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Merlin Rocket Open at Bartley Sailing Club

by Mark Reddington 14 Sep 2020 11:21 BST 13 September 2020
Bartley Merlin Open © Debbie Degge

Well when it was suggested to me that we ought to run a Merlin Rocket Open and the club were all for it, my first thoughts were what about the Covid situation? Then I thought ok we can put in place safeguards and we had a plan. Next what else do we need.... wind, sun, great courses and some Merlin Rocket sailors and what did we get? All four in abundance.

Fifteen Merlins turned up with a SW breeze blowing straight down the lake, sunshine and a promise of 22 degrees plus with a race officer and duty crew raring to go. Steve Ward our PRO set a course around the lake that had everything in it and a competitive fleet of Merlins set off in the first race with the wind at 14 - 18 knots. Andy Davis crewed by Pippa Kilsby soon showed their pace to win followed by Simon Potts crewed by James Dawes and then Pete Gray and Rachel Rhodes in third. There was close racing right down the fleet which was to continue for the rest of the day in the champagne conditions.

Race two followed quickly on the same course. The first two places were a mirror image of the first race but Rob Kennaugh with Chris Winters in the front got through to third to mix it up at bit.

The fleet then came ashore for a socially distanced lunch ably served up by Leanne and her galley team. Suitably refreshed the fleet took to the water for another two back to back races. The fleet got away reasonably cleanly! However, Pete and Rachel were seen to be heading back to dip the start line. Andy and Pippa did not have this race to themselves however and Matt Biggs and Becca Jones kept the "Perry Barr massive "at the forefront followed closely by Andy and Pippa with Simon and James back in the chocolates again in third.

Technically by now Andy and Pippa had won the event but were back on the start line for the last race of the day. This time the start line was pushed very hard and a number of boats had to restart but with the conditions still perfect the race was on. Andy and Pippa once again showed the fleet the way around the lake ending a very impressive days sailing. Rob and Chris finished the race in second also showing good speed and skills with Pete and Rachel with another third place.

A great day was had by all with close racing throughout the fleet. The Silver fleet winners were James Goss crewed by Chris Whitehouse, and Nigel and Freya Hudson Bronze fleet winners at their first Merlin Open.

Finally, a big thank-you to Steve Ward, Bradley Eels and all the volunteer race team.

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewSail NoFleetClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stDAVIS AndyKILSBY Pippa3735GoldBlithfield SC11‑213
2ndPOTTS SimonDAWES James3802GoldBurghfield SC223(DNF)7
3rdBIGGS MattJONES Becka3801GoldBlithfield SC‑64149
4thKENNAUGH RobWINTERS Chris3700GoldMidland SC‑535210
5thGRAY PeteRHODES Rachel38GoldStaunton Harold SC35‑6311
6thWINDER DaveBELL Livvy3781GoldHollingworth Lake SC4‑84513
7thGOSS JamesWHITEHOUSE Chris3682SilverSouth Staffs SC‑767720
8thLENEY SteveLENEY Gillian3716GoldBlithfield SC‑878621
9thANDERSON ColinANDERSON Sean3749SilverBlithfield SC‑999826
10thREDDINGTON MarkSTAITE Colin3805SilverBartley SC10(DNF)101030
11thHUDSON NigelHUDSON Freya3662BronzeBartley SC‑141013932
12thEELES HowardRICKETTS Sean3742BronzeBartley SC‑1211121134
13thEAVES BenMARTIN Chris3583SilverRedditch SC11(DNF)111234
14thHORWOOD GemmaHUGHES Martin3704BronzeWembley SC1313‑141339
15thWILLARS JonWILLARS NicholaxxBronzeNotts County SC151215(DNC)42

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