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Chichester Open 2005

Sponsored by:
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A very early start time, a wet and chilly day, and a Club in the throes of a re-build: not an encouraging scenario! But nothing deters Merlin Sailors, and twenty-four boats homed in on Chichester Yacht Club on 23rd April, Saint George’s Day, for the “Nick’s Boat” Challenge Trophy Open Meeting, one of the Silver Tiller Series sponsored by Holts. Travellers came from as far as Salcombe and Lyme Regis in the west, Royal Harwich in the east, and Earlswood Lakes in the Midlands!

A gang of C.Y.C. Dinghy sailors had worked very hard for a fortnight to get their temporary accommodation ready, and it all worked together very successfully, so that they now know that the rest of the season’s fixtures should have no insuperable problems!

The weather was overcast and raining, and the south-easterly was full of shifts and holes, but Race Officer John Miles made the most of the water to give very close and competitive racing for a fleet which included some of the top sailors in the class. Although Mike and Jane Calvert in Business as Usual took the first place overall with minimum points, their discard was a third, while Glen Truswell and Paul Davies in Rong Number had two seconds a sixth as runners-up. This sort of inconsistency was repeated through the fleet, indicating the unpredictability of the wind patterns.

The Calverts won the first race, after another press of the Stewart/Downham self destruct button, overstanding the second windward mark by several miles while comfortably in the lead allowing both the Calverts and the Truswell/Davies pairing through, and only holding off Willy Warren & Jilly Blake by the thickness of the gelcoat.

In the second race Willy and Jilly made no mistake, broke free from the pack early on and, while Stewart/ Downham and the Calverts got into some luffing action on one of the reachy legs and took themselves off into the tide, Moist sailed off to a clear victory ahead. Truswell/Davo were never far away, and managed to snickle past the Calverts on the final beat to score a further second place.

With the meeting wide open going into the final race, it was Mike & Jane who broke free of John Bell and Graham Williamson who in turn were well clear of Stewart/ Downham from Harwich. Willy & Jilly could only manage a fourth to see their hopes of overall victory slip away. Two bullets did it for the Calverts, however, ahead of the Rong Number brigade.

Having enjoyed their free tea and the prize-giving, the fleet dispersed again, except for the two Midland crews, who stayed on to join in the Club racing on Sunday. An encouraging footnote was the presence of a family of Merlin-Rocketeers coming to join in the competition, with two boats, and two generations.


Report: David Brecknell
See the full results.