The Salcombe Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller on 7th and 8th April comprised of 59 entries, making it one of the largest open meetings of the year and causing the usual mayhem on the start line we normally see from Merlin Week!
On the Friday before the meeting, many of the sailors celebrated the marriage of James and Gina Warren, which was also the cause for some very sore heads on the Saturday morning! Along with the fuzzy heads, there were some very light sailing conditions forecast creating some very challenging racing. The first race went underway with a blistering start from Tim Fells and Fran Gifford close to the Portlemouth shore, followed closely by Chris Jennings and Oli Wells. There was a close battle throughout the race, which saw Chris and Oli nip past to take the win followed by Tim and Fran. In 3rd place were sisters Pippa Taylor and Jen Dodds.
The breeze filled in slightly for the start of the second race and after shaking their hangovers, Andy 'Taxi' Davis and Alex Warren got off to a cracking start. They extended their lead by quite a margin, however with a lack of breeze through the bag, Christian Birrell and Ian Dobson managed to creep their way back to them and claim the win. 2nd place was Taxi and Alex followed by Simon and Ally Potts.
On the Sunday morning there was a strong lack of wind, but the sailors were hopeful and were greeted with a slight increase in pressure on the way out to the start. Matt Biggs and Becka Jones lead round the windward mark followed by Taxi and Alex, who dropped back to fourth place. A fierce duel between the Calvert's, Mike and Jane, the Henderson's, Will and Mary and Matt and Becka commenced throughout the majority of the race. Mike and Jane managed to come out on top, followed by Matt and Becka and in 3rd were Will and Mary.
It was all to play for in the final race and with another great start, Matt and Becka took the lead early on. Rob Henderson and Alice Markham, with the theme tune to strictly come dancing humming in their heads, made the tactical decision to cross over to Salcombe side, against the current and the odds. This paid for them massively, which saw them pile the pressure onto Matt and Becka. They managed to keep cool heads to remain in the lead and take the win, 2nd was Rob and Alice and in 3rd was Caroline Croft and Matt Lullham-Robinson.
The final results of this relatively high scoring weekend were in 3rd Taxi and Alex, 2nd Mike and Jane and the winners of Salcombe Open Meeting 2018 were Christian and Ian. Many thanks from all the Merlin sailors to Salcombe Yacht Club for a superb event!
Thank you to sponsors Doombar, Salcombe Gin, Magic Marine and Craftinsure.