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Fishers Green Sailing Club Sunset Salver goes to the wire

by Christian Hill 6 Sep 14:25 BST

As the end of August approached so did the final race of a 22 race long series. The closest battle in living memory for the top spot was between two vintage Merlin teams, Harry Steward/Claudia Mancini in the Steward family heirloom 1742 Nutshell, against father daughter team Tony/Jess Cooper 3252 patriot competing in their first full Merlin season, more on the outcome of the gladiatorial battle later.

The Sunset Salver started way back in April with the first race being squeezed in before sunset, with competitors packing up in torch light, straight out of the blocks taking the first race win were Team Cooper 3252 with Harry/Claudia 1742 taking 2nd, and rounding off the podium the newly formed team of Nick Yannakoyorgos/Angie Meyer 3055 shogun.

The next 6 races saw 4 different winners Blake Newman 3600 Aero 6, Richard Coulter 5068 Solo, Claudia Mancini Laser Radial, to name a few, wasn't till race 7 before Harry/Claudia took their first victory. A third of the way through and one bad result put you down the pan, representing the Laser fleet were brother-in-laws Graham Newman and Simon Williams putting up some impressive early numbers but the boat on boat battles taking its toll dropped them out of contention for the top spot.

Putting a great series together Roberto Mancini Streaker 1777 showing time on the water is key pushing for single figures in each race. Unfortunately the solo fleet were under represented from last season due to injury and planned retirement holidays, I'm sure they will be back in their numbers looking for the silverware next April, the solos who were racing had great pace rich Coulter 5068 with several race wins and podium positions was putting a good shout to claim the salver for the 2nd time, Nick Pighills 5249 with good pace in all wind ranges nipping at the heels of the podium spots each race. Add into the mix wild card entries or should that be a spanner into the works, made each Wednesday as competitive as the last, giving competitors no time to rest. Out of character from previous years no races were lost until the final weeks when two had to be binned due to drifting conditions.

Two thirds of the way through and well into exam/prom and holiday season how many races would competitors lose to extractions, and would this have an impact on final places. Slowly the chasing pack were whittled down to two remaining gladiatorial teams.

Harry/Claudia vintage Merlin 1742 against Team Cooper Tony/Jess 3252, Harry/Claudia holding a slender point advantage into the final race, Tony/Jess would at the very least have to beat Harry/Claudia across the line to stand a chance of winning. Now this is a local club competition, promoting fun friendly competitive racing, it's not the Olympics, but I'm very sure the thought did across Tony/Jess mind to try and sail Harry/Claudia to the back of the fleet. As it happened both teams went for the win, but with just a bit of edginess, a few luffing battles and covering tacks, place changing throughout. The welcome sound of two hoots at the final mark was music to the ears of Harry/Claudia 1742 who managed to keep Team Cooper 3252 behind and with that take the 2023 Sunset Salver.

With the series completed all that was left to do was to have the prize-giving and traditional end of series fish and chips expertly organised by Allan Appleton. Many thanks to our army of RO's taking their turn to make the racing happen and our ever present and at times over worked rescue crew Jess Mancini, Bill Noakes.

Once again a jewel in the Fishers Green calendar delivered, great racing and improvement through out the fleet, tremendous fun throughout, heroics retold in the bar after racing, and loads of people getting their first taste of racing under their belts, competitors blessed with amazing sunsets, beers and burgers what's not to love about a Wednesday evening race (drift) I for one can't wait for the 2024 Sunset Salver to start again.

35 entries, 20 out of 22 races sailed, 8 different race winners, good times.

Overall Results:

1st 1742 vintage Merlin - Harry/Claudia
2nd 3252 vintage Merlin - Tony/Jess
3rd 5068 Solo - Richard Coulter
4th 3600 Aero - Blake Newman
5th 3055 vintage Merlin - Nick/Angie

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