Ranelagh Open 2005

30th October was the last Merlin Rocket Open of the season held at Ranelagh SC. There was a good river breeze varying from 9 - 29 mph and around 16 boats ventured for the downwind start. With the tide pushing you it was important not to be over the line! First round the mark were Mike Stephens and Andy Douglas followed by Willie Warren & Chris Robinson from Shoreham. A long beat back up towards Putney saw many place changes with Rob Wilder & Tom McLaughlin managing to get into the lead followed by Judith Massy & Graham Williamson.

After an exciting run with some interesting gusts, Judith took the lead with Joe McLaughlin and Ollie Houseman joining this leading group. Judith rounded the windward mark first followed by Rob Wilder with Joe McLaughlin close behind. It was these postions at the bottom mark. On the final leg the front two pulled ahead and had a real tussle to the finish, with Judith skillfully getting herself in front to win by around 4 boat lengths.

Further back Joe and Ollie managed to catch 2 logs on their rudder and so fell back to 5th as William Warren had a flying comeback from 9th to 3rd and Duncan Salmon came through to 4th. Alan Warren (a previous winner of this event) and Liam Dempsey unfortunately got caught by one of those notoriuos river gusts and took a dip with a few others.

The prize giving was held in the committee room which contains loads of historic pictures of Merlins and this was added to with a brief history of the trophy being presented given by Mr Stokes.


This event was also the last in the 2005 River Thames series for the Graham Donald Trophy, this is for the best four results held over the season at the River Thames Clubs which includes Wembley.
With two wins and two seconds, overall winners were Rob Wilder & Tom McLaughlin.

Report: Ollie Houseman
Photos: Tom Robb

See also:
    full results
    other photos