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Allen Merlin Rocket Inland Championship at Bartley Sailing Club

by The Witchsmeller Pursuivant 13 Dec 2023 07:29 GMT 9-10 December 2023
Allen Merlin Rocket Inlands at Bartley © Simon Hardiman

I was summoned to the county of Mercia to investigate claims that the Merlin Rocket Inland Championships had been bewitched. Last year following a great drought the event had to be postponed. This year's event was originally scheduled shortly after Passiontide, but a flood descended and once more the protagonists were made to wait until after the Feast of the Harvest where, once more, demons removed all the wind and poisoned the water with a growth of weed so thick it was said men could walk upon it.

So it was decided that on the 7th Day of Advent the protagonists would gather once more, and that I would attend in order to determine source of this evil that had befallen this celebration to discover the champion of the inland waterways. Several alleged evil omens I investigated but the sighting of the Duck of Taunton was unable to be verified and the report in the village of Illey of a horse with 8 legs and two heads was upon closer scrutiny found to be two horses standing next to each other. No evil sign could be found to cancel the festivities and the promise of both wind and water caused the roads north to Mercia to flood with seamen, eager to take part in this gathering of champions and compete for the prizes so generously donated by Allen Brothers, our patrons.

On arrival the day was dark and damp and whilst the air was ominous any signs of the promised storm were nowhere to be seen. The water was lit by the headgear adorning the Lighthousekeepers of Lymington. The Great Grumbledook himself in the form of PRO Steve Ward set forth to lay the course and line in a shifting breeze punctuated with wave upon wave of rain. The ordeal of five races in such testing conditions should prove the guilt or otherwise of The Grumbledook despite his absence at the other events no-one is beyond suspicion!

So it was the first race started on the button and the protagonists drifted upwind in driving rain. The conditions didn’t change much and a large lead was developed by Sir Thomas Gillard and the Lady Rachael Gray such that they would not be challenged again. Jousts were closely fought in the group behind and the racing tight.

A shift in the wind necessitated a course change and this time the fleet were eager and pulled back. The Grumbledook made his adjustments and this time the fleet were held under the black banner of doom. One more Sir Thomas and Racheal set to build an unassailable lead through by the end of the race there were signs of sunlight and the rain had started to ease. The wind also began to increase and swung to the west though the chill did not abate.

The Grumbledook again rolled his dice and the fleet were away once more under the banner of doom. It was noted that in both this race and the one after a shift that seemeth to be good would oft proveth to be evil and while Sir Thomas and Rachel did achieve a further two victories they were not unchallenged as pretenders in the form of the Clan of Martin came forth to test their skills. The wind began to blow as race 4 came to its end and Sir Thomas and Lady Rachael took to the shore, their victory assured and a lance broken in the wind.

A further swing to the right saw the Grumbledook change his course once more. The wind was strong by now and a boat from the Land of the Dragon found its fire quenched in a prestart trial by water and thus proveth their innocence in the alleged class bewitchment. The sun came out as we entered the last race of the day. This would prove to be a challenge for tired bodies, but another Sir Thomas, Thomas Stewart ably assisted by the King of Merlin Rocketry Rob Allen set forth to take first place in the 5th race.

Thus Sir Thomas Gillard and Rachel Gray are crowned Champions of the Inland Waterways once more. Much thanks must go to Bartley SC for putting on this contest at short notice and of course to Allen Bros for their patronage.

The source of the bewitchment of this event remains a mystery, the next contest to determine the inlande champion shall be held in the Duchy of Cheddar at Bristol Corinthian YC on the third weekend after Whitsuntide.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewFleetClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st3759GILLARD TomGRAY RachelPlatinumRYA1111(DNC)4
2nd3801BIGGS MattJONES BekaPlatinumBartley SC2244‑612
3rd3809HOLMAN ArronBOWERMAN OwenPlatinumHollowell SC353‑6314
4th3700KENNAUGH RobBENDER GeorgeGoldMidland SC4483‑919
5th3812STEWART TomALLEN RobPlatinumSalcombe YC8‑1367122
6th3719MARTIN IanMARTIN ChrisPlatinumBurghfield Sc12622(DNC)22
7th3814GOSS JamesWHITE ChrisPlatinumSouth Staffs SC5‑1055823
8th3791GORRINGE JohnCURRELL MattPlatinumParkstone SC103‑139527
9th3724BRADBURN EdCOATE JonnyPlatinumSouth Staffs SC611‑1510229
10th3787MARTIN ChrisTAILBY JohnPlatinumBartley SC7711‑12429
11th3746WELLS JAMESAYLWARD AnnaGoldRYA‑11978731
12th3727STOCKBRIDGE MarkCOTTER CharlieGoldRanalagh SC989‑131036
13th3749ANDERSON ColinANDERSON SeanSilverBartley SC‑141410111146
14th3662HUDSON NigelHUDSON FreyaBronzeBartley SC17‑2012141255
15th3742EELES HowardOATES JoshBronzeBartley SC1512‑16161457
16th3815BARWELL MarkJOHNSON LouiseGoldLymington Town SC16151415(DNC)60
17th3547MALE PeterMALE TimSilverRYA‑191617171363
18th3698DOWNS DavidDOWNS RosBronzeTata SC‑201718181568
19th3805REDDINGTON MarkFOWLER LewisSilverBartley SC181819(DNC)DNC79
20th3769CRANFORD‑SMITH GrahamWINDER OllieSilverSalcombe YC1319(DNC)DNCDNC80
21st3581LUCAS DavidTAYLOR RobynBronzeBartley SC212221(DNC)DNC88
22nd3643BASE EvanJAMES MalcolmBronzeMidland SC(DNC)2120DNCDNC89
23rd3695SLACK PeteBROWN Immy Nottingham Trent Valley SC(DNF)DNFDNCDNCDNC96

1st Gold Fleet Rob Kennaugh and George Bender
1st Silver Fleet Colin & Sean Anderson
1st Bronze Fleet Nigel and Freya Hudson
1st Female - Rachael Gray
1st Helm and crew related - Ian and Chris Martin
1st Youth Crew - Mat Currel
1st Youth Helm - Evan Base
1st Classic Boat - 3547 Peter and Tim Male
Team Prize - Bartley SC

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