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Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Series Round 5 at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Pippa Kilsby 16 Apr 06:14 BST 9-10 April 2022

The weekend of the 9th and 10th April welcomed 41 keen Merlin Rocket teams to a very sunny Salcombe Estuary for round 5 of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller 2022.

Throughout the week previous, the forecast had been getting better and better for the weekend, we were not disappointed when we arrived on the Saturday morning. Everyone was pleased to see some real champagne sailing conditions and launched into a sunny, 10-15 knots blowing straight down from Blackstone. Due to the sunny forecast, the Harbour Authority were keen to keep the fairway open to allow marine traffic to flow, which made the start line quite tight, and focused the minds - many of which had gone a bit rusty (mine very much included) over the winter.

Race 1 had the obligatory two general recalls, and a few boats and some big names were a bit too excited, falling foul to the black flag. Arthur Henderson and Livvy Bell (borrowing Papa John Bell’s boat) made an absolutely storming start and whizzed off into the distance, managing to keep some seriously quick people very much behind them. Hot on their heels were James Wells and Anna Aylward who sailed beautifully and stood their ground, coming home in 2nd and proving that time together in the boat and time on the water really is paying off. Chris Gould and Rob Allen came in third.

The second race of the day was equally lovely conditions, but with slightly less water so a nice simple 131313 was sailed in fantastic conditions. With some more boats back on the race track with fresh legs and fuelled by ice cream after their BFD in the first race, the start line was busier, narrower and windier. Christian Birrell and Sam Breary sailed a very clean race to come home in first, battling it out behind were Simon Potts and Holly McArthur in 2nd and Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby in 3rd.

Salcombe Yacht Club put on a great evening on the Saturday, with drinks on the terrace. The Yacht Club has arguably the best beer and the best view in Salcombe, so it’s important that we support these guys. This was followed by a great food and plenty more beer and Salcombe Gin for those who wanted it. It was great to see lots of people get together, after what has been a tricky few years.

Sunday morning was lovely and bright but very chilly, and ice has formed on the boat covers. It was a little windier than Saturday, and a strong, cold Easterly wind was blowing straight into Batson which made people a little nervous and encouraged a few people to climb into many layers of thermals and very thick wetsuits which they may live to regret after the 86th gybe on the first run.

An Easterly wind in Salcombe estuary is a rather challenging affair and tends to roll down the East Portlemouth side and blob itself wherever it pleases. Now, I haven’t been in a boat since November, so I’m possibly not the best person to ask specific details about what happened as I seemed to spend most of Sunday leaping about and getting annoyed with spinnaker poles. Anyway, everyone seemed to have a nice time and most people seemed to get their fair share of some nice big gusts, and some not so nice big holes. But that’s Salcombe.

Making the most of the conditions (and using some new knowledge after a lengthy bar debrief with legend and multiple Salcombe winner Phil King on Saturday night) in the first race was new pairing Chris Gould & Rob Allen and Caroline Croft & Sam Mottershead who snook out into the front, followed by Christian Birrel and Sam Breary in third.

The final race of the day was a similar affair to race 3, but this time, Henderson family were on charge and really showed us all how to navigate the estuary. For the second time this weekend Arthur Henderson and Livvy Bell sailed a very calm and impressive race, and stormed into the lead, holding off Will & Rob Henderson in 2nd and Gould/Allen in a very consistent 3rd.

Overall, Gould & Allen took the Chicken Dinner, Simon Potts & Holly McArthur came in second and Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby took third. The winners of the Silver Fleet were David & Sarah Conlon, and the winners of the Bronze Fleet were Dan Heaton and Tom Gurney.

It was great to see lots of new faces and new pairings in the Merlin fleet this weekend. It was a tricky weekend and those who sailed a consistent series seemed to flourish. There were some very impressive performances around, and I think this year is going to be really interesting.

