Results / Open Meeting

Salcombe Y.C.
12/04/2014 - 13/04/2014
Silver Tiller: O
Multi-Day Silver Tiller: Both

38 Merlin Rockets came to contest the St Austell Brewery-sponsored open meeting at Salcombe YC, part of the Silver Tiller series sponsored by Craftinsure. No less than four current Olympians plus the vast majority of the front of the fleet regulars would make for seriously hot competition, and the ever fickle conditions at Salcombe would mean that no boat was safe until over the finish line!

Saturday dawned sunny, but with a chilly breeze of around force three blowing up the estuary. The tide was also flooding quite strongly, meaning that the edges were going to be the place to be off the line and things were going to be rather tight! The fleet got away first time, but several boats over on the Mill Bay side were to discover that the large JCB returning the sand to Smalls Cove after the winter storms was indicative of wider re-landscaping elsewhere. The water depth - especially off East Portlemouth - is substantially shallower than last year and at least two boats suffered race ending foil damage. The race was won by Stuart Bithell, crewed by Kate McGregor who carried a huge lead throughout the race. Matt Biggs and John Hackett came in second, with Jon Gorringe and Toby Lewis third.

All boats managed to effect repairs and the entire fleet returned for the second race. Someone obviously thought they needed more time as a general recall was needed to get the fleet away. Things were much tighter in this race, which was won by Andy Davies and Tom Pygall, with Stuart and Kate having to settle for second and Fellow Olympians Luke Patience and Christian Birrell in third.

Sunday was to be a very different day. The gradient breeze – what there was of it – was blowing out of Batson creek out of the estuary, and the tide was just coming off the ebb into slack water. It was all about where the patches of wind were and which direction they came from in this one, on the way up to Gerston for the first leg Alan Warren and William Carrol were looking good, however from the terrace it was difficult to see what was going on and we were forced to wait until the fleet reappeared out of the bag. When they did reappear fleet veteran Richard Dee, crewed by Chris Gould had wriggled their way through the bag to take first place by about 6 inches from Simon Blake and Phil Dalby. Richard admitted in the post race interview that he'd left it a bit late to stage a 470 campaign, but was happy to act as a pacemaker if required.

So all was to play for in race four. Taxi and Tom ideally needed a win, but second would do provided team Bithell/McGregor were fifth or lower. By now the tide had finally started to think about flooding, but it was becoming quite a warm day and the sea breeze could have a impact depending on when or if it made an appearance.

The fleet got away first time, though there were a couple of boats OCS. The gradient breeze had increased slightly but was still very patchy and again was blowing out of Batson. The fleet when it reappeared out of the bag was very tight, a battle was taking place between Richard Whitworth/Andrea Ralph, Taxi and Tom and Staurt and Kate with a pack of vultures behind ready to pounce on any unfortunate placement of breeze. Richard/Andrea and Taxi/Tom had little between them heading past the club however Richard and Andrea had a large lead round Blackstone, but promptly sailed into a black hole around 100 yards behind the finish line. This was the moment that the sea breeze chose to make an appearance, up went Taxi's spinnaker and he was looking good to steal the race until he sailed into the same black hole as Richard, around 4 lengths behind him and they crossed the line in this order.

Looking behind, Matt Biggs and John Hackett had wriggled past Stuart/Kate into third and fourth and it looked like they were going to finish in this order and Stuart and Kate to win the meeting – but they sailed into the black hole! Steve and Gill Leney – who must have rounded Blackstone in 12th place – had picked up one of Salcombe's "heavenly" gusts and promptly sailed up the – till this moment unfavoured – town side in almost planing breeze to take fourth place, and hand the meeting to club mates Taxi/Tom.

So, Andy Davies and Tom Pygall won the meeting, Stuart Bithell and Kate Mcgregor were second and Richard Whitworth and Andrea Ralph third. The Turner Tan lines in the dinghy park afterwards shoed that the fleet had had a great weekend in fantastic weather – Bring on Merlin week 2014!

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stKeyser Sole3684Andy DavisTom Pygall 51‑828
2ndSpeed Machine3742Stuart BlithellKate McGregorHLSC12‑758
3rdFaithless3703Richard WhitworthAndrea RalphParkstone6‑116113
4thPokin the Turtle3743Matt BiggsJohn HackettBlithfield28‑14313
5thQuick Fix3691Mike CalvertJane CalvertAxe YC743‑1414
6thFragile3727Tim FellsChris DownhamHayling/Salcombe465(DNF)15
7thNeedle Makers3610Richard DeeChris GouldMidland‑991919
8thDidily Pokey3754Jon GorringeNicola BassSalcombe3712‑2122
9thSuperfast Jelly Fish3738Simon BlakePhil DalbyCookham Reach‑28162624
10thThe Clone Wars3735David Winder Hollingworth Lake105‑291025
11thRed Mistress3759Luke PatienceChristian BirralRYA‑173161231
12thSalmon en Croute3702Duncan SalmonHarriet SalmonWembley12‑2711831
13thRobert3756William WarrenMark Oakby 812‑191434
14thCarbonfootprint3716Steve LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield1813‑21435
15thBlack Pearl3685Sophie MackleyJames WarrenShoreham19144‑2837
16th 3580MIke MackieTina MackieRoyal Dart1517‑18739
17thTiger Tiger3696Alan WarrenBill CarrollShoreham24‑33101145
18thWhy Ask3740Patrick BlakeJilly BlakeCookham Reach16‑20151445
19thMoist3643Tim HarridgeTheo Harris 21‑26131246
20thBear Necessities3741Simon LyttonJackie LyttonHayling Island1115‑272147
21st 3688Ben HollisCaroline CroftRYA13‑25201447
22ndHot Totty3676Frances GiffordBenjamin Harridge 2022‑251456
23rdWild Card3656Oli TurnerAlex WarrenStarcross(DNF)109OCS58
24thGangsta Paradice3539Dan AlsopJennie KingLyme Regis231817‑2458
25thBlood Sweat & Beers3730Paul HollisLisa ScottBlithfield142323‑2560
26thMellow Yellow3687Matt GreenfieldDavid RolfeWembley(DNF)19321465
27thRevolution3657Anthony LoftsKatie WrightSalcombe30‑32241468
28thMinistry of Pleasure3634Ben ArcherBecca Jones 2921‑352676
29th 3698Graham Cranford SmithRoss BorneSalcombe2224‑343177
30thIsland Girl3725AJ SquireEsther McLarty/Laura SquireSalcombe(DNC)30222779
31stMoondance Assasin3547Peter MaleTim MaleBlithfield(DNF)34262383
32ndStrings Attached3751Mark BarwellLouise JohnsonLymington Town272828‑3083
33rdMonkey Puzzle3706Kevin AndersonAni RidleyHampton on Sea33‑35302992
34thNutwood Express3732Alistair GlenMoira GlenStarcross2529(DNC)DNC93
35thToo Dark 'n' Stormy3697Richard PageLizzy DalbyHampton31‑36313294
36thPocket Rocket3566James WellsLiz WellsStarcross2631(DNC)DNC96
37thDuck & Dive3713Steve HarlingEleanor ThomasStartcross323733(DNF)102

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