Please select your home edition
Edition
Craftinsure 2012

Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 4 at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Tim Fells 25 Mar 10:25 GMT 24 March 2019

Round four of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller circuit brought the class to the delights of Itchenor Sailing Club. This jewel on the banks of Chichester Harbour has long been the home of the International Fourteen and has now, after seventy years of debate, allowed the Merlin Rocket to take up residence. This insurgency, led by our 2016 National Champion crew George Yeoman, has been met with enthusiasm within the club and delight amongst the class membership.

After an excellent welcome dinner in the club, the visitors woke in the comfortable club accommodation to a clear and crisp spring morning, with the first fingers of the promised north-westerly starting to tickle the still waters of the estuary.

On arrival at the race area off East Head, the warnings of our PRO Roger Yeoman about the challenges of setting courses in the harbour in a north-westerly became immediately apparent. With two breeze lines coming from the West from Hayling direction and the North down the Thorney channel, creating 100 degree shifts and some exciting vortices off the corner of Thorney Island, combined with a strong tide sluicing across the course, it was the sort of day when a PRO loses his hair.

Race One was about as bizarre as it gets. With the breeze switched to the west, Caroline Croft and Tom Lonsdale made the most of a chaotic start to lead round the first mark. The 'run' presented a new and entertaining option with most of the fleet raising centreboards and rudders and scraping their way through the shallows off Thorney Island.

After a further difficult lap of fetching high against the tide, Caroline and Tom still led on the approach to the line, where the wind deserted them and they were washed away from the line. Taxi and Pippa Kilsby, who have forgotten how to lose, arrived with their own breeze to snatch the win from Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby in their new ship. Caroline and Tom eventually struggled home in tenth. That is serious bad luck.

With more tidal depth in the harbour, Roger relocated the course to the south of Thorney Island where there was a truer breeze and mercifully less tide. Three more races were completed in what could be described as pleasant sailing conditions.

Consistency was hard to find in this tough fleet, unless you are Taxi and Pippa. They have started the season in a rush and by the end of the day had won 11 of the 13 Silver Tiller races completed this year. Wow! They are making a lot of very good sailors look decidedly average. Counting three bullets and discarding a second, they won the event by a country mile.

In second and one of only two teams to take a race win off Taxi in 2019, Sam and Megan Pascoe were consistently around the leading bunch and closed out with a 1,3,4. Tim Fells and Fran Gifford rounded out the podium with 3,3,4 ahead of Christian Birrell and Dan Scheiber with 2,4,5. Tim Saxton and Jodie Green were best of the home fleet in fifth with 6,7,8. Jon Gorringe, sailing with daughter Mimi in her first season of Merlin racing, was a very creditable sixth with 3,8,13.

Finally, on the sail home, the wind built and gave a beautiful three-sailer up the harbour to the club where the prize-giving was held on the fabled Itchenor lawn in bright sunshine. What's not to like?!

Full results can be found here.

Related Articles

Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 3
Can there be advantageous spinnaker rips? It was another sunny morning in Looe with the forecast for a force 3-4 from the South South West. Another glamorous day was in store and so it proved with the first race for the West Country Trophy followed by the main event of the week, the crew's race. Posted on 20 Aug
9th Classic Boat Revival preview
5 races over the 7-8 September in Chichester Harbour This year's Bosham Classic Boat Revival which will be held 7-8 September and hosted by Bosham SC. Last year, the CBR celebrated legendary boat designer Ian Proctor's centenary with over 90 boats participating, across 34 classes from 22 clubs. Posted on 20 Aug
Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 2
A superb day with sunshine and waves Looe turned on the style for the second day of the Aspire Merlin Rocket Championships. A force 3-5 from 240 deg with sunshine and waves meant that everyone in the fleet could enjoy a superb day on the water. Posted on 19 Aug
Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 1
Great sea sailing with a full social programme at a picturesque venue For their 2019 National Championships the Merlin Rocket's have returned to one of their most popular venues, picturesque Looe on the south Cornwall coast. Posted on 18 Aug
Fantastic diversity in 2019
At the Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals Nearly there. Prize glassware received and checked. Sponsors awards safely received and sorted. Social programme printed and published. Dinghy park pristine and ready for our 65 entrants. Race Management primped and preened ready for the fray. Posted on 14 Aug
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 16
'Real Sea Sailing' at Shoreham for the fleet The amazing circus that is the Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller Series turned up at Shoreham for some 'Real Sea Sailing' on the weekend of August 3rd and 4th. Posted on 6 Aug
What's the formula at Salcombe Gin Merlin Week?
Unique in the dinghy sailing calendar and wildly successful Salcombe Gin Merlin Week is unique in the dinghy sailing calendar and wildly successful with it. Capped at 120 boats, the event is always over-subscribed with in excess of 180 teams applying for a place. Posted on 17 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week overall
Richard Whitworth and Jemima Scroggie keep their cool to win The final day brought further wall-to-wall sunshine with a North-Westerly force 2-3. On countback, Richard and Jemima's three bullets makes them champions without having to sail the last race. Posted on 12 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 5
Second bullet for Taxi and Pippa but is it too late? Light cloud cover with the prospect of sun and a light SW breeze greeted the competitors on the penultimate day of the Salcombe Gin Merlin Week. Posted on 11 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 4
It's hard to see the winner coming from outside the top five now Wednesday dawned to another sunny day and early indications of a sea breeze cell forming in the harbour mouth. The forecast was for the wind to be light from the southerly quadrant all day. Posted on 10 Jul