Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller at Bartley Sailing Club – Round 5.
The forecast was saying ‘green for go’ on Sunday 31 March, and the recent warm weather teased out 27 keen rocketeers for an exciting day on the water at Bartley Sailing Club for round 5 of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller 2019. The fresh breeze was somewhat chillier than expected (it was still March after all) but provided great entertainment, for both those on and off the water.
Bartley greeted us with an excellent breakfast, accompanied by free tea and cake all day so the teams were fuelled and ready by the time they set out for the start line.
Race 1 was unusual course, marks everywhere to get all confused by, but thankfully there was an excellently driven lead boat to help keep the fleet on the straight and narrow. Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby started with intent, leading the race from start to finish. Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby chased them hard all race, but just couldn’t seem to find a way round (which makes a change given their current rock star form!). The two leading boats sailed away from the rest of the fleet, but the race for third was much tighter. After a rocky start, Simon and Ally Potts pulled out a big first run to sneak to the front of ‘the rest’. There was much place changing with Team Potts, Matt Biggs / Beka Jones, Roger Phillips / Will Crocker and Chris Martin / Sam Bailey but eventually the Potts scraped in in front of Martin/Bailey, who were comfortably the first Silver fleet boat. First Bronze fleet boat in the race was Graham Flynn and Adam Froggart, two Midlands sailors who were trying Merlins for the first time in the class boat. What a baptism of fire!
After a lovely lunch of jacket potatoes and / or pulled pork, the fleet set sail for more of the same (which was anything but predictable!). Clearly Chris Kilsby was busy still thinking about that potato at the first windward mark. Unfortunately, he was not watching his wife, who sent them spinning for trying to sneak through what transpired to be a non-existent gap on port. This gave Davis / Kilsby a clear run for the rest of the race, although ‘the rest’ kept in touch slightly better. Team Potts, Biggs / Jones and Phillips / Crocker continued their battle from race 1, finishing in that order. Martin / Bailey again smashed the Silver fleet race win, this time Matt Smith and Jared Lewis took the bronze fleet race in their beautifully maintained wooden ship. It was nice to see so many boats of that vintage on the water, long may it continue.
Race 3 was a slightly different, but no less complicated course, giving all sailing aspects and manoeuvres (sometimes all at the same time!). Davis / Kilsby lead to the first mark but were overhauled during the first lap by Team Chris. According to Chris Gould it was a very easy days sailing when there’s no one in front of you (alright for some!). Biggs / Jones and Phillips / Crocker continued their day long battle, with Phillips / Crocker taking the victory and overall win (between them). Martin / Bailey took their third Silver fleet victory of the day and Smith / Lewis again took the Bronze fleet race.
The overall title went to Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby in their fine new ship, apparently super-fast, just a little wet in the face. Good job Kilsby is an excellent splash guard hey Gouldy?! Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby sailed beautifully finishing second, they still haven’t finished worse than 2nd in a race this season, some record! Simon and Ally Potts finished third after many a tight battle. Chris Martin and Sam Bailey rocked the Silver fleet, we suspect they have a similar record to Davis / Kilsby this season, it’s just harder to prove. It was great to see some new young talent coming into the fleet in the form of Matt Smith and Jared Lewis, who took the Bronze fleet prize. We look forward to seeing more of you on the circuit.
The next event in the Silver Tiller is Sunday 7th April at Midland Sailing Club one question is, do you have to sail with a Kilsby to win?!
The Silver Tiller 2019 is sponsored by Craftinsure with Magic Marine as the classes clothing partner.
Sailed: 3, Discards: 1, To count: 2, Entries: 26, Scoring system: Appendix A