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Harken 40mm Ratchet Swivel - 2608
Harken 40mm Ratchet Swivel - 2608

Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Series at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Caroline Croft 19 Oct 2022 09:56 BST 15-16 October 2022
Rake on during the Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Itchenor © Rob O'Neill

Keen Merlin Rocket sailors eager to secure an 'Open' category result headed to Itchenor Sailing Club for the weekend of the 15th and 16th October. As Saturday dawned, the wind was due to build to the high 20's.

The race team held us ashore for about an hour as we waited for some big squalls go through with heavy rain. The call was made to go racing with the average wind speed at about 20kts. Ten boats launched and headed around the corner where the race team had everything set up, so we didn't have long to wait before racing commenced.

Race 1 got away cleanly and the fleet split two different shores to get out of the incoming tide. Places were constantly changing up the first beat but towards the end Jon Gorringe and Matt Currell were first round the windward mark followed by Simon Potts and Richard Parslow and Caroline Croft and Faye Chatterton with the pack chasing hard. Jon and Matt got a bit lost as a rib had replaced the leeward mark and ended up sailing further allowing Simon and Richard to take the lead and Caroline and Faye went into second. However, with the speed Jon and Matt were showing upwind, they soon took back the lead from Simon and Richard and held it to the end with George and Sophie Yeoman coming in third.

The tide was slackening for the start of Race 2, but the fleet still split to stay out of the main channel. Jon and Matt lead round the windward mark again with Tim Saxton and Charlotte Fildes hot on their heels with James Goodfellow and Pete Nicholson leading the rest of the fleet off on a stonking run back down wind. Places were hard fought and changing as various boats decided to test the water temperatures however Jon and Matt took line honours followed in by Tim and Charlotte and James and Pete in third.

With the tide having changed, the chop was starting to build, and the race team made the wise decision of calling it a day after two great races.

Sunday dawned to a flat calm, and we were held ashore until the wind filled in with another three boats arriving early that morning. The fleet launched and headed further down the harbour to the racecourse for Race 3. A decision had to be made about which shore to pick and commit to with the incoming tide. The right side came in first at the windward mark lead by Jon and Matt, Tim and Charlotte, with Simon and Richard leading in from the left. By the leeward mark Jon and Matt were extending their lead followed by Tim and Charlotte and Caroline and Faye. Unfortunately, it became a one-sided racecourse, so boat speed and height soon became critical to move through the fleet. At the end of three laps, Jon and Matt came through in first followed by Caroline and Faye, and Roger Gilbert and James Stewart.

Race 4 got away cleanly to similar conditions as the previous race. Caroline and Faye lead the fleet to the windward mark followed by Simon and Richard and Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield and the rest of the fleet close behind. The girls held the lead until the last beat where Simon and Richard were nicely placed for a huge inside lift and held the lead until the finish. Caroline and Faye took second with Sarah and Nigel taking third.

For Race 5, the last race of the day the course was changed to a triangle sausage to mix it up. A mixture of different tactical routes allowed Roger and James to lead the fleet at the first mark chased closely by Simon and Richard and Sarah and Nigel. With Roger and James not noticing the change in the course, Simon and Richard took the lead at the gybe mark and held it to the end with Roger and James taking second and Sarah and Nigel taking third.

Simon and Richard had just done enough to take first place from Jon and Matt who had spinnaker halyard issues in the last race and were forced to retire. Caroline and Faye took third with George and Sophie Yeoman in fourth. Gold fleet was won by Sarah Richards and Nigel Wakefield, Silver Fleet by Dan Heaton and Billy Wilkinson, and Bronze by Alastair and Catriona Wallace.

A big thank you to Itchenor Sailing Club and George Yeoman for putting on an Open event, as our Inland Championships have been postponed until the 5th and 6th November. As always great race management, competitive racing and hospitality from the club.

The next Silver Tiller is hosted by Hollingworth Sailing Club on 22nd and 23rd October. With only two Silver Tillers left who will be crowned this year's Craftinsure Silver Tiller Champions?

Don't forget to order your dinner tickets by 20th October here.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Khalesi3802Simon PottsRichard ParslowBurghfield SC248118
2Didley Squat3791Jon GorringeMatt CurrellParkstone YC1116159
3Black Sawn3803Caroline CroftFaye ChattertonLymington Town SC51522413
4Mockingjay3777George YeomanSophie YeomanItchenor SC3544616
5Baloo3807Tim SaxtonLottie FildesItchenor SC42157720
6Time Machine3780Sarah RichardsNigel Wakefield 151553326
7Duck & Dive3713Chris GouldHayden SewellLymington Town SC77115827
8Stealth3722Roger GilbertJames StewartFresham Pond SC151538228
9Boris3793James GoodfellowPete Nicholson 639121028
10Snorter3627Alastiar WallaceCatriona WallaceSouth Cerney SC1515711538
11Combat Wombat3772Dan HeatonBillyMountbatten8612141238
12 3745Paul DeanRussell HallWembley SC15156101142
13Wild at heart3709Jack NortonDave RoyceRanelagh SC1515139946
14Indiscretion3750Neal LillywhiteFreya LillywhiteBurghfield SC151510131351

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