Results :: Brightlingsea S.C. Open Meeting
|A small but perfectly formed fleet of 15 Merlin Rockets arrived for the annual Silver Tiller open meeting at Brightlingsea Sailing Club on the weekend of 12th/13th September. The fleet were met by sun, a nice force 4-5 against a fast ebbing tide giving a good Brightlingsea chop. |
The first race got away first time with Sam Pascoe & Sam Mottershead leading at the first mark closely followed by Dan Willett & Pete Nicholson. Dan and Pete got the wrong side of a shift on the last beat to let through Jasper Barnham with step in crew Johnny Radcliffe and Simon Potts and Ali Martin. These four boats had a close race down the last reach with the two Sams taking first, Jasper & Johnny second and Simon & Ali Third. Dan & Pete managed a fourth place with Merlin Legends Jon Turner and Richard Parslow in fifth.
The second and last race of the day started in slightly less breeze but the tide was in full flow. This race found Jasper and Johnny hitting the go button and lead from start to finish followed by Simon/Ali and the two Sams in third. Dan and Pete salvaged another fourth with Dave Winder and crew Pippa Taylor returning to the Merlin after injury in fifth place.
Sunday dawned with no wind and a less than promising forecast and a subsequent postponement was put up. This persuaded a few competitors that an early departure home and a pub lunch was a more inviting option. The PRO, Dave Gibbons sensibly launched the committee boat to review the situation as the majority of the fleet were on their fifth cup of coffee and third bacon roll of the morning. It was with some surprise and disbelief when the call came in advising the fleet to launch for an 11:30 start.
The reluctant and doubting fleet headed out in around 4-5 knots of breeze against a strong flooding tide and the first race got underway just before mid day. Steve and Ally Hall revelled in the conditions and lead at the first windward mark and extended their lead the whole way round. There were many changes throughout the remainder of the fleet as competitors had to decide whether to hit right out of the tide or hit left into the tide and get a lift that allowed them to lee bow up to the windward mark with differing results. Jasper & Johnny obtained second with Steve and Gill Leney in third and the two Sams in fourth.
By the second race the breeze had started to increase to marginal hiking conditions. Dave and Pippa found their speed and guile that has made them three times Salcombe week winners to win the fourth race with Jasper & Johnny second and an excellent third place for Dad and Daughter team of Andy and Rebecca Bines. Dan & Pete managed yet another fourth place with the Sams in fifth.
Going into the last race, Jasper & Johnny's consistency ensured that they had won the open meeting with a race to spare but stayed out to complete the last race as they clearly needed the practice. By this time the tide had turned and was on full ebb which caught some competitors out on the reaches. With a slight shift in the wind and the breeze dropping the PRO decided to shorten at the end of the first run. Dave and Pippa again gave a master class of the conditions leading from start to finish. Dan & Pete were second with the two Sams in third and Steve & Gill in fourth.
The fleet then set off back to shore where the real race was on to see who was able to cheat the tide to best effect in Brightlingsea creek to be first in the shower.
Jonathan Reubin and Ian Hill won the classic prize in their Merlin number 578 Chindit.
By Daniel Willit.