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Merlin Rocket Thames and Vintage Series at Thames Sailing Club

by Peter Impey 14 May 21:41 BST 11 May 2024
Andy Harris and Sara Warren win the Merlin Rocket Thames and Vintage Series event at Thames SC © Peter Impey

On Saturday 11 May 2024 Thames S.C. hosted a combined Thames & Vintage Series Event for older Merlins.

Thames S.C. was founded in 1870 and in 1871 fifty-seven boats entered and started their Surbiton Regatta in 'bona fide rowing boats carrying one sail only and the property of gentlemen amateurs'. 153 years later for this event, number of sails was up to three, but entrant numbers were down considerably. A podium finish was guaranteed for all three entrants!

Andy Harris crewed by Sarah Warren, sailing 607 Crescendo and Peter Impey, crewed by Paul Nebel sailing 1939 War Horse were visitors from Tamesis Club, founded 1885. As they rigged up their boats a few shadows started to appear. Ollie Houseman crewed by Egle Tumosa sailing Luka 3560 travelled from Chew Valley. Race one started in full sunshine following a postponement. There was one race in the morning, and two after lunch.

With downstream starts the course was upwind to a port mark on the south side of Raven's Ait, and downwind upstream to a port mark by the barges. Crescendo and Luka had close racing at all times, while War Horse ploughed their own furrow at varying distances behind. After two races the score was 1,2 and 2,1.

A crucial third race with a shorter course was the decider. The mark was brought upstream some way but still tucked into the channel by the island.

The wind was gusty in patches remaining somewhat fickle and with holes and swirls by Raven's Ait. The river stream remains strong and presented a further challenge to the sailors. Tucking into the south bank out of the stream proved successful. On one occasion War Horse used the north channel on the far side of Raven's Ait to great effect.

The final analysis is that a single run was decisive in the third race. Crescendo launched their spinnaker and managed to open enough of a lead to put the result out of doubt. Congratulations to Andy Harris and Sarah Warren on the win. Andy is off to a good start in defending his overall Series victory in 2023.

The next event for the Vintage Series is at Tamesis Sailing Cub on Saturday 18th May followed by the Thames Series sponsored by Craftinsure on Sunday 19th May.

Thames Series:

1st 607 Crescendo - Andy Harris / Sarah Warren
2nd 3560 Luka - Ollie Houseman / Egle Tumosa
3rd 1939 War Horse - Peter Impey / Paul Nebel

Vintage Series (Handicap Series):

1st 3560 Luka - Ollie Houseman / Egle Tumosa
2nd 607 Crescendo - Andy Harris / Sarah Warren
3rd 1939 War Horse - Peter Impey / Paul Nebel

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