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Allen Brothers

Merlin Rocket Allen South East Series 2023 at Round 1 Wembley Sailing Club

by Duncan Salmon 21 Mar 06:43 GMT 19 March 2023

Sunday 19th March 2023, was the first event in the Merlin Rocket Allen South East regional series for the modern, classic and vintage fleets. An excellent turnout of 27 boats with visitors representing Salcombe, Lymington Town, Shoreham, Brightlingsea, Staunton Harold, Stone, Weston, Broadwater together with our more local friends from Fisher's Green and Hampton.

As usual, the competitors were provided with breakfast rolls inclusive within the entry fee to be followed by three back-to-back races with refreshments being served after race two. John Gill and his team of expert helpers on the committee boat had a challenging north-westerly breeze blowing around 8 kt, which is not an ideal direction for the Welsh Harp. Notwithstanding this, the race team were able to run three close races in the light and shifty conditions.

The first race got off to a clean start with John Steward/Blake Newman and Duncan Salmon/Ruth Hanstater, rounding first and second with the chasing pack of Caroline Croft/Faye Chatterton, Alex, Warren/Jonty Freeman, Arthur Henderson/Livvy Bell and the top team of Tom Gillard/Rachael Gray. After some place changing the order settled down Tom/Rachael, Alex/Jonty, Caroline/Faye and Arthur/Livvy, which they held to the finish. Tom Stewart (who it was good to see back in a Merlin) and Rob Allen picked a magic shift up the last beat to secure 5th.

As it had become clear that the wind at the northern end of the Harp was too variable and shifty, the race team made the decision to keep the course within the southern end for the second race. It was pretty clear that the pin end was the favourite and Caroline/Faye did themselves no favours by getting stuck on the mark itself! As we were racing on the southern end of the harp, the course was somewhat shorter, and this led to a crowded rounding of the first mark, but after a lap or so the order settled down to Tom/Rachael, Alex/Jonty, Arthur/Livvy with Duncan/Ruth in fourth. The shorter course and pace of the leaders meant that by the penultimate lap, the leading bunch were lapping the back-markers. As a result of an extremely busy rounding of the leeward mark, Alex/Jonty managed to get into the lead for a short while before Tom/Rachael re-established their first place to hold that to the finish. After the race, all competitors were supplied with bottles of water and Mars Bars to restore their energy levels.

The final race was then run with the same course and for the first time there was a general recall followed by the inevitable black flag. The fleet got away, cleanly on the second start, but a major shift up the beat meant those who had started at the pin, were in some difficulty. Tom/Rachael, Caroline/Faye and Arthur/Livvy (after a good recovery, following a less than brilliant, first mark rounding) took the first three places with Tom/Rob, taking fourth, with Paul Rayson/Chris Hill and Harry Steward/Annabel Steward fighting it out for a fifth and sixth place for team Fishers Green.

After returning to the clubhouse, the competitors were treated to an excellent chicken curry, together with poppadoms which was included in the entry fee, followed by the prize-giving. Overall positions saw Caroline Croft and Faye Chatterton secure third place, Alex Warren and Jonty Freeman second and Tom Gillard and Rachael Gray taking first overall with three race wins.

The generous sponsorship of Allen meant there were a range of prizes outside of the main competition itself, comprising:

1st Annabel Steward crewing for her brother Harry
2nd Rebecca Bines crewing for her dad Andy

1st Darcey Smyth crewing for her dad Mark
2nd Hannah Pighills crewing for Nick Yannakoyorgos

  • Most consistent (10th every race): Andy and Rebecca Bines
  • Lowest placed to complete every race: William Anderson and Russell Hall
  • Most improved during the day: Harry and Annabel Steward
  • Century Cup 1st combined helm and crew over 100: Tom and Rob Allen
  • Classic Fleet: Joe Shaw and Julie Cronshaw
  • Vintage Fleet: Stuart Jenkins and Nicola Scadden

Thanks to Wembley Sailing Club for an excellent opener to the Allen South East Series and particularly Paul Dean and Joe Shaw, who led the enthusiastic team of club members who made the day possible.

The next event is on Sunday 7th May at Fisher's Green. There is also an overall club trophy, which Fisher's Green are currently leading in first place from Wembley, so it's game on!

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewSail NoClubPlatformR1R2R3Pts
1stThomas GillardRachael Gray3759Staunton HaroldModern‑1112
2ndAlex WarrenJonty Freeman3696ShorehamModern22‑84
3rdCaroline CroftFaye Chatterton3803Lymington TownModern3‑525
4thArthur HendersonLivvy Bell3683SalcombeModern‑4336
5thTom StewartRob Allen3812SalcombeModern5‑649
6thDuncan SalmonRuth Hanstater3702WembleyModern‑74711
7thPaul RaysonChris Hill3717Fishers GreenModern6‑8511
8thHarry StewardAnnabel Steward3575Fishers GreenModern‑179615
9thJon StewardBlake Newman3770Fishers GreenModern8‑15917
10thJulian BradleyHelen Cafferata3635WembleyModern‑1471219
11thAndy BinesRebecca Bines3753BrightlingseaModern‑10101020
12thPaul DeanHannah Burt3745WembleyModern11‑131122
13thMark SmythDarcey Smyth3668WembleyModern‑20111425
14thColin BrockbankVana Vlastaki3790WembleyModern13‑141326
15thGeoff KimberHelen Kimber3817StoneModern‑22121527
16thMark BarwellLouise Johnson3815Lymington TownModern919(RET)28
17thRichard EastmondJohn Harvey3637WembleyModern1217‑1929
18thStuart JenkinsNicola Scadden1097HamptonVintage15‑181631
19thJames GoodfellowSilvia Gaia3793WestonModern‑18161733
20thJoe ShawJulie Cronshaw3561WembleyClassic16‑252137
21stJemma HorwoodSuzy Brough3704WembleyModern1920(RET)39
22ndJeremy DeaconPaula Tripp3673BroadwaterModern‑23221840
23rdNick YannakoyoHannah Pighills3663Fishers GreenModern‑24212041
24thWilliam AndersonRussel Hall3628WembleyModern‑25242246
25thJoe ToshJack Tosh370RYAModern2126(RET)47
26thFred PargeterPai Shan3535WembleyClassic2623(BFD)49
27thSteve LongSimon Hazell3634WembleyClassic2727(RET)54

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