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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 2 at Bartley Sailing Club

by George Bender 17 Apr 07:22 BST 14 April 2024
Mark rounding during Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 2 at Bartley © BSC Members

Dear Andrew Prosser,

Sunday 14th April saw your Merlin Rocket along with 20 others gather at Bartley for what Chris Gould might call 'fierce contest' and what Matt Biggs might call a 'nice float around'.

This was the second Silver Tiller and the third HD Sails Midland Circuit, Classic and Vintage event in the series. I have no doubt you are enjoying yourself on your month-long trip to Australia, but I regret to inform you that you missed out on a very fierce float around!

It is with thanks that I write to you for lending us your boat, and with regret that I inform you that the traveller once again decided to abandon us mid-event. Frankly, I do not feel I am to blame for this issue, given that when it broke last time, you decided only the port side rope needed replacing. Thankfully, on this occasion, the traveller was kind enough to defecate the bed in time for us to make a hasty bodge before the start of the second race.

We were not alone with our issues, and I heard from a reliable source that Matt Biggs dropped the tiller extension at a leeward rounding and spent quote 'aaaaages' pulling the main sheet back in. Harsh criticism from his long-serving crew Beka Jones.

Colin and Sean Anderson obliterated their UJ between tiller and extension, so were forced to cruise over the line keel boat style, but amazingly still finished well.

Even making our way in for lunch brought danger and despair for some teams. One particular helm of questionable experience (Tom Gillard), managed to drop his crew (Rachael Gray) ashore while he went off by himself for a bit. The single-handed PY handicap of the Merlin Rocket remains to be determined.

Moreover, despite some busy leeward roundings often fraught with risk of collision, claims only went so far as protest, and not to any insurance company! (Craftinsure continues to sponsor our events, touch wood.)

Chris Martin claimed there wasn't any reason for boats to overtake him, and it was a little hard to understand what he might have been on about. It would have seemed rude to have explained to him that the boats were in fact, in a race. Presumably he was expressing his confusion over the right way to sail the course, but nobody was able to help him, because nobody else knew what they were doing either.

As the fleet is growing accustomed to at the Merlin Rocket open meetings, Tom and Rachael are somewhat untouchable and it only remains to speculate how powerful the motor they've fitted is, and how they've been able to hide it so well.

Having said this, the first race showed a little surprise as Tom and Rachael did not lead for the first lap or so, before restoring order at the front.

Not dissimilar from Saturday's Craftinsure Silver Tiller at Burton, the team of Chris Gould and Pete Gray had a close tussle with Matt Biggs and Beka Jones for second overall.

Chris and Pete took second place in races 1 and 2 to secure second overall, but some consolation came for Matt and Beka when they stole second place in the final race, right on the line, from Chris and Pete.

In the second race, Rob Kennaugh and I (George Bender) managed a podium saving gybe to cross Matt and Beka on port and take third.

Someone compared this to Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell's gold medal winning gybe in the 49er at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and who am I to disagree?

The racing was extremely close throughout the fleet, right to the end of each race - boats finishing a few seconds apart after an hour of racing.

The strong wind reaches saw some attempts at windward overtakes with boats luffing in response. Anyone listening closely might have been able to hear Rob defending his position with the words taken almost verbatim from Nick Craig's Helming to Win 'Sorry James [Wells], it's just I'd rather you didn't overtake me.'

The summary of the event wouldn't be complete without a shout out to the race management team who got three races away in a fleet not known for its good start line behaviour, and to the folks in the galley who kept everyone well fed throughout the day.

The next Craftinsure Silver Tiller is at Pwllheli over the May Bank Holiday weekend combined with the HD Sails Midland Circuit and the Northern Circuit. The Classic and Vintage fleets are next at Fishers Green on 20th April.

Although it will be good to have you back in the country, you will sadly be taking Rob with you to your next events.

Best wishes from your substitute crew,
George

Overall Results:

PosDivisionSail NoHelmCrewFleetClubR1R2R3Pts
1stModern3759GILLARD TomGRAY RachelPlatinumRYA‑1112
2ndModern59CGOULD ChrisGRAY PetePlatinumLymington Town SC22‑34
3rdModern3801BIGGS MattJONES BekaPlatinumBartley SC3‑425
4thModern3700KENNAUGH RobBENDER GeorgeGoldMidland SC‑6347
5thModern3765ADAMS RichHOLMES JamesGoldMidland SC‑75510
6thModern3820CROFT CarolineBELL LivyPlatinumLymington Town SC4‑8711
7thModern3791GORRINGE JonCURRELL MattPlatinumParkstone YC57‑812
8thModern3787MARTIN ChrisTAILBY JohnPlatinumBartley SC‑86612
9thModern3667KEELING PaulKEELING MichelleSilverBlithfield SC9‑121019
10thModern3716LENEY SteveLENEY GillianGoldBlithfield SC109(DNC)19
11thModern3746WELLS JamesALYWARD AnnaPlatinumRYA‑1211920
12thModern3749ANDERSON ColinANDERSON SeanGoldBartley SC‑13101222
13thModern3730HOLLIS PaulMASON PaulaSilverBartley SC11‑171324
14thModern3633HARMS TimothyOATES JoshSilverMidland SC‑15141125
15thModern3662HUDSON NigelHUDSON FreyaBronzeBartley SC‑16131427
16thModern3695SLACK PeteBROWN ImmyBronzeNottingham Trent Valley SC1416(DNC)30
17thClassic3547MALE PeterMALE TimSilverRYA1715(DNC)32
18thVintage3054JENKINS StuartSCADDAN NicholaBronzeHampton SC/UTSC1818(DNC)36
19thClassic3567SMITH MartinBESTON KarenBronzeRedditch SC2019(DNC)39
20thModern3742EELES HowardGEM JustinBronzeBartley SC19(DNF)DNC41
21stModern3581LUCAS DavidTAYLOR RobynBronzeBartley SC21(DNF)DNC43

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