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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Craftinsure Silver Tiller Merlin Rocket open meeting at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Chris Jennings & Pete Nicholson 19 May 10:06 BST 13-14 May 2023
Craftinsure Silver Tiller Merlin Rocket open meeting at Brightlingsea © Tim Bees


Having earned the honour to write the report for this event we investigated the options to make this a quick process. Surely ChatGPT can come to our rescue. Here's goes...

Ask: Write me a report for the 2023 Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller event at Brightlingsea

ChatGPT: I'm sorry, but as an AI language, I don't have access to current or future events, and my responses are based on my knowledge cutoff of 2021. I suggest checking with local news outlets or the event organizers for information about the 2023 Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller event at Brightlingsea.

The machines can't take over yet then, back to plan B...

Event Report Written by Humans

Brightlingsea welcomed 33 boats for the 2 day Craftinsure Silver Tiller open meeting and Allen South East series over the weekend of 13/14th May. On arrival it was fairly chilly with a north east wind direction and very overcast conditions. Talk in the dinghy park was that the sun was coming out and it would be the hottest day of the year so far. Despite this most teams opted for warmer clothing options and there was even the odd dry suit spotted.

The fleet launched to a steady (in strength) 15 knots and sailed to the start line. We were joined by the Hadron and GP14 classes which led to the occasional drama not too dissimilar from mixed grid GT racing - fewer boats in the tyre wall though.

The race team opted for a short line, approximately the width of 33 Merlin Rockets placed side-by-side plus a bit (~25cm) - well at least that's what it felt like. Social distancing rules no longer apply, so all good. This put a premium on getting off the start line and general recalls became the theme of the day.

Race 1 Caroline Croft and Pete Gray sailing in their nice new ship were first round the windward mark followed by Chris Jennings and Pete Nicholson. In close pursuit were Dave Winder and Charlotte Stewart who had teamed up for the weekend, followed by a hungry pack. The leading two pulled away from the chasing pack. A shifty wind led to some snakes and ladders throughout with Caroline and Pete taking the win from Chris and Pete.

Dave and Charlotte survived the attention of the rest of the fleet to come third and take the award for first boat without a crew called Pete.

Race 2 was delayed due to a wind shift necessitating marks to be move by the alert the race team. After another recalled start the fleet got away. Multiple national champion Christian Birrell and guest crew Aaron Holman played the shifts well to storm into the lead from Jon Gorringe and Matt Currell. These two gained separation from the rest and were never troubled, the win going to Cristian and Aaron. New team of Tim Saxton and Pete Matthew Dixon sailed well to claim 3rd.

For race 3 the much-anticipated sun decided to show up. Also on the scene was a tide pushing the fleet upwind which led to two things: even more pressure on the start line; and a developing chop (wind against tide). After another general recall, Chris and Pete rounded first followed by Christian and Aaron these two had a tight battle round the course. Christian and Aaron managed to take the lead on the last beat and claimed another bullet from Chris and Pete. Jon and Matt were proving ever consistent and came 3rd.

With some forecasts showing an average wind speed for Sunday of 3 knots (gusts as high as 3 knots) the race team made the wise decision to run a 4th race (the SI's had been changed to accommodate this option). By this point the breeze had built a little more, providing great (sparkling wine?) conditions although the wind against tide made for a tricky east coast chop.

After another general recall the race team cracked out the black (BLACK!) flag and fleet set of for the final race. With their mojo on boost Christian and Aaron revelled in the conditions posting another bullet. This time dinghy sailing legend Will Henderson and son Rob were clearly warmed up now and claimed second. Caroline and Pete pulled through to take 3rd.

The fleet sailed home to a well-earned beer and refuelled with chilli con carne, although nobody seemed bothered that Eurovision wasn't on the club TV. Many people were heard saying best sailing had for a long time!

Sunday morning greeted us with ideal outdoor badminton conditions proving that it was the right decision to do 4 races on Saturday. After a short postponement racing was abandoned for the day allowing teams to pack up early.

This left Christian Birrell and Aaron Hollman as the event winners counting 3 bullets, Caroline Croft and Pete Gray 2nd, and Chris Jennings and Pete Nicholson in 3rd.

Fleet prizes are awarded at all Silver Tiller events and the winners were:

  • Gold fleet - Will Warren and Megan Pascoe
  • Silver fleet - Mary Henderson and Rupert White
  • Bronze fleet - Geoff Kimber and Tom Pygall

Special mentions must go to our race officer Phil Rust aka Rusty and all club members who volunteered to help either on or off the water.

Another mention must go to Tim Bees who has provided some fantastic photos of all the day's action. Thank you Tim.

Hopefully we've got Brightlingsea pencilled in the calendar for next year with a strong turnout of 33 boats proving a popular venue.

Good luck to competitors in the Women's Champs being held at Lymington Town SC over the weekend of 20/21 May.

The next Craftinsure Silver Tiller is at Hooe Point Sailing Club on 10th and 11th June and the Allen South East Series will take place on the Sunday at Shoreham Sailing Club on 18th June.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st3788Christian BirrellAaron HolmanParkstone SC‑91113
2nd3820Caroline CroftPete GrayLymington Town SC14‑838
3rd3775Chris JenningsPete NicholsonBurghfield SC2‑6259
4th3791Jon GorringeMatt CurrelParkstone SC‑72349
5th3807Tim SaxtonPete Matthew‑DixonItchenor SC534‑712
6th3801Matt BiggsBeka JonesBartley SC‑16115622
7th3796William WarrenMegan PascoeShoreham SC6‑167922
8th3726Will HendersonRob HendersonSalcombeYC‑131011223
9th3803Chris GouldSophis MackleyLymington Town SC‑10591024
10th3804Mary Henderson‑WhiteRupert Henderson‑WhiteBrightlingsea SC4813‑2425
11th3793James GoodfellowRach GrayWEston SC‑12761225
12th3746James WellsAnna AylwardRYA89‑10825
13th3819David WinderCharlotte StewartHollingworth Lake3‑17121328
14th3799Paul RaysonAnna RaysonFishers Green SC1812‑251545
15th3671David ConlonSarah ConlonBrightlingsea SC14‑19141745
16th3710Jon IbbotsonRobert StewartBurghfield SC1514‑161645
17th3817Geoff KimberTom PygallStone SC‑2720151146
18th3747Clive EpvettRebecca VideloFrensham Pond SC171317‑1847
19th3702Duncan SalmonRuth HanstaterWembley SC191519‑2053
20th3716Steven LeneyGillian LeneyBlithfield SC211818‑2257
21st3749Colin AndersonSean AndersonBartley SC‑2823.5201457.5
22nd3794Julian HarmsGeorge BenderMidland SC2021‑231960
23rd3753Andy BinesRebecca BinesBrightlingsea SC‑2422212164
24th3745Paul DeanHannah BurtWembley SC22‑30222367
25th3770Jon StewardRussell HallFishers Green SC2523.524(DNC)72.5
26th3805Mark ReddingtonLewis FowlerBartley SC232826(DNC)77
27th3547Peter MaleTim MaleBlithfield SC‑2925.5272678.5
28th3782Edward ChapmanAnthony ChapmanLT SC11(DNC)DNCDNC79
29th3563David HallEmilie HoodBlachusalen SC2629‑29.52580
30th3695Pete SlackImmy BrownRutland SC3025.528(DNC)83.5
31st3633Timothy HarmsMillie LittleHampton SC‑312729.52783.5
32nd3561Joe ShawSophia CecchiWembley SC323231(DNC)95
33rd3677Timothy BarrChris Martin 3331(DNC)DNC98

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