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Nautilus Merlin Rocket Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Chris Martin 27 Sep 08:15 BST 21-22 September 2019

The swansong of summer greeted the 42 Merlin Rockets who descended on Grafham Water for the Inland Championship, sponsored by Nautilus. Good breeze was promised blowing from the south east bringing with it continental warmth. It was also rather unstable and would provide tricky conditions on this very large reservoir!

The U flag was in force from the word go and race one got away cleanly. Right seemed to pay, but either extreme seemed OK, the middle being a place to avoid. There were significant wind lanes that were well worth finding especially downwind. This race was won by Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby by quite some margin. Nick Craig and Alan Roberts were second and Andy Davies and Pippa Kilsby were third.

Race two also started cleanly and conditions were pretty much the same as race one. This obviously suited the same teams as the first three places were occupied by the same boats in the same order!

By race three the wind had dropped slightly, but it remained shifty and just as laney. Again the race started cleanly. This time things were shaken up slightly as Mike and Jane Calvert took the bullet. Taxi and Pippa came in second with Mark Barnes and Josh Wilce coming in third.

Overnight this left Andy Davies and Pippa Kilsby in pole position with Chris' Gould and Kilsby in second despite two wins!

Sunday dawned but the wind stayed well and truly in bed. Occasional wisps of wind were to be seen but nowhere near our 4 knot threshold. Breakfast was a long affair which looked as it it was going to run into lunch! The club racing fleet provided a good idea of what we would be in for as even the large catamarans were struggling to move.

By 11:30 things were looking more promising. We were clearly not going to get a race from the bank and PRO Peter Saxton launched the fleet with a promise "Not to run rubbish racing". We drifted down the lake and remained under AP for quite some time while the wind came and went before it shifted to the south, stayed there and increased to around 8-10 knots - game on!

Again the start was clean and again the extremes seemed to pay. Hard right and left met at the windward mark with little in it while those not at the extremes struggled to get in. Paul Dean and Russel Hall were just as amazed as everyone else to find themselves leading around the first mark! After the second beat the wind clicked round more to the west and in creased in strength substantially. There was not time to reset the course and race was wisely shortened at what would have been the third windward mark. Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby stamped their authority on the weekend by winning this race making it three wins out of four. Tim Saxton and Toby Lewis came in second and George and Sophie Yeoman came in third.

We were now past the last permissible start time and therefore race 5 was abandoned.

Four races meant no discard and consistency paid off. Chris Gould and Chris Killsby's scoreline of three wins and a 9th was just enough to take the event by one point from Andy Davies and Pippa Kilsby. Nick Craig and Alan Roberts were a comfortable third.

Silver fleet was won by Piers Lambert and Johnny Ratcliffe and Bronze fleet by Ben and Sam Lulham.

Thanks to Nautilus for their continued support and to all at GWSC for running a superb event. Next years Inland Championships are making a long overdue return to Bala Lake - preparations are already underway!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st3803Chris GouldChris KirbyMidland/Thames119112
2nd3684Andy DavisPippa KilsbySouth Staffs SC332513
3rd3776Nick CraigAlan RobertsFrensham Burghfield226616
4th3691Mike CalvertJane CalvertAXE YC7811026
5th3673Caroline CroftTom LonsdaleBlithfield4713731
6th3807Tim SaxtonTobytastic LewisItchenor1758232
7th3786David WadeBen RaynesDraycote1067932
8th3781David WinderLiv BellHollingworth Lake81211435
9th3796William WarrenPete NicholsonShoreham SC61051435
10th3777George YeomanSophie YeomanItchenor SC91714343
11th3763Mark BarnesJosh WilceWhitstable YC181631148
12th3804Andrea BrewsterCharlotte FildesQueen Mary SC16915848
13th3658Chris JenningsChris MartinBurghfield SC54271652
14th3801Matt BiggsBeka JonesBlithfield211341755
15th3671Piers LambertJohhny RatcliffeBrightlingsea1314242071
16th3676Frances GiffordSophie MackleyRanelagh SC2019171571
17th3787Chris MartinSamuel BaileyMidland Sailing Club1128191876
18th3722Roger GilbertJane GilbertFrenshal Pond141110DNC78
19th3746James WellsNicola BassStarcross1220252481
20th3745Paul DeanRussell HallWembley SC3025121986
21st3730Paul HollisPaula MasonBlithfield1526292797
22nd3585Pete GrayRachael RhodesStaunton Harold19DNC162199
23rd3758Brennan RobinsonTom TaylorGrafham Water Sailing Club34272812101
24th3569Ben LulhamSam LulhamRutland Water23291831101
25th3802Simon PottsRoger PhillipsBurghfield SC221522DNC102
26th3732John CooperBecci WigleyLTSC25232035103
27th3784Mark BarwellLouise JohnsonLymington Town SC24213226103
28th3749Colin AndersonSean AndersonBlithfield28222629105
29th3702Duncan SalmonHarriet SalmonWembley SC29312128109
30th3748Nigel BrookeAnna AylwardLymington Town SC26343122113
31st3716Stephen LenneyGillian LenneyBlithfield27323025114
32nd3790Colin BrockbankSuzy BroughWembley SC31183433116
33rd3555Tim HandCarl WeighillSwarkestone Sailing Club32303323118
34th3666John MeadowcraftDan MeadowcraftUpper Thames SCDNC242336126
35th3442Matt SmithJared LewisMidland Sailing Club35353630136
36th3774Richard CoulterChris HillFishers Green36363532139
37th3788Christian BirrellArthur HendersonItchenor SCDNCDNCDNC13142
38th3692James GoodfellowJulie NuttallWhitstable YC33333937142
39th3800Richard BramleyLiam WeighillShoreham Sailing Club39384034151
40th3619Guy BrowneGreg MartinTrent Valley SC383737DNC155
41st3567Martin SmithKaren BestonBlithfield373938DNC157
42nd3368Ian LangAndrew HuntHollingworth LakeDNC4041DNC167

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