and the Championship was once again in the hands of Laurie and Vanessa with Alex and Rachel second three points behind and Chris and Pippa third.

In between the sailing, the parties were as good as usual (some say better), the beer and Pimms flowed, the Cocktail Party was messy and the sun (mostly) shone. What a great way to enjoy the late May Bank Holiday! In the fleet it was good to see that the crews are getting younger, Dan Meadowcroft, Katie Rathbone and Robbie, youngest of all (sailing in all weathers in General Lee), are all near the start of their sailing careers and were enjoying the Merlin experience.

Those lucky enough to stay an extra day had generally good sailing with two races in the morning. The races were dominated by the Meadowcrofts who won both races. This put them up to second in Bourne End Week behind Laurie and Vanessa with Team Kilsby third. Then in the afternoon it rained an awful lot, but that's another story...

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stFlipside1065Laurie SmartVanessa PilonUTSC‑5113319
2ndKaty Lou1493Alex JacksonRachel Alder 3(DNF)312312
3rdHulabolou1692Chris KilsbyPippa Kilsby 23‑621513
4thQuiver774John MeadowcroftDan MeadowcroftUTSC165‑77221
5thLuka3560Stuart JenkinsNicola Scaddan 65445‑724
6thExequisite2266Chris RathboneDaniel RathboneUTSC7‑9264625
7thTiersel901Pat BlakeJill BlakeCookham Reach877(DNC)6432
8thIF3686Jeremy DeaconMike Janowicz 92135(DNC)DNC44
9thSatisfaction2604Jeremy SteinNicki BinksUTSC111099(DNC)847
10thRobin Hood2040Richard PauseyMargaretha Van DamUTSC10811(DNC)10948
11thLa Volente1596SelBenThames13(DNF)10891050
12thRocketeer1661Chris DoddsJen Dodds 44(DNC)DNCDNCDNC53
13thMerlin3690Lucy BurnRobbie 12(DNF)12DNC81158
14thShindig3502Scott Smith UTSC(DNC)DNC8DNCDNC1265

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