A great weekend was had by all, and it was so nice to have some great conditions to yacht around in. Salcombe Yacht Club were great hosts as always, Salcombe Gin were generous sponsors of the event yet again, along with Craftinsure who are sponsoring our Silver Tiller series again, for which we are very appreciative.

Next up we are off to Mumbles on 23rd/24th April, which was an awesome venue last time. I hope to see you all there!

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoBoat NameHelm NameCrew NameR1R2R3R4Pts
1stGold3812MaumaharaChris GouldRob Allen3‑19137
2ndGold3802KhaleesiSimon PottsHolly McArthur(BFD)23712
3rdGold3735TCWAndy DavisPippa Kilsby43‑8613
4thGold3788 Christian BirrellSam Brearey(BFD)14914
5thGold3652Time & TideArthur HendersonOlivia Bell1‑1613115
6thGold3775Night FuryChris JenningsPete Nicholson655‑1116
7thGold3814SonicJames GossChris Kilsby84‑10517
8thGold3726ArwenWill HendersonRob Henderson7‑139218
9thGold3803Black SwanCaroline CroftSam Blocksidge(BFD)821020
10thGold3764Fancy LiquorTim FellsFran Gifford(BFD)715426
11thGold3746Point N SquirtJames WellsAnna Aylward2‑15141228
12thGold3801PokeyMatt BiggsBeka Jones59(WAY)1529
13thGold3799Simply ScrumptiousPaul RaysonChristian Hill12116‑2129
14thGold3807BalooTim SaxtonMary Henderson11127‑1330
15thSilver3753Appetite for DestructionDavid ConlonSarah Conlon10‑18121638
16thGold3696Tiger TigerAlex WarrenJonty Freeman(BFD)1021839
17thGold3756RobertSophie MackleyJames Ward92216(RET)47
18thSilver3815The KrakenMark BarwellLouise Johnson171417‑2448
19thSilver3702Salmon en CrouteDuncan SalmonRuth Hanstater13(DNF)221752
20thSilver3709Wild at HeartJack NortonDave Royce151720(RET)52
21stGold3796RobertaWilliam WarrenMegan Pascoe(DNF)29111454
22ndSilver3749StanleyColin AndersonSean Anderson1421(WAY)1954
23rdSilver3694The Soup DragonSteve TylerAlly Tyler192019(DNC)58
24thBronze3772 Dan HeatonTom Gurney22‑23232065
25thSilver3555Light FantasticSam BlocksidgeAbbigail Blocksidge‑3124241866
26thBronze3662Attack of the ClonesNigel HudsonFreya Hudson162528(RET)69
27thSilver3730Blood Sweat and BeersPaul HollisBen Hollis20‑27262369
28thBronze3766The BearAndrew DalbyAimee Dalby27‑36182873
29thSilver3769DiscipleGraham Cranford‑SmithFiona Cranford‑Smith242625(DNC)75
30thBronze3578White RabbitGodfrey ClarkNick Yannakoyorgos18‑3727DSQ81
31stBronze3770GertchaJonathan StewardBlakey Boy2930(WAY)2281
32ndBronze3621RaunchyAndrew SquireTristan Squire30‑33292685
33rdGold3691Quick FixMike CalvertJane CalvertBFD6WAY(DNC)88
34thBronze3607The fifth ElementSteve ConroyAnna Rayson28‑35322989
35thBronze3547Moondance AssasinPeter MaleTim Male(WAY)34312792
36thBronze3624Stab in the DarkSimon HardimanMillie Hardiman32‑38303092
37thSilver3732NKSJohn CooperBecci Wigley2132RET(DNC)94
38thSilver3682LokiRoss BorneJohn Burn2528RET(DNC)94
39thSilver3806Blue TitBen JonesHelen Hilditch2331(DNC)DNC96
40thBronze3695Shiny Happy PeoplePeter SlackImmy Brown(DNC)DNC3325100
41stBronze3583 Ben EavesOliver MacLean26(DNF)WAYRET103

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