Results :: Whitstable Y.C. Open Meeting
|35 Merlin Rockets turned to Whitstable for the 2015 Merlin Rocket open meeting and to compete for that all-important Silver Tiller event. |
This year the fleet welcomed some new faces on to the starting line, many of which are Whitstable Yacht Club locals.
Race one (triangle sausage course) soon got under way and with the shifts remaining fairly consistent, winning the start and finding a clean lane was key. The fleet were in sync and decided that it would pay to sail on the left-hand-side of the course. A steady 20 knots of breeze provided sailors with top conditions to really get a feel of what Whitstable has in store for the fleet later on in the year at the Nationals.
Jasper Barnham and Graham Sexton were first around the windward mark and led the fleet to claim the first race. Hot on their tales for much of the race, David Hayes and Jonny Ratcliffe who were second around the windward mark and sustained their position until, rumour has it, Hayes fell victim to his toe straps coming undone and losing four places as a result, (other reports state that he fell out of the boat, but we are not one to listen to rumours).
Olly Turner and Hamish Kilburn sailed a strong first race and came through to secure second, closely followed by Tim Fells and Olly Wells who worked their way up the fleet throughout the four-lap race.
Race two got underway and Barnham and Sexton squeezed ahead and around the windward mark undisturbed from the rest of the fleet. Simon Potts and Luke Shaw were second around the windward mark with Hayes and Ratcliffe narrowly following.
With one mast breakage, a kicker malfunction and one boat suffering from a disobedient spinnaker halyard, it was a challenging race for some, but in the end Barnham and Sexton took the bullet. It was a battle for second between Hayes and Ratcliffe and Potts and Shaw, but Hayes and Ratcliffe pushed ahead and accomplished second place with Potts and Shaw coming in third.
Wind forecasts for the second day of racing were looking light and with three Silver Tiller races scheduled, 5 new arrivals swelled the fleet. Everyone was keen to go racing. Race officer John Silk and the race committee did their best to find some wind on the bay, however sometimes you have to admit defeat and Silk made the decision to cancel racing leaving the fleet to work on their tan and pack up early. Congratulations to Barnham and Sexton who won the event with two bullets.
Even with three races cancelled the Merlin Rocket fleet still enjoyed some competitive racing over the course of the weekend thanks to the help and support from the Whitstable Yacht Club members and volunteers. If this weekend is anything to go by then we are in for a lively and competitive week of sailing at the Nationals in August.
By Hamish Kilburn