Harlow & Blackwater Open 2005

Sponsored by:
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The 'Two Islands' Silver Tiller on the River Blackwater was hosted by Harlow (Blackwater) S. C. and was a wham-bam-thank-you-mam event - sailed in the sun in a brilliant NNW 12-22 knot wind.

The start was a downhill affair with Mr Cooper and Hilary, and Mr and Mrs Emery breaking clear by Lawling point, the fleet all travelling at a goodly pace, planing all the way to Goldhanger navigation mark in a disrespectful record time. Alan and Liam, having a brief lay with the fishes, recovered to take the lead at Goldhanger mark. On turning the mark the fleet zapped up the windward leg like squeezed carrots on a frosty morning, with places changing and the lead won and lost with five boats in the hunt, followed by a brief two-sail reach from the top of Osea Island to North Doubles Navigation mark.

It was briefly followed by the remainder of the beat to the top of Northy Island and the shallow waters of the ford. Having ripped up the course thus so far it was a tad lacking water with the weed swirling and bubbling around in the flooding tide, promoting fear and panic rudder resetting (but not so for Ian L who was some distance behind the leaders).

The fleet now was split into whether to go high then up the kites or power up the rig and straight line it down the south side of Colliers Reach. This leg also was treated with no respect, traversing well above the 8 knot speed limit for that part of the river, and on reaching the point off Mill Beach whacked in the spinnaker gybes like it was practise time at Rutland Water. The run to Mundon Spit was a goodly affair, the wind right up the chuff and the choice to run deep or hit the angles once more split the fleet.

The wind gods threw out a few puffs on this leg just for a laugh and keep the chaps awake, and in which the fleet, in the greater part took in its stride. Following Mundon Spit the remaining two-sail fetch to the finish line proved that the fat lady was not fully dressed with places won and lost. It was a good race and an excellent sail in which Ron's dog was heard laughing out loud about Ron's boat maintenance.


The talk about the Merlin trophy being lobbed in to the mud following the last Merlin open is not true and the Commodore, as soon as his therapy is finished, should appear with the said item. The home fleet would like to thank all who travelled to the Blackwater and appreciate their support to a small but keen, growing fleet.

Report: Alan Jackson
See also:
    full results
    Silver Tiller positions so far