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Vintage Merlin Rocket Open at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Christian Hill 12 May 20:05 BST 6 May 2023
Vintage Merlin Rockets at Fishers Green © Angie Meyer

On the weekend of the Coronation, Fishers Green SC held its annual vintage Merlin Rocket open to see who would be crowned King or Queen of the green. The nine strong home fleet were joined by three visitors for a right royal dust up.

There was a short postponement due to torrential rain, us vintage sailors don't like to get our varnished beauties wet! As the rain eased slightly the fleet took to water, solo fleet captain David Walford took charge of proceedings along with club Royalty Ken Daniels.

Race 1 got under way with minimal pomp and ceremony, 2997 Christian Hill/Anna Thomas led at the windward mark closely followed by 3232 Jon Steward/Blake Newman, these two teams swapped places throughout the race careful not to trip each other up and allow the chasing pack back in. The chasing pack was led by father and daughter team Tony/Jess Cooper 3252, showing great pace in their first ever Merlin Rocket open, also in the chasing pack two brother and sister teams Harry/Annabel Steward sailing the family crown jewel and proven race winner 1742 Nutshell, Mike Atkinson making a welcome return to the water after spending far too much time away renovating his house, started where he left off pushing for a podium spot, sailing with sister Annabel Williams 3402.

Christian/Anna held on for the win, second went to 3232 Jon/Blake, third 3252 Tony/Jess and fourth in1939 Pete Impey/Tom Low.

Race 2 and with a little tweak by the RO due a bit of confusion in the first race with a couple of competitors missing a mark, the said mark was removed and sent to the dungeon. Sails now starting to dry and tell tales finally getting unglued the fleet arrived at the windward mark a lot closer together, 2997 Christian/Anna under pressure managed to scoop up a load of water and floundered as the fleet passed them on either side. Zoe Thomas (Anna's sister) did so with a particularly big grin and a wave as she passed by crewing for Graham Webb 3506. Tamesis team 1939 Pete/Tom led the way, 3252 team Cooper in hot pursuit, also in the mix 3055 Nick Yannakoyorgos/Claudia Mancini. Unfortunately, this is when your race reporter had no idea what happened at the front due to being at the back still with a boat full of water. I am reliably informed 3232 Jon/Blake sailed brilliantly and won (thanks for your help, Jon with the detail). Second was Pete/Tom, third Tony/Jess and fourth Harry/Annabel.

Race 3 and the rain had stopped, the breeze had built to a true southerly wind direction, and a course change to a simple windward/leeward. All to play for, for the three boats still in with a chance to be crowned champions, let a battle royal commence.

A well-placed island in the middle of course made life interesting, as the fleet approached the leeward mark 3252 team Cooper a clear boat length in the lead rounded in comfort, while the entire fleet who all seemed to be abreast of each other had to play nice and sort themselves. Inevitably a gap opened up on the inside as boats rounded, wide eyed 3055 Nick/Claudia thought no one would notice if I sneaked in, yet another family team 3216 Mo Allen/Nathan Allen did notice, turns followed.

3252 team Cooper, 3232 Jon/Blake, 2997 Christian/Anna battled at the front swapping places and paint with each tack and gybe, whilst still in with a shout due to having an ally mast 1939 Tom/Pete close behind. Four laps completed 3252 going for broke took a risk that didn't pay off and dropped off the lead. Joining the party for podium positions and the battle of the narrow boats 723 Stuart Jenkins/Nicola Scaddan 1742, Harry/Annabel both managed to pass 1939 Tom/Pete.

Christian/Anna in 2997 managed to keep mark room at the final mark on Jon/Blake, a short dash to the line and a few covering tacks, 2997 took the win and crowned champions, second 3232 Jon/Blake, third 1742 Harry/Annabel, and fourth 723 Stuart/Nicola.

The vintage armada descended into the clubhouse to dine on Coronation chicken (what else) provided by the fabulous Jane O'Brien. Fantastic racing, atmosphere, even the weather couldn't dampen the spirits of a great event. Thanks to all involved.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3Pts
1stCream Cracker2997Chris HillA1‑812
2ndBad Dog3232Jon StewardBlake Newman‑2123
3rdWar Horse1939Peter ImpeyTim Ginn42‑56
4thPatriot3252Tony CooperJess Cooper33‑66
5thNutshell1742Harry StewardAnnabel Steward‑5437
6thCindy723Stuart JenkinsNicola Scaddan(DNC)6410
7thShogun3055Nick YannaClaudia Mancini‑95712
8thHamlet3185Godfrey ClarkOx Ahmet7‑9815
9thSmartypants3506Graham Webbcrew87‑915
10thHot Goblin3402Mike AtkinsonAnnabel Newman6‑111016
11thProspect3216Mo AllenNathan Allen1010‑1120
12thAttila the Hunt2410Ian Lang (DNF)121224

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