Results :: Hampton S.C. Open Meeting Thames Series
|It was a golden morning that greeted the 20 Merlins which turned up to contest the Hampton Thames series open, a mixture of old and new boats featured. Unfortunately the wind was not as beautiful as the sunshine. A very light south westerly which was forecast to turn southerly, showed an alarming tendency to die away with puffs appearing from both east and west. |
PRO Jane Chambers laid down the law at the briefing, this and the fear of the black flag allowed all 20 boats to complete all three starts without a general recall.
After an hour's postponement to allow the wind to build a little, the fleet got away. John Bell with Olivia Bell slipped around the windward mark first, just in front of Phil Dalby with Suzi bell. Bell/Bell picked up a nice little puff and sailed away while Dalby/Bell disappeared out of the back door. Bell/Bell were never really challenged and finished ahead of Hywel Bowen-Perkins with Lucy Penwarden and Patrick Rayner in third.
As we sat down to a fine lunch the breeze picked up a little. On the race track, it was the boats that hugged the Surrey bank that reached the buoy first, led by John Hollands and Tim Parker, who unfortunately were sucked back into the pack. Phil Dalby and Suzi Bell took on the lead and stretched away from the chasers for a couple of laps, only to sit in a hole while boats passed on either side. Perkins/Penwarden held on to a narrow lead at the finish from Alex Jackson and Rachel Alder, with Bell/Bell in third.
In the final race, a group of four boats, once again got away from the rest, this included the main contenders; Bell/Bell, Perkins/Penwarden and Jackson/Alder, joined by class chairman Fran Gifford and Alex Warren. These traded the lead throughout the race. Coming away from the final leeward mark, it was Jackson/Alder who were out in front, when Perkins/Penwarden picked up one of the many rogue puffs that were drifting around the race track and surged through to take the win.
Aside from the fickle wind and the disappointment of the rugby, it was a very enjoyable weekend, which relied heavily on the contribution of all the Hampton members who were involved in the race management, catering and bar keeping.
By Phil Dalby