Summer arrived at Trent Valley Sailing Club to greet the Merlin Rocket fleet for their open meeting, as part of the Merlin Rocket HD Sails Midland Circuit. A fine mix of modern, classic, and vintage boats assembled for a perfect river sailing Sunday.
John the Commodore welcomed the sailors to Trent Valley at 10:30, many of whom were returning from previous years, as well as past TVSC member Andy Dalby travelling from the South coast to race uncle George’s boat with his daughter Amie. The commodore and now PRO explained the nuances of sailing instructions for river sailing.
A short postponement was in order, to await the arrival of the morning breeze as showing on the TVSC weather app.
With start line 2, and upstream start chosen and the wind Southwest ish the place to for the start of race 1 turned out to be the club house end. Steve and Gill Leney made a clean start picked a gust and never looked back to make a clear win in their sunny yellow boat.
Meanwhile the rest of fleet tacked up the mile beat to the up-stream mark. The “back straight” past Billy's Stones proving challenging for all. Paul Hollis and Paula made it round in front of Peter Slack and Ann Britton, who were recovering from starting at the wrong end of the line. The leading places were unchanged in the downstream race to the finish.
The end of race one confirmed it really was a T shirts and shorts day, with visitors discarding their branded wet suit and hiking gear, and yes it was warm up North that day!
For race 2 the PRO laid a mark 2, importantly club house side of Billy's Stones, a mere half mile upstream. With the wind remaining fickle there was enough current to catch the unwary sailor out the upstream mark. The club house end was a gain favoured with the yellow boat getting away to a clean sunny start, followed by the blue boat and brown boat. Steve and Gil were again quick in the light airs and won easily. Second place was a tussle between the blue and brown boats. A deft move by the brown boat into the stronger current by the moored barge side of the river allowed Peter and Ann to move up to second place which they held to the finish. Meanwhile in the fleet there was a lot tacking to be done!
Race 3 same course as race 2. Steve and Gill having sealed the win and retired to the club house to watch the blue and brown boats complete for second place. Down to the last few seconds before the 2:30 cut off the PRO set the fleet off. And again starboard end favoured, James and Rosie in the Purple boat got away first from the crowd only to be sailed over by the brown boat Things were going well in the brown boat until a vintage decision on timing the crossing of river turned into classic mistake and became embroiled with Guy and Sarah in Mustard, allowing the blue boat just enough to slip away, to take a win and overall second place. Meanwhile Team Male (Peter and Tim) got their act together and an improved performance overtook Guy and Sarah on the run to gain a 3rd place.
The much-vaunted Trent Valley hospitality of Sunday Roast was server promptly at 3:30 with guests of 36 sitting down to dinner. A big thank you to our Steward John, wife and helpers for preparing the meal.
1st Steve and Gill Leney
2nd Paul Hollis and Paula Mason
3rd and Classic Boat prize Peter Slack and Ann Britton
4th Colin and Sean Anderson