Sunday the 20th August saw the Merlin Rocket fleet return to Shustoke SC as part of the Merlin Rocket HD Sails Midland Circuit. On arrival the sun was shining with a decent breeze blowing down the lake from the south.
Being new to the class, we arrived early as being the 1st time we had rigged the boat unsupervised by a responsible adult expected the odd issue.
With two races back-to-back in the morning and one after lunch the race team of James Hopton and Olly Saunders wasted no time in getting the fleet going for Race 1 with a clean start. With a drop in pressure followed by a big left-hand shift, I have no idea who rounded first as we were trying to figure out which string to pull but it felt like everyone arrived together. However, it was Matt Biggs and Beka Jones from Bartley SC who pulled into the lead never to be seen again. This left the rest of us to fight it out in what seemed like an extreme game of snakes and ladders with it being entirely possible to take 5 places on one shift. At the finish line it was Ed and Lucy Bradburn from South Staffs SC, taking second from Paul and Michelle Keeling from Blithfield SC in third.
Race 2 again got away cleanly with a slight course change to square up the first beat. First round were Matt and Beka and Colin and Sean Anderson also from Bartley SC who sailed away to tussle for the lead. Again, struggling to get my head out of my own… boat, I am not sure on how many times places changed but at the gun it was Matt and Beka who took 1st and with it the event, followed by Colin and Sean in 2nd and Ed and Lucy in 3rd.
The fleet retired to shore for lunch, a spot of sunbathing and the chance for the unsupervised learners to correct all the rigging errors made at the start of the day.
Following a brief discussion around a course change the fleet launched for the third race. Again, a clean start with Matt and Beka, Colin and Sean and Ed and Lucy rounding the top mark together. On the downwind Matt and Beka took the lead and decided to sail a different race to the rest of us with Ed and Lucy and Colin and Sean chasing. Up the second beat Ed and Lucy decided to learn about Merlin capsize recovery letting Colin and Sean through to second followed by the rest of the pack. This time I had no idea what happened during the rest of the race as whilst still figuring what string to pull, and still trying to get my head out of my own… boat, we were now also too far back to see. But at the finish Matt and Beka took their third bullet in convincing fashion, Colin and Sean retained 2nd and Paul and Michelle again sailed through to 3rd.
Final results were Matt and Beka 1st, Colin and Sean in 2nd and Ed and Lucy in 3rd (and with that the task of writing the report).
Thanks go to all at Shustoke SC for a fantastic days racing and hospitality in the sunshine and also from our perspective to all sailors who answered many of our dopey questions throughout the day.
The next HD Sails Midland Circuit event is at Trent Valley on Sunday 3rd September.
Thank you Ed Bradburn for the report.
2023 Shustoke SC Merlin Rocket Open Meeting
2023 Merlin Rocket Open Meeting
Sailed: 3, Discards: 1, To count: 2, Entries: 11, Scoring system: Appendix A
||South Staffs SC
||Mariella & Nicky