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Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller Round 16 at Shoreham Sailing Club

by Pat Blake 6 Aug 19:51 BST 3-4 August 2019

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.

This series, sponsored by Craftinsure, is highly competitive and with only two weeks to go to the National Championships at Looe many sailors were keen to test out their open water skills against the best sailors in the country. Unfortunately it is also championship season so there were a few top names missing because they were away trying to clean up some in some other classes that are easier to win in!

Three races were scheduled for each day and on Saturday there was nice force 2 to 3 breeze from the south east. The race officer, Peter Bennett, said that he was planning to keep the races short and, sure enough the first race was extremely short. Just one lap of about 20 minutes. The fleet had to contend with a very strong spring tide, the current was pushing the fleet over the line and on the second start, after one general recall, Peter Bennett said that the entire fleet except for two boats were OCS. So he disqualified the entire fleet except for those two boats!

This rather unconventional approach is arguably fairer than having a general recalling and just disqualifying the few boats that may be identified. A strong argument for using the U flag I think. The two boats who started correctly were local stalwarts of the class Richard Bramley and Tony Cheal in "Brambles' and the beautifully restored wooden boat of Jonty Freeman and Rupert Smith, this boat has been lovingly restored by it's original builder John Freeman, Jonty's dad.

Anyway the second race got under way in in much more normal manner and the lead was soon occupied by Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey who dominated the weekend. It wasn't a walk over for them though, it was a close tactical race for two laps with the strong current and and shifting wind which was becoming increasingly fitful until, on the third lap it died away to almost flat calm and many boats couldn't stem the current. Christian and Sam just made the finish of the shortened course within the time limit and Andy (Taxi) Davis with Pippa Kilsby in second very nearly got swept past the committee boat but they found just enough wind to claim their position.

The sailing instructions specified that we all had 20 minutes after the first boat to finish and Pat and Jilly Blake in third looked to be disappointed until they found just enough breeze to cross the line with 20 seconds to spare! Everyone else was timed out. So it was a subdued fleet that returned to the club for an excellent evening of lasagne and the traditional egg throwing competition to contemplate the extraordinary day that meant that everyone had used their discard and only 5 boats had a result at all.

Sunday looked a lot more hopeful and four races were scheduled in an easterly force 2 to 3 breeze and with less current in the morning. The courses were quite small, at least by traditional Shoreham standards, with four laps of the 'sausage triangle' completed in less than an hour giving really close racing all through the fleet. There was so much place changing in the nip and tuck of the very tactical racing that your corespondent couldn't possibly recount every twist and turn but notably Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey managed to come out on top - winning every race! Simon and Ally Potts had a good day, starting off with a second and never being out of the top few.

Ian Sharps was sailing with Alex Warren and they had too had a good day with two second places. Another boat that was always near the front was Fran Gifford who was sailing with Chris Kilsby in 'Hot Totty'. However it was 'Taxi' Davis and Pippa Kilsby who claimed the second place overall. They too were always fighting it out near the front on Sunday but their second place on Saturday gave them a massive points lead over the others. Pat and Jilly got the Silver fleet award and John Cooper with Becci Wigley won the Bronze mugs. It was good to see the local ace marine photographer Warwick Baker out in his launch to document what was another epic weekend of 'real sea sailing' even if it was quite unusual. Definitely one to remember.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold3788Christian BirrellSam BreareyWPNSA(OCS)111115
2ndGold3684Andy DavisPippa KilsbySouth Staffs(OCS)2445318
3rdGold3802Simon PottsAlly PottsBurghfield(OCS)DNF252444
4thGold3712Ian SharpsAlex WarrenBurghfield(OCS)DNF1024249
5thGold3676Frances GiffordChristopher KilsbyRanelagh Sailing Club(OCS)DNF636753
6thGold3796William WarrenMegan PascoeShoreham Sailing Club(OCS)DNF883555
7thSilver3740Pat BlakeJilly BlakeCookham Reach Sailing Club(OCS)31414121659
8thGold3781David WinderLiv BellHollingworth Lake(OCS)DNF967962
9thGold3801Matt BiggsTom PygallBlithfield/Whitstable(OCS)DNF7781265
10thGold378Jon TurnerRichard ParslowLyme Regis(OCS)DNF121013874
11thGold3709Rob HendersonJames EllisLymington Town Sailing Club(OCS)DNF516101375
12thGold3670Tim ParsonsSarah ParsonsLyme Regis Sailing Club(OCS)DNF1512111180
13thGold3770Jack HoldenMark OakeyItchenor Sailing Club(OCS)DNF399DNC83
14thBronze3732John CooperBecci WigleyLymington Town Sailing Club(OCS)DNF1813161088
15thSilver3690Tim HarridgeClaire MillsLymington Town Sailing Club(OCS)DNF1611201593
16thGold3727Mark StockbridgeSophie PenwardenBurghfield(OCS)DNF1918141496
17thBronze3800Richard BramleyTony ChealShoreham Sailing Club1(DNF)2524242397
18thBronze2235Rupert SmithJonty FreemanNewhaven and Seaford2(DNF)26252522100
19thBronze3723Geoff KimberHelen KimberStone Sailing Club(OCS)DNF20191517102
20thGold3730Ben HollisColin AndersonBlithfield Sailing Club(DNC)DNC17212119109
21stGold3766Andy DalbyPete HornHSC(OCS)DNF131718RET110
22ndBronze3634Richard CoulterChristian HillFishers Green(OCS)DNF21231720112
23rdSilver3745Paul DeanRussell HallWembley Sailing Club(DNS)DNS22202218113
24thSilver3641Mark WaterhouseNicola BassParksone(OCS)OCSRETDNC196118
25thSilver3773Alan WarrenWill CarrollShoreham Sailing Club(OCS)DNF1115RETDNC119
26thBronze3704Jemma HorwoodSel ShahThames Sailing Club(OCS)DNF23222321120
27thSilver3806Ben JonesSophie MackleyShoreham Sailing Club(DNC)DNC24RETDNCDNC148
28thSilver3648Toni WrightJamie WrightShoreham Sailing Club(OCS)DNFDNCDNCDNCDNC155
28thSilver3665Ross JacksonDave ReidShoreham Sailing Club(OCS)OCSDNCDNCDNCDNC155
28thSilver3686Jeremy DeaconMike JanowiczBroadwater Sailing Club(OCS)DNFDNCDNCDNCDNC155

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