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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

HD Sails Merlin Rocket Midland Circuit Round 1 at Midland Sailing Club

by James Goodfellow 21 Mar 05:34 GMT 17 March 2024
Matt Biggs and Beka Jones, winners of the HD Sails Merlin Rocket Midland Circuit Round 1 at Midland Sailing Club © Martin Smith

A fleet of 22 Merlin Rockets gathered to attend the first HD Sails Midland Circuit, combined with Classic and Vintage open meeting providing an excellent turn out of Merlin Rockets from across the eras.

With an early rain fall topped off with a road closure right next to the club entrance some additional laps of the reservoir were undertaken by visiting sailors, however on arrival Midland SC provided a warm welcome with a bacon sandwich and cup of tea.

The forecast was for a steady 9 gusting 15 knots with a wind direction from the south west.

Race 1

The race officer set a good start line and the fleet got away on the first attempt with one gun sounding after the start for an individual recall. A couple of boats towards the port end of the line had space and speed to tack onto port and subsequently the rest of the fleet followed. Matt Biggs and Beka Jones had instant speed and rounded first. Steven and Gillian Leney and Rob Kennaugh and Andrew Prosser were in hot pursuit. Richard Adams was also busy breaking his main halyard which added to the morning's entertainment.

As you would expect Edgbaston reservoir was littered with gusts and lulls, headers and lifts resulting in a whole array of place swapping over the course of five laps, with the exception of Matt and Beka who maintained their lead to the finish. My (James Goodfellow) crew Rick Cornes did a fine job talking me up the beats and we managed to sniff out a little bit of pressure and slipped past Rob and Andrew and Steven and Gillian to take second place with Rob and Andrew finishing strongly in third and Steven and Gillian in fourth. A worthy mention also going to Mark McKeever and Lauren Morgan having a very solid race coming in fifth.

Race 2

The next race was held after lunch and the Race Officer opted for a course change to keep everyone on their toes, once again the Race Officer set a good line and the fleet got away cleanly, with an almost identical start the whole fleet tacked onto port and headed up the middle of the reservoir, with Nigel Hudson and Josh Oates being the exception, heading hard left. Matt and Beka Jones were first around the windward mark with Nigel and Josh rounding second followed by Richard Adams and Jason Larner in third and myself and Rick in fourth.

Nigel and Josh unfortunately suffered spinnaker issues on the first hoist letting the fleet through.

Matt and Beka held onto first with Richard and Jason in a convincing second with myself and Rick finishing in third fending off Colin Anderson and Sean Anderson who had an excellent race showing some pace downwind taking fourth ahead of Rob Kennaugh and Andrew Prosser in fifth.

Race 3

The race officer opted to stick with the same course and the fleet once again got off cleanly, this time myself and Rick Cornes started well and found a nice lane to tack onto port leading up the reservoir. Myself and Rick rounded first with Richard and Jason in second and Matt and Beka in third, Matt and Beka found some pressure and slipped inside Richard at the gybe mark taking them into second. The first lap was a tightly fought affair with Matt and Beka taking the lead upwind on the second lap with Richard and Jason moving up to second and Rob and Andrew storming through into third, it was at this point that myself and Rick opted for an early shower. Matt and Beka took another win, Richard and Jason took second with Rob and Andrew in third. Steven and Gillian had a good race and finished fourth. Colin and Sean were clearly getting to grips with the conditions and had another solid race in fifth.

Overall Matt and Beka were deserved winners with Richard Adams & Jason Larner in second and myself and Rick Cornes in 3rd.

Many thanks to Midland sailing club for hosting a very enjoyable open meeting.

The next HD Sails Midland Circuit event is at Burton Sailing Club on 13th April. The next Classic and Vintage event is at Ranelagh Sailing Club on 7th April which is also a combined Thames Series event supported by Craftinsure.

Overall Results:

1stMatt BiggsBeka JonesBartley‑1112
2ndRichard AdamsJason LarnerMidland SCRET224
3rdJames GoodfellowRichard CornesNetly23RET5
4thRob KennaughAndrew ProsserMidland SC3‑536
5thSteven LeneyGillian LeneyBlithfield4‑648
6thColin AndersonSean AndersonBartley‑6459
7thMark McKeeverLauren MorganMidland SC5DNC914
8thMark ReddingtonLouis FowlerBartley8‑9614
9thHoward EelesJustin GemBartley‑147815
10thPaul HollisSarah DuvalBartley78‑1015
11thNigel HudsonJosh OatesBartley9‑10716
12thG. WrightP. MasonBlithfield‑12111122
13thPeter MaleTim MaleBlithfield11‑121223
14thEvan BaseLouise HassallMidland SC‑15151328
15thMartin SmithKaren BestowRedditch13‑171629
16thGuy BrowneGreg MartinTrent Valley1713RET30
17thMike CollesSophie ForbesMidland SC‑20161430
18thDavid LucasRobyn TaylorTrimpley16‑181531
19thJulian HarmsGeorge BenderMidland SC10DNCDNC33
21stRichard BurtonMariella Burton MooreMedley SC18RETDNC41
22ndDan BarrettRachael TaylorMidland SC19RETRET42

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