|In readiness for the National Championship in August, a select fleet of Merlins made the trip to Pwllheli for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller event to get a preview of what was to come. |
The plan was for a five race series with modern Olympic courses to suck and see before the championship. Conditions on Saturday were robust to say the least. The fleet launched into a solid force five from the south west with a decent size chop. A nice square line got the fleet underway at the first attempt. Simon and Ally Potts lead round the windward mark and pretty much did a horizon job as we didn't really see them again! Chris Jennings and Pete Horn came in second and Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis came in third.
Race two also got off to a clean start and was a much closer affair throughout. Chris and Pete held onto top spot after a tussle with team Potts after a unusually shambolic rounding of the windward mark saw the Potts' doing a circle. Again Matt and Ben came in third.
There had been some debate before racing as to whether to to go for three races on Saturday or wait for what was forecast to be better conditions on Sunday. By now the sun had come out, the wind dropped a little and the sea flattened. The decision was made to carry on.
Once again the fleet got away cleanly, and once again it was a close affair. Team Potts had the bit between their teeth after their wobble in the last race but it was never a one horse affair on the sausage-triangle course. Simon and Ally held on to win, with Matt and Ben hiking their way into second and leaving Chris and Pete in third place.
The tired fleet headed ashore well and truly satisfied with their day on the water.
Sunday was simply sparkling. The breeze was back in force as were the waves, but with a much steadier pattern than the previous day and the sun was out.
The fourth race saw a general recall as the chronologically challenged fleet were pretty much all over the line! The restart was clean and the tussle between team Potts and Chris and Pete was intense only for team Potts to come to an abrupt halt at the leeward mark after a spinnaker drop from hell which did their chances and the Welsh fishing quota no good at all. Chris and Pete won the race, Simon and Ally recovered to second and the ever consistent team of Biggs/Hollis came in third.
All to play for in the last race and once again the fleet got away cleanly. Tasting blood, Simon and Ally led round the first mark hoping for no further attacks of blondness. Chris and Pete followed them around, with the shorter races and steady breeze hoping for a mistake. This didn't materialise, though the - till now - promising performance of Mark Barwell and Lou Johnson came to a damp end as indecision at the leeward gate as to which side to go ended up in a swim. So Team Potts took the bullet and the event with Chris Jennings in second and second overall. The ever improving team of David and Oliver Winder took third in this race, but were never likely to overcome Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis for third place overall.
A big thanks to the team from Plas Heli - if we can get weather like this for the Nationals it will be simply stunning in August. They are ready and waiting, all we need to do is turn up
|Overall Results: |