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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Merlin Thames Series at Tamesis Club

by Rob Cage 22 May 11:55 BST 19 May 2024
Richard Harris and Sara Warren win the Thames Series event at Tamesis © Chris Wade

Following a successful Vintage Merlin Open on the Saturday, newer Merlins were invited to join the fleet for the Sunday Open meeting, part of the Merlin Thames Series. Bright sunshine and a 5 - 8knt breeze, all be it with the holes in the wind you would expect on the Thames, greeted the 12 boat fleet.

The Race team had the additional challenge of a Royal Waterman fleet due to come through the race at the scheduled start time, luckily these guys struck to the Surrey bank as the Merlin's short tacked up the breezier Middlesex side.

With the Thames still running fast from winter floods upstream, taking the boats over the line, coupled with some first race over-enthusiasm, it was no surprise to see a couple of boats called 'over' on the start. Race 1 ended as a Harris family battle with Andy in 607, Crescendo crewed by Lyra Wade taking the gun from Richard, crewed by Sarah Warren, in 1079, Passing Cloud, a Tamesis 1, 2.

Third was Olly Houseman and Egle Tamosa in 3560, Luka from Chew Valley SC. Further down the fleet the puffy breeze generated a lot of overtaking opportunities, leading to place changing all the way to the finish line.

Race 2 got off in a similar 5knt breeze and again the stream caught out some on the start, even race 1 winner had to restart, but such was his speed he was back in the leading pack by the end of the first lap. As the fleet bunched up in the light patches it was good to have on the water judge Chris Simon only a few boat lengths away, suppressing that urge to throw in one too many roll gybes.

There was significant place changing throughout the race and on the finish line 1692, Hullabulo Rob Cage and Alison Copper from Thames SC who came through from the back of the leading pack to the gun by half a boat length from Richard Harris with Andy Harris in third.

The wind had dropped for Race 3, The maths said any of the leading 4 boats could take the event and with it all to play you would expect a little caution on a start line with a strong stream pushing the Merlins over, but no, two of the contenders for the overall win were called over and had to return.

Richard Harris pulled clear on the first run and was never seen again, but behind 1097 the chasing pack of five boats were never more than a few boat lengths apart making for some great spectator sport from the gathering crowd on the river bank. A couple of minutes after Richard and Sarah had taken the win and the meeting, the bulk of the fleet finished, overlapped as in the previous races.

This time it was Stuart Jenkins and Nicola Scaddan in 1097, Flinkidink second and Olly Housemen and Egle Tamosa in third.

The volunteers at Tamesis Club turned out in force to enable a superb day of river racing at its best with close competition throughout the fleet. Overall the event was won by a single point. Craftinsure, Merlin Class insurers, provided prizes.

Whilst the Vintage Open had been the day before, the light winds made it an old boat day, with the newer wide boats not getting much of a look in. The newest boat in the top three being 60 years old.

The next event on the Thames Series is at Upper Thames Sailing Club on 8th September.

Event Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1stPassing Cloud1079Richard HarrisSara WarrenTamesis(2)213
2ndCrescendo607Andy HarrisLyra WadeTamesis13(6)3
3rdHullabalou1692Rob CageAlison CooperThames SC41(5)5
4thLuka3560Ollie HousemanEgle TumosaiteChew Valley Lake SC3(4)36
5thFlinkidink1097Stuart JenkinsNicola ScaddanHampton /UTSC(5)527
6thLady Anne1978Joe McLaughlinHuw McLauglinTamesis(6)6410
7thAvenger1004Ken DuffellMatt ValentineTamesis7(8)714
8thBambusa847Peter MasonRichard MasonTamesis87(DNS)15
9thIndecision3677Tim BarrPeter ImpeyTamesis(OCS)9817
10thSeven Eye3520Maurice JosephHenry JosephTamesis911(DNS)20
11thPrecious3333John AdamsZoe AdamsTamesis(DNF)10DNS22

Thames Series overall, so far:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewThamesMinimaTamesis
1stCrescendo607Andy HarrisSara Warren112
2ndLuka3560Ollie HousemanEgle Tumosaite224
3rdFlinkidink1097Stuart JenkinsNicola Scaddan 35
4thWar Horse1939Peter ImpeyPaul Nebel37 
5thPassing Cloud1079Richard HarrisSara Warren  1
6thHullabalou1692Rob CageAlison Cooper  3
7thWarrior1952Paul SeamenPavel Pavlov 4 
8thAfter Myth3054Ben ArcherOlivia Archer 5 
9thLady Anne1978Joe McLaughlinHuw McLauglin  6
10thBowbelle685Denis LockwoodErica Bishop 6 
11thAvenger1004Ken DuffellMatt Valentine  7
12thBambusa847Peter MasonRichard Mason  8
13thIndecision3677Tim BarrPeter Impey  9
14thSeven Eye3520Maurice JosephHenry Joseph  10
15thPrecious3333John AdamsZoe Adams  11

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