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Harken 18mm Fly Block - 2698
Harken 18mm Fly Block - 2698

Craftinsure Silver Tiller Merlin Rocket Open at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Nick Craig 22 Jun 2018 10:26 BST 16-17 June 2018
Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Hayling Island © Robert O'Neill

A healthy turnout of 26 Merlin Rockets gathered at Hayling for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller: a weekend of high winds, tight racing and lovely Sunday waves! With many of the top boats racing, including both the National and Salcombe champions, the racing was as ever of very high quality in the Merlin fleet.

On Saturday, racing was inside the harbour due to an inclement weather forecast on short, tidal courses which provided a stern tactical and boat handling test. Three-times National Champions Roger Gilbert/James Stewart returned to the Merlin after a break, in impressive form to lead overnight with a rock solid 1,3,2 score line. Simon & Ali Potts showed that parenting hasn't slowed them down as they moved forward in every race to score a tidy 3,5,3, with Ben & Roz McGrane on equal points overnight. Dave Wade and Rach Rhodes showed their adaptability between classes to lead the second race from start to finish and, Tim Saxton and Jodie Green repeated this feat in race 3.

On Sunday, many were pleased to be allowed out to sea so play in some lovely rolling waves, the perfect warm-up for the Nationals at the wave mecca of Lyme Regis. Nick Craig & Tobytastic Lewis sorted their Saturday spinnaker issues to score 1,2,1. Tim & Jodie nearly made it back to back race wins in race 4 but a lightning fast spinnaker drop by Tobytastic at the last gybe just squeezed him and his spectating helm in for a win. Tim & Jodie were in with a chance of winning overall but a failed rudder gudgeon off a wave the size of a house lost them a race and dropped them to fourth overall, just behind Nick & Toby. Caroline Croft & Matt Lulham-Robinson also led race 4 showing that practice pays... but an untimely swim dropped them to fifth.

Race 5 was pivotal with Ben & Roz nailing every shift on the penultimate beat to sail past both Roger/James and Nick/Toby. With a combined 100 years of sailing at Frensham Pond, Nick & Roger should be able to pick a windshift by now! This gave Ben/Roz a sniff at winning the event overall which they took by beating Roger/James in the last race - very impressive sailing by lightweights in the windiest race of the event.

Another notable performance was from Ben Palmer, RS200 National Champion, to jump straight in a Merlin and finish seventh overall, we hope to see more of him in the future.

Next up in the Merlin Silver Tiller is Whitstable this weekend where it looks like much gentler winds and more sunshine is forecast, shortly followed by Salcombe Week where there are once again 120 boats entered with a waiting list showing the huge strength of the class.

Thank you to Craftinsure for your going sponsorship of the Silver Tiller and to the classes new clothing partner Magic Marine.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st3739Ben McGraneRoz McGraneNetley SC42-531212
2nd3722Roger GilbertJames StewartFrensham132-43312
3rd3776Nick CraigToby LewisFrensham-1261212122
4th3758Tim SaxtonJodie GreenItchenor59126(DNC)23
5th3764Tim FellsPete HornSalcombe YC2(DNC)495525
6th3786Dave WadeRach RodesNorthampton201684(DNC)39
7th3768Ben Palmer HISC-17891010744
8th3736Roger PhillipsWill Crocker 1314-1669446
9th3726Will HendersonTom BallentineSalcombe YC91210-157846
10th3778Chris GouldTom LongdaleMidland11711-1381047
11th3770Jack HoldenTom HarrisonItchenor6138714(DNC)48
12th36Olly TurnerHamish KilburnSalcombe SC8-16141112651
13th3673Caroline CroftMatt Lullham-RobinsonBartley SC74(DNC)511DNC57
14th3777Simon PottsAlly PottsBurghfield353(DNC)DNCDNC71
15th3741Simon LyttonJackie LyttonHISC-2120131417973
16th3711Sam ThompsonLeanne ThompsonMounts Bay1521151715(DNC)83
17th3705Geoffrey WrightKatie WrightBlithfield(DNC)241819161188
18th3749Colin AndersonOliver MacleanBlithfield1922191613(DNC)89
19th3774Jon TurnerRichard Parslow 10157(DNC)DNCDNC92
20th3691Mike CalvertJane CalvertAxe YC1410(DNC)12DNCDNC96
21st3622Michael HamiltonSimon Hamilton 22(DNC)172018DNC107
22nd3712Ian SharpeEllie SharpeBurghfield1811(DNC)DNCDNCDNC119
23rd3787Chris MartinSamuelMidland1619(DNC)DNFDNCDNC125
24th3709Rob HendersonAlice MarkhamHISC(OCS)18DNC18DNCDNC126
25th3743Matt BiggsBeka JonesBlithfield2317(BFD)DNCDNCDNC130
26th3614Geoff KimberHelen KimberStone SC2523(BFD)DNCDNCDNC138
27th3585John FildesCharlotte FildesAlderney24(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC144
28th3704Jemma HarwoodSimon WorsfoldThames(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC150
28th3788Christian BirrellTom Heywood (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC150

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