Fishers Green SC hosted Round 2 of the Merlin Rocket Allen South East Series on 7th May 2023. 19 boats decided to check out the little gem of a sailing club nested in the heart of the leafy lea valley park. The fleet rigged up on a lawn of daisies, and clear skies but unfortunately not a great deal of wind, after a short delay RO Godfrey Clarke who gave up his ride in the event due to a cycling injury, decided to get the fleet launched as the forecast wasn't set to improve.
Race one got away cleanly Caroline Croft/Pete Gray 3820 managed to get their noses in front off the line and sailed a clean race to take the win. Fighting for second spot was the travelling contingent of Wembley boats who had travelled in large numbers supporting the Allen SE Series, as the wind died away to virtually nothing Duncan Salmon/Ruth Hanstater 3702 took second, Colin Brockbank/Sue Brough 3790 third and first woody Stuart Jenkins/Nicola Scaddan in fourth sailing 723.
The fleet made the next decision for the RO easy, as everyone made the short trip to shore. After a quick cuppa and as lunch which the amazing Jane O'Brien cooked wasn't quite ready, with the breeze appearing to be building slightly, once again the fleet launched, race 2 got underway.
The righthand side of the course paid dividends, two local boats led at the windward mark, 1742 Graham Sexton/Angie Meyer, Angie competing in her first ever open meeting teaming up with Graham in a borrowed boat, making this highly competitive merlin fleet racing look easy as they led for the first lap, in hot pursuit local lads Paul Rayson/Christian Hill 3799. Paul/Christian hit the front but as the wind died so did their hopes of victory as Paul Dean/Hannah Burt 3745 held onto the last gasps of breeze and managed to sneak in to get mark room and took the lead at the last mark, with a short beat to the line. First went to 3745 Paul/Hannah, second 3799 Paul/Christian, and third 3803 Chris Gould/Sophie Mackley 3803 who safely navigated the islands and the fleet.
All still to play for in race 3, for the inaugural FGSC Allen SE Merlin Rocket open. Caroline/Pete 3820 again used their skills to get their noses in front at the start and led the way around the course, closely followed by the father and daughter team from Wembley Mark/Darcy Smyth 3668. The best breeze of the day meant the mid-fleet pack were a lot closer together, after a great tussle and many place changes, Chris/Sophie 3803 worked their way up to second, Colin/Sue 3790 third, 3668 team Smyth fourth.
The competitors packed up in glorious sunshine, then lunch on the patio looking over the lake, whilst witnessing the best breeze of the day, how’s your luck, pond sailing at its best.
1st 3820 Caroline Croft and Pete Gray. Lymington Town Sailing Club
2nd 3802 Chris Gould and Sophie Mackley. Lymington Town Sailing Club / Shoreham Sailing Club
3rd 3745 Paul Dean and Hannah Burt. Wembley Sailing Club
1st Wooden Boat 3232 Jon Steward and Blake Newman Fishers Green Sailing Club
1st Under 16 Darcy Smyth well-earned 6th
Congratulations to Bill Noakes and Angie Meyer first ever merlin open welcome to the fleet.
12 visitors, from six different clubs!
Many thanks to the visitors for making the effort to travel over on such a busy weekend and questionable forecast, and huge thanks to the Fishers Green Sailing Club volunteers who made the event up, next up, the Allen SE Series rumbles on to Brightlingsea Sailing Club 14th May.
Thank you Christian Hill for the report.