Results / Inland Championships

Bristol Corinthian Y.C.
08/06/2024 - 09/06/2024
Silver Tiller:
Multi-Day Silver Tiller:

Thank you Sophie Mackley for the report and Kate Lee for the photographs.

The Merlin Rocket Allen Inland Championships on the 8 and 9 June, were raced at Bristol Corinthian YC, a fantastic venue with a wonderful expanse of fresh water which the Merlins haven’t been to for many many years - although no-one could remember quite how long ago.

The forecast was for a warm 12-20 knots from the North West, and it was 20 knots (gusting 25 knots) when we were racing, but did drop to 12 knots and less when were on the shore, which was lovely for sitting outside the club in the sunshine enjoying a drink.

Forgive me if I get any of this wrong, but having done nine races, many more starts and 27 laps of a trapezoid, in a similar wind direction and strength, things got a little blurry, and at a time when it was as fresh in my mind as it was ever going to be, I fell asleep on the journey home.

After a couple of failed starts, the U-flag came up and we were away. Fast out of the blocks were Chris Jennings and Pete Nicholson - two races and two wins, and with the reigning champions taking an uncharacteristic dip in race two they were looking fallible.

Race three saw a return to form for Tom Gillard and Rachael Gray, with Tom Stewart and Rob Allen notching up their first second place of the weekend. The tight reaches favoured the strong and tall but not the toe strap fittings of Chris and Pete, resulting in a perfect back somersault on the tight three sail bottom reach. Sadly this was terminal and the end of the weekend for them and a long drive home to Essex for Pete wondering what might have been.

With helms complaining of forearms cramping and crews complaining about everything, we set off for races four and five with no sign of the wind abating. Consistency was going to prove the key to success and despite a swim in the first race James Wells and Anna Aylward, were back on form notching up 4, 3, 3 and then came race five, which for them ended with the kite in the water with a rudder shaped hole. Tom and Rob had also kept their finger on the go button, only to be awarded the only black flag of the weekend in race four, but came back with second in the last race of the day.

Going into day two, the quietly consistent Tim Saxton and Holly McArthur were second behind Tom and Rach, with Chris Gould and Sophie Mackley third. The course was the now very familiar trapezoid, the wind direction uncannily similar and the strength a bit more than we all wanted after the day before.

Race six and Tom and Rach, Tim and Holly tacked off the port end of the line and fought with each other round the course to finish in that order, with Chris and Sophie climbing to third just infront of Mike and Jane Calvert.

Throughout the weekend many boats led a race at the windward mark but didn’t quite manage to hang on to take the race win - these included Mark Barwell and Louise Johnson, James and Anna, William Warren and Charlotte Fildes, Chris and Sophie, James Goodfellow and Richard Cornes.

James and Richard sadly ended their weekend early when on the boat breaking bottom reach which saw their mast disappear over the side with a loud bag that echoed round the reservoir. Prior to that they had been putting together a great series.

The racing was ridiculously tight, with lots of place changes throughout the fleet on the shifty beats and runs. It was great to see lots of new and old faces with particular mention to Dan Alsop (of unknown age) sailing with youngest crew Noah Helm, who won the old boats prize. A new pairing of brothers Matt and Ben Shorrock showed great speed in their recently purchased Merlin and are certainly ones to watch in the future. Youngsters Rory and James Gifford travelled from Scotland to hone their skills with their respective helms for Salcombe week, and Tom Ballantine and Maddy Anderson peaked right at the end with a fourth showing that their Salcombe training is on track.

Points for artistic merit went to Alex Warren and George Bender for their pitchpole on the bottom reach of chaos, Clive Eplett sailing with Nigel Hufton nailed the committee boat end only to sheet in and fall out, and Nigel and Freya Hudson who had a heartbreaking capsize just before the finish line when Nigel left the boat.

Overall the well deserved winners were Tom Gillard and Rachael Gray with an impressive scoreline of six firsts and a second, although reassuring they had to work hard for it. Tim and Holly sailed a fantastic second day to firmly secure second (including a win in race eight, which I forgot to mention earlier), and Chris and Sophie finished third.

In the fleets, winners of gold were William and Charlotte, followed by Mark Stockbridge and James Gifford, Mark and Lou. Silver was won by the increasingly hard to beat Dave Lee and Angela Bridges from Matt and Ben and Dan and Noah. Racing in the Bronze fleet was super-tight across all nine races and the top three finished in consecutive places, with brother and sister Ali and Cat Wallace being crowned winners, from Nigel and Freya Hudson, with Guy Browne and Greg Martin in third.

