Please select your home edition
Craftinsure 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Series Round 3 at Blithfield Sailing Club

by Chris Martin 29 Mar 2022 16:02 BST 27 March 2022

14 Merlin rockets gathered at Blithfield SC for round three of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller series. Also, the first O category event, this bought travellers from the south west and London as well as most of the usual local suspects. The mid-week forecast proved wrong with a pleasant force 2-3 settling down blowing over the clubhouse - tricky direction but could it have been far worse!

Race one got under way cleanly, the favoured path seemed to be to tuck under the clubhouse and cross your fingers that the wind finned in off the bank. This was exploited to the full by Paul Hollis and Paula Mason who led at the windward mark with Matt Biggs and Beka Jones in hot pursuit. The run proved just as tricky as the beat and Paul and Paula were overhauled by Matt and Beka and also Chris Martin and Samuel Bailey. Matt and Beka broke clear, but Chris and Samuel had to battle and were soon joined by Steve and Gill Leney who had recovered from what is best described as a hospital start.

The battle for second wasn't decided until the final mark as the three boats in the mix scattered on the final run. Steve and Gill went hard left which looked promising, Chris and Samuel went hard right also into pressure while Paul and Paula - who had rounded second too their direct approach, straight up the middle presumably with all fingers and toes firmly crossed. Steve and Gill's wind lane faltered right at the end, but a decent lane on the right proved fruitful for Chris and Samuel who managed to cross in front of Paul and Paula with inches to spare. Matt and Beka won, Chris and Samuel second, Paul and Paula third with Steve and Gill discussing start tactics all the way back ashore and passing both of the boats they had been fighting with all race.

Race two got under way after lunch, same breeze, same course, but more snakes and ladders. Tucking under the clubhouse shore was again the place to try to be, the consequence of this was coming in on the port lay line and with more boats trying it this led to some interesting roundings but no collisions and less outrage than might have been. Matt and Beka led at the windward mark and stayed there, but again the battle for second was hard fought.

Steve and Gill, Paul and Paula and Chris and Samuel were joined by James Wells and Anna Aylward and Colin and Sean Anderson in a five-way fight for a lap and a bit. Steve and Gill held on to second with Colin and Sean coming in third. The long beats in this race were even more enigmatic than the first with boats on opposite sides of the lake looking for an edge which would often reverse itself. An exceptionally tricky race!

Race three was held back-to-back. A tweak to the course made the second beat less extreme and also gave us a reach instead of a second run. A tweak to the start line gave us a little port bias which made the first beat interesting. Again, it paid to go hard left and tack along the clubhouse shore but with the pin favoured there was a chance of crossing the fleet this time. Chris and Samuel tried it, won the pin, but missed the cross by inches having to tack back onto starboard. While not ideal this wasn't catastrophic but Matt and Beka led at the mark, and again sailed away from the battle for second. Chris and Samuel got round in second with Steve and Gill Leney hot on their heels.

Steve and Gill passed Chris and Samuel on the run and James and Anna were also loitering with intent, but the close reach favoured the heavier teams and Chris and Samuel sailed over Steve and Gill and away from James and Anna. Steve and Gill remained a threat to Chris and Samuel but the beats being reset made going out on a limb far less profitable and the middle ground was now playable. Steve and Gill were marshalled carefully by Chris and Samuel for the remainder of the race to remain second and third, with Matt and Beka tantalisingly just out of reach in the lead.

So overall with three wins Matt and Beka took the overall win. Two seconds gave Chris and Samuel second overall with Steve and Gill Leney taking third with second and third place finishes.

First in Silver fleet were Colin and Sean Anderson.

First in Bronze fleet were Nigel and Freya Hudson.

Next up in the Craftinsure Silver Tiller is a Restricted event at Bartley SC on Sunday 3rd April.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewFleetR1R2R3Pts
13801Matt BiggsBeka JonesGOLD1112
23787Chris MartinSean BaileyGOLD2524
33716Steve LeneyGill LeneyGOLD4235
43746James WellsAnna AylwardGOLD7448
53749Colin AndersonSean AndersonSILVER5368
63730Paul HollisPaula MasonSILVER3699
73790Colin BrockbankRusselSILVER610511
83662Nigel HodsunFreya HodsunBRONZE117714
93742Howard EelesJosh OatesBRONZE891017
103449Carl WhitehillSam WhitehillBRONZE10111521
113547Peter MaleAdrain MaleBRONZE8151523
123567Martin SmithKaren BeestonBRONZE13131124
133619Guy BrowneGreg MartinBRONZE12121224
143414Ian LaingS McCann 15141327

Related Articles

Battle of the Hikers preview
No trapeze? Get to Rutland this May! The very popular Battle of the Hikers will take place on the 27th and 28th May 2023. 30+ boats are expected. The Graduates were the biggest class last time. Nick Craig sailing his OK was the overall winner. Posted on 18 Mar
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 1
SW Regional and HD Midland Circuits opener at South Cerney 15 boats turned up to a cold blustery South Cerney Sailing Club, hosting their first Merlin Rocket Open and the season opener for the 2023 Craftinsure Silver Tiller, SW Regional and HD Midland Circuits. Posted on 15 Mar
MROA announce sponsorship agreement with Allen
As the title sponsor of the 2023 Inland Championships and the new South East Series The Merlin Rocket Owners' Association is delighted to announce Allen Brothers as the title sponsor of the 2023 Inland Championships and the new South East Series launching this year. Posted on 7 Mar
What was intriguing at the RYA Dinghy Show 2023?
Remote operated self-bailers set one man's heart a flutter Determined not to let moving house (the day before) put him off,'s website developer, Magnus Smith, attended his favourite boat show during the last weekend in February. Posted on 6 Mar
Exe Sails & Covers Starcross Steamer
78 boats greeted by a beautiful morning without a breath of wind 78 boats were greeted by a beautiful morning at Starcross Yacht Club without a breath of wind for the annual pursuit race. Patience prevailed however and after a delay of an hour and ten minutes, the fleet eagerly took to the water in a building breeze. Posted on 31 Jan
Blithfield Barrel week 3
23 starters had almost perfect wind The wind was perfect for most competitors, staying constant from the SW at 15-20 knots without any major gusts or headers to trouble most, but dropping off towards the end of race 6. Posted on 25 Jan
Tom Gillard's (almost) perfect 2022
25 events, 23 wins, one World title, four National titles, and one that got away! It's hard to win a major championship, fine tuning your boat, your sailing skills, knowing the venue, and putting in that vital time on the water, but sometimes you get a sailor who puts together a season which on paper looks nearly impossible. Posted on 9 Nov 2022
Merlin Rocket Inland Championship at Burton
A whole day without black flags?! 23 Merlin Rockets travelled to Burton Sailing Club for the rescheduled Inland Championship with a much depleted Foremark reservoir and a forecast for wind and rain. The well-organised race team got everything under way on time, without even a black flag. Posted on 8 Nov 2022
Parkstone Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller
Including the End of Season Silver Tiller Dinner 2022 29 boats gathered for the end of season Craftinsure Silver Tiller and black tie/posh frock prize-giving dinner dance held at Parkstone Yacht Club on Saturday 29th October. Posted on 1 Nov 2022
Merlin Rockets at Ranelagh
Putney witnesses beautiful boats spanning seventy years in age Sunday 23rd October 2022 saw the culmination of the Merlin Rockets' Thames, Vintage and Classic Series', sponsored by Craftinsure and sailed at Ranelagh Sailing Club on the beautiful River Thames in Putney. Posted on 26 Oct 2022