Results :: Aldeburgh YC Open Meeting

30/05/2015 31/05/2015


23 Merlin Rockets travelled to the home of Asparagus and Adnams in Aldeburgh, Suffolk on the 30th & 31st May for a restricted water category open meeting on the picturesque River Alde. The fleet were greeted by sunshine and 10 – 15 mph winds on the Saturday, with a much less favourable forecast for 25 – 35 mph winds on the Sunday.

Chairfran's father, Patrick Gifford, was CRO for the event and with the blessing of the fleet decided to change the NOR in order to run 3 races on the Saturday in case Sunday was blown off.

The fleet started at 1430 with a challenging sail up the River Alde, navigating their way around the numerous withies and shallows of the upper reaches. Alex Jackson and Chris Downham had a stressful time leading the fleet - and acted as a depth gauge for the chasing pack - but managed to hold on to their lead to the finish to score a first, followed by Jasper Barnham and Jonny Ratcliffe in second and Tim Harridge and Lucy Burn in third.

In order to squeeze two more races in, CRO Patrick set a simple short windward leeward style course in front of the club which lasted approximately 45 minutes and was won by Tom Stewart and Phil Dalby, desperate to recover from being called OCS in the first race. Second place went to Dan Willett and Pete Nicholson followed by Tom Lonsdale and Alice Markham in third.

The race committee were on fire at this point and within minutes of the last boat finishing, the warning signal for the third and final race of the day was sounded. The outgoing tide had left a lot less room for the Merlins to play in and inevitably led to one or two more groundings. Jackson and Downham's luck ran out as their fixed rudder hit the bottom, popped off and with kite flying went charging up the river bank. Stewart and Dalby went on to claim a second race win with Barnham and Ratcliffe snapping at their heels in second place. Will Rainey crewed by Andy Douglas took two places on the final leg of the last lap to secure third place.

Aldeburgh Yacht Club treated the fleet to a fine Fish and Chip supper washed down with plenty of Adnams. The sailors then retired to their tents and vans in the boat park, some slightly more inebriated than others...such was their belief that racing would be blown off the following day!

As predicted the wind and rain shook everyone from their tents early Sunday morning and the decision to postpone and monitor the wind was well received. While the fleet enjoyed a superb cooked breakfast in the clubhouse, three Oppie sailors were lovingly pushed off the slipway by their parents and demonstrated that, although it was blowing dogs off chains, it was manageable and the fleet were sent out for one quick race before the tide turned and the river chopped up.

Only eight boats launched with the rest of the fleet on hand to assist as some of the boats literally took off from their trollies. A short windward leeward course in front of the club gave them all something to watch with plenty of swimming for some. Tom Stewart and Jasper Barnham battled it out in an awesome display of heavy weather boat handling, with Jasper and Jonny taking the race win. After 4 races Tom and Phil were able to discard the OCS they had suffered the day before to win the weekend.

Aldeburgh Yacht Club did a superb job of hosting the fleet both on and off the water and the Merlins look forward to going back again next year.
By Lucy Burn


1st Tom Stewart & Phil Dalby, "Grey Area" 3733 (Northampton SC)
2nd Jasper Barnham & Jonny Ratcliffe, "Bazinga" 3758 (Snettisham Beach SC)
3rd Tim Harridge & Lucy Burn, "General Lee" 3690 (Hampton SC)
4th Dan Willett & Pete Nicholson, "Point & Squirt" 3746 (Brightlingsea SC)
5th Duncan Salmon & Harriet Salmon, "Salmon en Croute" 3702 (Wembley SC)
6th Antony Gifford & Frances Gifford, "Hot Totty" 3676 (Aldeburgh YC)
7th Tom Lonsdale & Alice Markham, "Wild at Heart" 3709 (Upper Thames SC)
8th Will Rainey & Andy Douglas, "The Empire Stikes Back" 3752 (Shoreham SC)
9th Alex Jackson & Chris Downham, "Monkey Business" 3707 (Hampton SC)
10th Dan Alsop & Jennie King, "Gangsta Paradise" 3539 (Lyme Regis SC)
11th Steve Hall & Ally Hall, "Blue Velvet" 3645 (Burnham SC)
12th Piers Lambert & Andy Bines, "Snaky B" 3671 (Brightlingsea SC)
13th Steven Leney & Gillian Leney, "Carbon Footprint" 3716 (Blithfield SC)
14th Colin Brockbank & Martin Hughes, "Jupiter" 3651 (Wembley SC)
15th Mark Stockbridge & Sarah Elliott, "Fragile" 3727 (Ranelagh SC)
16th Anthony Rickaby & Shah Mayuri, "Ambience" 3602 (Wembley SC)
17th Ed Evans & Jenny Evans, "Leviathan" 3613 (Brightlingsea SC)
18th Paul Aldridge & Ben Richerson, "If" 3686 (Burnham SC)
19th Simon Hipkin & Keith Callaghan, "No Pasaran" 3750 (Walton on Frinton YC)
20th Russell Hall & Gemma Hughes, "Factory Maid" 3704 (Thames SC)
21st Paul Atwell & Stolper, "The Edge" 3622 (Wembley SC)
22nd Thomas Stolper & Sonai Stolper, "Scooby Doo" 2444 (Ranelagh SC)
23rd Michael Airey & Nicholas Wilson, "Old Socks" 3579 (Ranelagh SC)


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