Harlow & Blackwater Open 2006

Two Island Race

Too early a start to the day diminished The Merlin Rocket fleet that gathered at the Harlow (Blackwater) S. C. Jetty. On a gentle flooding tide in tranquil breeze on a splendid summer’s day the visitors took on the home fleet to contest The Two Islands Trophy run for the second year. As a race it tests the sailing skills and navigational knowledge that is abundant within the Rocket fleet.

With a S.W. 8-knot breeze, a running start took place stroke of 10.00. The first leg out of the Maylandsea bay and into Lawling creek saw Pat and Jilly Blake sort the competition out and taking a comfortable lead as they turned Lawling point.

As the fleet ran past Steeple point with the home fleet following the visitors, some jibes in a close, overlapped passage lead by ‘clever boy’ Paul Hutchinson, helmed by Chris being the first entry in the splat the duck competition. Meanwhile rent a helm Mark Batt (I’m the commodore on port KEEP CLEAR) battled it out with The Ronet’s and Malcolm and Tony. Simon and Becky Sawyer, of whom Becky (being a lovely slender young lady and sailing like a Rottweiler is on a meat pie and arm wrestling training plan devised by the sailing sec) tufted it out well and only had one slight error in the back of the boat leading to the second splat the duck entry.

Pat and Jilly rounded the Goldhanger navigation mark to start the windward leg to Northy Island with Chris and John in contention. The windward leg contained all the best things the Blackwater has to offer sailing in the middle of Goldhanger creek and over the Stumbles rounding Osea Island and taking sight of North Doubles navigation mark then sighting the west tip of Northy and up into Southy creek sorted the sailors from the pondies and arriving at the causeway turning post started a three sail reach with a jibe off Mill Beach and onto Mundon spit. The reach in the freshening wind veered to the West and was to die for with non stop planning from Mill Beech.

The pecking order sorted and the tide up the chuff it was rewarding at all parts of the fleet, except for Jacko and Lorna having made a huge muck up on the jibe were quickly passed by the Ronet’s, Ron now in 5th place did hang out (so he told his dog) and Lorna still smiling and hair not in a mess flew the kite with awesome effect and pulled out space on ear battered Laura. For Ron having passed Mark and Ian on the windward leg and Jacko and Lorna on a jibe was on a roll and entering Lawling creek was still sat out hard and praying to his dog. The windward leg to finish against the ebbing tide was a fitting finish with Pat and Jilly holding off Duncan and Ian who had moved up from 5th to be 2nd knocking back Chris and John to 3rd with Steve and Gillian 4th in a close 3 minute procession.

The river Blackwater with its Islands and tidal flow, wind bends, saltings is a stunning place to sail and to be able to race around the mark and use the odd island with the Merlin Rocket fleet is as good as it needs be.

The race committee would like to thank all the club members for giving up time to support this club event, which makes H (B) S C the sailing success that it is.

Report: Alan Jackson
See also:
    full results
    Photo gallery