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Nautilus Yachting Merlin Rocket Inland Championship at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club

by Simon & Ally Potts 31 Oct 2018 14:50 GMT 27-28 October 2018

At last the long-awaited Nautilus Yachting Merlin Rocket Inland Championship took place at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, after a postponement due to adverse weather.

To add a little extra spice, it was also the last event of the Merlin Rocket class 'Grand Slam' series (consisting of the Inlands, Nationals, Salcombe Week and Silver Tiller), which was a two-horse race between Mike and Jane Calvert and, Andy 'Taxi' Davis and Alex Warren. The former needing to beat the latter by three places to take the crown.

Saturday was a variable day on most accounts, only two things were consistent.... the temperature (COLD!!) and the excellent race management. With the wind varying from 12-20 knots in strength and about 60 degrees in direction it kept both the sailors and the race team on their toes.

Race 1 saw the Calvert's leading around the second windward mark, only to find they had misunderstood the course and had to retire after missing the spreader on the top reach. This opened the door for Taxi and Alex to cruise to victory in possibly the most stable of wind conditions of the day.

The breeze died slightly for the second race, making the difference between gust and lull even more extreme. Caroline Croft and Tom Lonsdale started first and stayed there for the duration. Behind Caroline and Tom there was a lot more changing going on. The race behind between Taxi and Alex, the Calvert's and Matt Biggs and Beka Jones saw lots of place changing, with the Calvert's getting lucky last to take second from Taxi and Alex.

The breeze picked back up again for race 3. The start saw Will Warren and Rachel Rhodes execute a beautiful tack off the pin to win the start, but it was Taxi and Alex that led round the first windward mark. Showing their class, they proceeded to sail away from the rest of the fleet, to win the day and tighten their grip on the Grand Slam. Mike and Jane were clinging on to their hopes in second, until a cheeky gust and shift down the last run saw Simon and Ally Potts sneak through to second.

Taxi and Alex led overnight, with Caroline and Tom second and Simon and Ally third.

Saturday evening was spent enjoying the great food and hospitality provided by Cardiff Bay Yacht Club.

Sunday morning was beautiful, if a tad chilly. The teams were greeted by bright sunshine, clear skies and a lovely 18-20 knots. We were assured by our expert race officer that the wind would be more stable as it was further round to the right. Just as it got to getting changed time, the breeze kicked in to a constant 25 knots, but it was decided that as it was the inlands and the last event of the year, there should be an attempt to race. A handful of boats made it out onto the water, but after a bit of gear failure it was decided it was not to be and the teams were sent back ashore.

Congratulation to Taxi and Alex on winning this year's Nautilus Yachting Inland Championships and for claiming the seasons Grand Slam.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3684Andy DavisAlex WarrenBlithfield1315
2nd3673Caroline CroftTom LonsdaleBlithfield51511
3rd3776Simon PottsAlly PottsBurghfield28212
4th3736Roger PhillipsWill CrockerBurghfield45312
5th3743Matt BiggsBeka JonesBlithfield341017
6th3796Will WarrenRachel RhodeShoreham67619
7th3712Ian SharpsEllie SharpsBurghfield910726
8th3691Mike CalvertJane CalvertAxeRET2428
9th3786Dave WadeBen RaynerNorthampton791329
10th3745Paul DeanRussel HallWembley812929
11th3787Chris MartinSamuel BaileyMidland1261230
12th3749Colin AndersonSean AndersonBlithfield10111132
13th3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield11131539
14th3790Colin BrockbankSooo BroughWembley13141441
15th3769Graham Cranford SmithFiona Cranford SmithSalcombe14161646
16th3698David DownsRos DownsTata17151951
17th3567Martin SmithKaren BestonBlithfield16171851
18th3709Rob HendersonAlice MarkhamLymington TownUFDUFD852
19th3695Peter SlackVanessa PaschkeBlithfield15UFD1754
20th3651Kieron O'FarrelHannah BurtWembley1818DNF58
21st3574John DonaghueAngus UFD192061

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