Tom and Rob won the aptly titled Bald Head trophy for doing well and being old. John Tailby was the first under 25 crew, sailing with Chris Martin and finishing and impressive fourth overall. Female crews outnumbered the men in the top ten and it was Rachel Gray who won first female and Caroline Croft crewed by Livvy Bell who won first female helm. Mike and Jane Calvert won the Martime cup for first related helm and crew and Shoreham won best club.

At the end of racing, many helms were heard to mutter that they thought it had been a pretty tough weekend for the crews - words not often spoken in the back of the boat, and a true testament to how exhausting it was.

A massive thank you to our generous sponsors Allen, to Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club, our race officer Arky and his team.

The next Merlin Rocket event is the Craftinsure Silver Tiller at Whitstable on the 22nd and 23rd June combined with the Allen SE Series event.

  Number Helm Crew Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9    
1 3759 Tom Gillard Rachael Grey Sheff Viking 2 15 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 8 Tinker
2 3807 Tim Saxton Holly Macarthur Itchenor 4 3 6 6 4 2 2 1 dnf 22  
3 3803 Chris Gould Sophie Mackley Shoreham 6 8 8 2 3 3 4 7 2 27  
4 3787 Chris Martin John Tailby Bartley 13 5 5 8 6 9 8 3 3 38 U25 Crew
5 3812 Tom Stewart Rob Allen Salcombe 14 6 2 bfd 2 11 9 5 5 40 Bald head
6 3793 James Goodfellow Rick Cornes Warsash 7 2 7 4 8 15 3 dnf dnc 46  
7 3796 William Warren Lottie Fildes Shoreham 11 9 4 5 7 8 7 13 9 49  
8 3691 Mike Calvert Jane Calvert Axe 5 7 11 9 10 4 dnf 8 8 51 Maritime
9 3820 Caroline Gould Livvy Bell   3 11 10 7 11 6 11 18 6 54 Female Helm
10 3727 Mark Stockbridge James Gifford Ranelagh 9 12 14 10 5 ufd 12 4 7 59  
11 3746 James Wells Anna Aylward RYA 17 4 3 3 dnf 12 13 12 ufd 64  
12 3683 Tom Ballentine Maddy Anderson   12 10 15 15 13 23 10 10 4 74  
13 3696 Alex Warren George Bender Shoreham 27 16 12 16 9 10 6 9 15 77  
14 3815 Mark Barwell Lou Johnson Lymington Town 18 19 19 12 12 16 5 6 10 79  
15 3751 Mary Henderson-White Rory Gifford Salcombe 15 13 17 11 14 5 15 11 ufd 84  
16 3716 Steve Leney Gill Leney Blithfield 19 21 18 14 16 7 17 16 dns 109  
17 3779 Dave Lee Angela Bridges Starcross 16 21 21 17 17 ufd 14 14 13 112  
18 3745 Paul Dean Russel Hall Wembley 20 20 19 18 dns 17 18 15 11 118  
19 3747 Clive Eplett Nigel Hufton   22 18 20 19 15 20 16 17 16 121  
20 3658 Matt Shorrock Ben Shorrock Frensham 10 17 13 21 dnc 19 dnf dnc 14 125  
21 3801 Matt Biggs Annabelle Steward Bartley 8 14 16 13 18 dnc dnc dnc dnc 131  
22 3627 Ali Wallace Cat Wallace South Cerney 26 25 26 20 19 13 21 20 dnc 144  
23 3662 Nigel Hudson Freya Hudson Bartley 25 22 23 23 dns 21 19 22 17 147  
24 3690 Guy Browne Greg Martin Trent Valley 28 26 25 22 20 ufd 22 19 18 152  
25 3539 (3691) Dan Alsop Noah Helm Lyme 24 24 22 dns dns 14 dnf dnf 12 158 Old boat
26 3813 Steve Harling Eleanor Thomas Starcross 29 27 27 24 dnc 22 23 23 dnc 175  
27 3821 Gavin Willis John Teague BCYC 23 rtd dnc dnc dnc 18 20 21 dnc 185  
28 3642 Stephen Graham Danielle Graham   21 23 24 dns dns dnc dnc dnc dnc 192  
29 3368 Ian Laing Andrew Hunt Hollingworth 30 dnc dnc dnc dnc 24 24 dnf dnc 202  
30 3775 Chris Jennings Pete Nicholson Brightlingsea 1 1 dnf dnc dnc dnc dnc dnc dnc 219  
  Team Prize Shoreham                          
  Not awarded Fossil Bowl                          

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