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Vintage Merlin Rocket Open at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Christian Hill 13 Apr 2021 14:25 BST 10 April 2021
Vintage Merlin Rockets at Fishers Green © Keith Fielden

After some deliberation whether to hold the De May vintage Merlin open, the decision was to go for it, offering the use of an outside toilet (no clubhouse access permitted) plus a very pretty venue.

Four teams consisting of sailors from Hampton SC, Upper Thames SC and St Edmundsbury S & C made the journey and joined the 9-strong home fleet. 13 boats of 7 different designs took part, with all FGSC boats being former restoration projects and all now desperate for some racing action. 3 races back to back in a tricky and gusty north easterly would be what the vintage teams would have to contend with for the 1st Merlin Open event of the year.

Unlike most Merlin events, race one got away cleanly, with father and son team of Christian/Gabriel Hill in Cream Cracker 2997(Smokers Satisfaction) taking the lead, closely followed by the father and daughter team of Jonathan/Annabel Steward in Patriot 3252 (NSM1). Trials and tribulations ensued throughout the fleet, with various teams taking a swim and the "ring rust" of 4 months with no sailing taking its toll. Team Steward in 3252, manged to sneak past Team Hill in 2997 and take the win with Nick Yannakoyorgos/Matteo Mancini in Shogun 3055 (Smokers) taking 3rd.

For race 2, a Merlin Open wouldn't be complete without a general recall, the cousin team of Mike Atkinson and Blake Newman won the re-start sailing the borrowed 3025 Riot (Smokers). 1st to the windward mark was Godfrey Clark/Genevieve Lappage in 3232 Bad Dog (Bad Company), followed closely by the pack, having blown the cobwebs out in race one. Richard Coulter/Louis Lappage sailing Passion 3314 a John Turner built NSM2, having repaired the main halyard which caused them a DNF in race one were showing good pace. Within the chasing pack, leading the visitors were Stuart Jenkins/Nicola Sadden in Flinkidink 1097 (Passing Cloud). Team Hill in 2997 returned the favour of race one and squeezed past Team Steward mid race to take the win, the Steward's took 2nd and Coulter/Lappage in 3314 took 3rd.

All down to the wire for the final race and a very competitive start-line meant the bravest team of the day award went to Ollie H/Peter Impey in 3560 Luka (modern Passing Cloud) pulling off a spectacular port-hand flyer. Mike/Debbie Steel in Pandemonium (NSM1) picked up the gauntlet of the chasing pack, with all teams now finding their rhythm and sea legs, the downwind leg was a typical merlin rocket sight of tightly packed bunch of brightly coloured kites. The Hill's in 2997 sailed a clean race and took the win from the Steele's in 3152, and 3rd were Ollie H/Peter Impey in 3650.

A great turnout and a great days racing, largely down to the hard work of Godfrey Clark the resident FGSC boat repairer who spent so many hours on the FGSC fleet to get them on the water. Thanks to visitors for coming to race, and the race and rescue team Colin Hill, Allan Appleton, Ken Daniels, Bill Noakes plus others, for looking after us all day.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1stCream Cracker2997Chris HillGabe HillFishers Green SC‑2112
2ndPatriot3252John StewardAnnabelle StewardFishers Green SC12‑53
3rdPassion3314Richard CoulterLouis LappageFishers Green SC(DNF)347
4thPandimonium3152Mike SteelDebs SteelSt Edmundsbury S & C6‑828
5thFlinkidink1097Stuart JenkinsNicola ScaddanHampton SC54‑89
5thShogun3055Nick YannakoyorgosMatteo ManciniFishers Green SC36‑79
7thLuka3560Ollie HPeter ImpeyHampton SC‑77310
8thBad Dog3232Godfrey ClarkGenivieve LappageFishers Green SC(DNC)5611
9thNutshell1742Harry StewardNathan AllenFishers Green SC49‑9.513
10thRiot3025Blake NewmanMike AtkinsonFishers Green SC9‑109.518.5
11thHamlet3185Graham WebbRoberto ManciniFishers Green SC812(DSQ)20
12thLa Volente1596Sel ShahJemma HorwoodThames SC(DNF)111122
13thProspect3216Paul RaysonAnna RaysonFishers Green SC(DNF)DNFDNC28

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