Winter Series RacingIssue #1 - Alex Jackson rounds up the winter action at clubs across the country.
Ten Merlins out this weekend but still the weather continues to frustrate. The winds have not been kind - too much for two weekends, drifted off another, very shifty and not as forecast again this weekend. This is frustrating when we have plenty of water every weekend and only one or two moored boats across the whole harbour!
No problem for Mike Calvert though who is revelling in the new found boat speed that his radical bow modifications seem to have brought. Always difficult to assess though, as is the Winder bow modification, as you never quite know what was making the difference. MC has always been clever in the tricky stuff!
Nick Scroggie has his regular crew, Claire Johnstone, back and each week has gone a bit better. He was the best of the home sailors this week - again he has had a bow tweak and we haven't been able to assess it yet as he worked the shifts well.
Dan and Jennie have been frustrated by the conditions so haven't shown their usual form. Steve Tyler tacked the wrong way off the start and never got better only being rescued by Graham Scroggie with Frances and Bob O'Toole taking the wrong side of a 60 degree shift as the new wind came in.
Ant Hackforth has bought Golden Snitch 2 and, as he is a canny Poole yachter, will be one to watch next year and Tony Brookes has bought Laurie Smarts boat. The quality of the fleet has taken a quantum leap this year. Ben Scroggie is due out for the last three races. What can he do in his Easy Roller?
Loads of water for the rest of the series - fixed rudders not an issue (I know some of you like an excuse but this ain't one!)
1st Mike and Jane Calvert 2nd Dan and Jen 3rd Nick Scroggie and Claire J 4th Steve and Ally Tyler 5th Graham and Frances
Wembley are due to get at least three brand spanking Windy Barges on the harp if not four (If Dunc buys himself a bíday pressie and another fella upgrades). So Wembley is definitely consolidating itís mid fleet though still looking to add a few more at the front-end. There also seem to be a few cracks appearing in the MRx fleet as some seem to be hankering after a new tub but not wanting to pin their money to the MRx mast (One boat has laid unsold for quite some time).
So the Merlin is slowly showing its class and beginning to recover some of the ground lost during the MRx days. Fingers crossed and we should see some good sailing thru the winter.
It was extremely light, and very cold, 7/8 merlins out, Graham Williamson won with his stand in helm, and Will Rainey was 2nd, Dave 3rd, Wozza 4th, all finishing within a couple of seconds between.
Ellie Bremner and Judith got shut out the back as the wind died totally and took an age to get finished.. it wasn't really racing conditions.
Club put on a spectacular array of pasties and soup as usual, and was prompt in starting.
List of venues offering winter racing for Merlins
Chichester 'Snowflake' results so far