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43rd Marblehead Mermaid Trophy at Guildford Model Yacht Club

by Roger Stollery 2 Jun 2022 12:33 BST 12 June 2021

The club and the Marblehead class both started in 1932 and this event on 28th May was the celebration of the 90th Anniversary in almost perfect conditions. The light variable northerly 'A' rig breeze blew straight down the kilometre long Abbey Meads Lake accompanied by a little sunshine and gave the ten competitors from three MYA districts some marvellous racing. 15 races were sailed over a long windward leeward course in a competitive, yet friendly atmosphere, which was enhanced by the lunchtime barbecue.

At the briefing RO Roger Stollery welcomed the competitors and reinforced the notion that this is a non-contact sport and if there was an incident, to resolve it on the water by using the IRSA Short Penalty currently on trial.

In Race 1, as one might have expected Peter Stollery sailing his UP 'Upfront' (39) took the lead on the first lap, but his twelve-year-old son Oliver sailing Dad's old UPROAR 'Inside Edge' (139) sailed over to the far bank, where there was more wind, which paid off handsomely and took him into the lead at the windward mark, from which he never looked back beating his father into second and Bob Pearson sailing a STARKERS (86) into third.

In Race 2 Peter got the best start with Oliver not far behind, but Bob Iles, sailing with a swing rig for the first time on Roger's UP (117), was delighted to finish second ahead of Colin Walton sailing his GRUNGE (03).

David Cole, also with a GRUNGE (74) was the next race winner, beating Peter into second and John Smith's GRUNGE (43) into third. John improved with a second in Race 4 behind Peter, but in front of David, who then went on to win again in Race 5, as a result of getting away with a very good start at the port end of the line. The next six races all went to Peter, only interrupted by the lunchtime barbecue, which went very well, with the break giving the opportunity for lots of friendly chat, catching up after the lockdown breaks of the past two years.

Peter was top of the lunchtime leaderboard with 7 points, David second with 14 and John in third with 16.

The wind appeared to be getting a little stronger with a few gusts varying between north north-west & north north-east. In Race 8 with the approach to the start being a bit faster, the competition was getting keener and there was a general recall as a result. John got the best start and was leading at the windward mark, but at the leeward gate many were approaching together and David took the eastern shore, whilst Peter and Bob Pearson stayed nearer the western shore and the rhumb line, which paid off as the wind became very variable and began to die away, such that Peter won by more than a leg with the water looking like a millpond, with Bob Pearson second and John third.

In Race 11 Tim Townsend sailing a ROK (78) got the best start in a very light wind, but at the windward mark it was Peter followed by Oliver, John and Bob Iles with the latter two finishing second and third. Race 12 belonged to David Cole who finished with a big lead from Peter and John, who then went on to score his first win in Race 13 from Peter and Bob Pearson in very light winds. The last two races belonged to Colin Walton, who had altered his trim to relate to the much lighter breeze and in both races there was a very close finish between him, John and Peter.

At the prize-giving Peter thanked the race team for running the 43rd Mermaid Trophy event, which he explained was the only open radio Marblehead trophy to be sailed every year since 1979. As in previous anniversary years there has always been a commemorative prize for all competitors and in this case it was not another engraved glass, but a 20 page A5 booklet recording the history of both the club and the class over the 90 years since it began.

John Smith was delighted to receive the Vic Cooney 'Masters' trophy, as well as the prize for being the best improver from his finishing place after Race 3.

Oliver's prize was awarded more for his starting bang on the line nearly every time, than just being a junior.

As well as support from Frensham's Keith Parrott, GMYC are indebted to Gillian Pearson who recorded the scene by taking some marvellous photographs.


1st Peter Stollery Guildford UP 18 points
2nd David Cole Hampton Court GRUNGE 37 points
3rd John Smith Manor Park GRUNGE 39 points
4th Colin Walton Manor Park GRUNGE 42 points
5th Bob Pearson Gosport STARKERS 61 points
6th Bob Iles Poole UP 72 points
7th Oliver Stollery Guildford UPROAR 78 points
8th Tim Townsend Medway YC ROK 87 points
9th Alf Reynolds Chelmsford ROCKET 116 points
10th Charles Wand Tetley Guildford UPROAR 127 points

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