Results :: Banbury S.C. Open Meeting
The Craftinsure Silver Tiller and HD Sails Midland Series Open Meeting at Banbury SC on Sunday 6th April saw 18 Merlin Rockets blazing around Boddington Reservoir on an increasingly strong southerly breeze, fortunately the predicted rain failed to make it to the open. The race team set an excellent course with two beats up the lake followed by a two legged spinnaker sleigh ride to take the competitors back down.
The opening race saw the lead swapping between Matt Biggs & John Hackett in Pokin' the Turtle (3743) and Tim Fells & Chris Downham in Fragile (3727) closely followed by the Zeno (3659) of Julian Parry & Becky Jones until Fragile contrived to drop the spinnaker guy under the bow. The resulting dive by the crew over the side and round to the bow to sort everything out left them a good way behind Pokin' the Turtle and eventually cost them second place when Zeno sneaked past. Pokin' the Turtle went on to take the gun with Zeno in second place, Fragile third and The Leneys in Carbonfootprint coming through into fourth place.
The second race was run back to back and the first attempt at a start led to a general recall as a number of boats were keen to get going. The attempt saw the fleet get away cleanly and soon Pokin' the Turtle opened up a considerable lead on the chasing pack so much so that they didn't even pop the spinnaker out on one short leg. Pokin' the Turtle took the gun by the proverbial country mile and was followed over the line by Fragile, Carbonfootprint and Zeno.
After a stop to take on extra ballast in the form of cottage pie, lasagne and a variety of crumbles and trifles, a much reduced fleet of just six boats took to the water for a third and final race. Over lunch, the wind had increased from 20knots gusting 30 to a steady 30 knots gusting to 36 knots. The crew of Pokin' the Turtle having claimed two bullets wisely decided to spectate for the third race and leave the others free to compete for the minor places.
The race got away cleanly and Zeno moved into an early lead from Duncan and Harriet Salmon in Salmon en Croûte (3702) and Chris Martin & Olly Swinnock in Mylo Xyloto (3744). This was the finishing order and allowed Zeno to claim second place overall at the meeting from Fragile who did not compete in the last race.
The racing had been interesting and eventful for all involved including the rescue boat crews who had to stand by a number of capsizes generally under spinnaker, the best one of which being a boat that almost flew out of the water in one gust before returning to the water. Apart from some damaged rudder pintles, all of the boats and spars survived in tact – a tribute to the build quality of the modern Merlin Rocket. Also on a day when you would have thought that the heavyweight crews would have reigned supreme, one of the lightest crews on the circuit won – a tribute to the controllability of the boat.
Mention must also be made of Black Adder (3327) crewed by Peter Waiwright and Tracy Smith who were attending their first open meeting and are still able to smile after a record number of recoveries from capsizes. We hope that they will be back next year and will bring better weather with them.
After tea and cake, the prizes were awarded by the club's President, Dave Cornish, who had also been the race officer for the day. The winner, Matt Biggs, paid tribute to the duty crew, bar and galley staff who had made the day so enjoyable and looked forward to being back again in 2015.