|The weekend of 8th and 9th April saw a magnificent 51 Merlin Rocket dinghies attend the Salcombe Yacht Club Silver Tiller event over what was to prove to be a glorious weekend of champagne sailing despite low spring tides and forecast easterly winds. |
On Saturday morning the Race Officer somewhat naively set a Blue Peter start to see a handful of boats remaining behind the line at the start, so the traditional Black Flag was broken out for all subsequent starts.
The fleet was more cautious for the restarted race, which saw Simon and Ally Potts build up a handy lead on a beat up to Saltstone and a run back for a couple of loops of the harbour, taking the race from the Pascoe's followed home by Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis.
With a building flooding tide under a North Easterly there were some notable Black Flagged scalps taken, including the race 1 winners; which opened the door for Biggs and Hollis, closely chased home by the Pascoe's, who emerged unscathed from some serious leeward mark action at Blackstone.
The fleet retired to the bars of the town and the Yacht Club to discuss the intricacies of Rule 18, to emerge bleary eyed for a 10.30 start on a bright Sunday morning. With an ebb tide and winds coming from the southern quadrant, a course of Blackstone, Gerston, Blackstone, Crossways was set, handy for those who still had this written on their decks from previous Salcombe Merlin Weeks.
This time the Potts re-established their first race dominance, with a massive lead back from Blackstone, but some holes in the wind through the bag saw light wind aces Mike and Jane Calvert close them down, but not enough to take the win.
Race 4 was a single lap affair, to Blackstone then Gerston and a beat back to the line. With the wind dying, those who broke clear at the start and made the most of some massive shifts were rewarded by being in a select breakaway group with Simon Black and Pippa Taylor leading the fleet home, from the Calvert's.
When the scores were totted up, the scoring of the Pascoe's saw them take the Audrey Pettit Trophy, despite no race wins, showing that consistency pays in what is undoubtedly the most competitive dinghy fleet in the UK.