Results :: Aldeburgh YC Open Meeting
|Despite an adverse forecast, a healthy fleet of 12 Merlin Rockets arrived at Aldeburgh Yacht Club for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller meeting on the 21st and 22nd May. Visitors from as far as Weymouth arrived all ready to stretch their driving legs in a steady Force 6 blowing straight up the river on Saturday afternoon. |
Race officer, Patrick Gifford, sent the fleet on a River Tour for race one in a relatively steady 20 knots, with a strong outgoing tide, increasing apparent wind by a further couple of knots and causing the estuary to be genuinely rough. Tim Fells and Oli Wells, started as they meant to go on, with Simon Potts and Ally Martin in hot pursuit. Tim Harridge and Ben Hollis were enjoying the conditions, until they had a long swim as having run aground with the kite up. Potts and Martin had a spin out, and Fells and Wells went as far up river as they could before capsizing in the hope that no-one would see. But we did.
This allowed Potts and Martin into the lead only to round Brickdock mark to port instead of starboard, allowing Fells and Wells back into the lead, now followed by a pretty steady Frances Gifford and Alex Warren. This was the top three until extremely late in the race when Potts and Martin found a bit more tide under them to snatch second from the jaws of third from Gifford and Warren, much to the race officer's displeasure who thought he had taught his daughter the way round the Alde many years previously. If he did she forgot.
Race two and the wind was even stronger and the tide was keeping it rough. A more straight forward windward leeward in between marks Pump and Q was the order of the day, a few more swims took place, but the battle between Potts and Martin and Fells and Wells was good to watch with their red and blue spinnakers respectively reminding folk of the Milkyway ad. This time it was Potts and Martin who got the bullet, followed by Fells and Wells, and the General Lee overcame an early swim to take the third podium spot. The very steady Piers Lambert and Andy Bines got their second fourth of the weekend, second of many.
Fish pie and Adnams was the main order of the day for most, some of whom had sat out one or more races, and then a wander into the Metropolis of Aldbeurgh for some evening entertainment.
Sunday dawned extremely light as forecast, but the race officer was coming out with quotes befitting of an old seadog, and sure enough the sea breeze filled in after a one hour postponement, a little later than it would have been if it hadn't rained overnight, making the ground cold.
Three races were held in a directionally steady wind that built in strength from Force 1-3 over the time that the three races took. Ian and Ellie Sharps had joined for the day, and shortly after the first start with the fleet short tacking up the Southern shore, headed across the river with a big "see-ya", only to arrive at the first mark with an extremely healthy lead, which they held to the finish, chased by Potts and Martin and Fells and Wells. Fells and Wells crossed to the sound of silence, to allow Gifford and Warren to take third.
Race four saw a split in starting strategies with those taking the North shore benefitting, which allowed Lambert and Bines and Jon and Annabel Steward to have the early advantage, only for the Sharps' to scoot through to the lead and take another victory, from Lambert and Bines and Fells and Wells.
And finally race five took place in glorious conditions, the fleet was again split at the start, and Fells and Wells led from the front to take the open meeting. This time they were hotly chased by Gifford and Warren who tried in vain to snatch victory from the jaws of second, with Potts and Martin following home, and Lambert and Bines getting their fourth fourth of a five race series.
President of Aldeburgh Yacht Club, Peter Wilson, took time out from his boatyard to present the prizes and let us know we were welcome back anytime. Tim Fells thanked the club for their hospitality and hopefully the Merlin Rockets will be back on the Alde before too long.
By Fran Gifford