Upper Thames Open 2005

Seventeen Merlins, from No 1 (Kate) to 3635 (Aloha) sailed for the elegant Spade Oak Bowl on Saturday afternoon, following a brisk practice race. The Class Association Vintage handicaps were used to lessen the advantage usually enjoyed in a breeze by newer boats. Richard Page/Phil Dalby (1222 Restless IV) finished well ahead of the fleet, probably helped by starting before everyone else and so were disqualified as OCS. The trophy went to 847, Bambusa, Berry Ritchie and Jennie Grace with 3560, Luka 2nd (Ollie Houseman/Tom Preston), 3635 Aloha 3rd (Mike Stephens/Mark Fuller) and 955 Amatol 4th (Alan & Sue Markham).


Overnight several of the vintage boats headed home, their places on the lawn being replaced by a younger fleet. On Sunday the mist was lying on the river and refunds of entry fees was under serious consideration. Around midday each breath of wind came from a different direction. Peter Brewer, PRO, took a chance and sent the fleet out for a postponed start. The wind continued to fill in with Terry Curtis/Sam Preston (2623 Chuft) and Rob Wilder/Tom McLaughlin (3656 Wild Card) battling it out with Terry regaining the lead on the last lap.


Although second on the water in Race 2 to Duncan Salmon/Elena Bremner (3644 Poached Salmon) Robís chances of clinching the meeting disappeared after being caught OCS. Jo McLaughlin/Bryn Evans (3566 Pocket Rocket) consolidated their campaign with a second 3rd place.

The Allen Challenge Cup was Duncanís with another win in Race 3, ahead of Jo McLaughlin and Mike Stephens.

Report: Alan Markham
Photos: Patrick Walmsley
Results: Spade Oak Bowl, Allen Challenge Cup