Hollingworth Open 2006

Richard Whitworth and Sally Townend showed a great turn of speed, whenever needed, to win the Felucca Trophy, Hollingworth Lake’s Merlin Rocket Open again. With four race wins it was decisive, though David Winder and Jilly Blake fought hard.

This year, both the Club and the Merlins celebrate their 60th anniversary and this traditional two-day meeting, with 5 races over the weekend of 7th/8th October, attracted an entry of 38 boats (despite the absence of the National Champion at the Endeavour Trophy).

Saturday’s racing was held in a breezy westerly and, inevitably, there was a general recall on the first start, prompting the black flag thereafter. At least this gave some clean starts. The blue spinnakers of the leaders were soon far ahead of the pack. Andy Davis and Jonny Toogood gave chase, but were unable to get closer, followed by Nick (Boris) Heginbotham and Matt Calvert.


The second race seemed to follow a similar format after a course change, but this time Winder broke through to the lead. Whitworth did not drop back and chose a better course on the penultimate lap and gained a clear advantage as the final lap began. On the downwind leg, Winder fell into a ‘hole’, while Whitworth romped away. Heginbotham nearly caught up, followed by Dan and Ben Alsop.

Immediately after the start of the third race, Whitworth was caught on port and had to do turns. This gave Winder an opportunity to get away. Davis and Pat Blake with Alex Jackson were not far behind. Whitworth was soon driving fast through the fleet and then a battle began between him and the other three boats. At some stage, each had the lead. The final beat led to an exciting finish with Winder first, Davis second, Whitworth third and Blake in fourth.

After the Saturday evening meal and social imbibing, the fleet was slow off the mark on the Sunday morning. This did not include the start line and, after a general recall, three boats were out, black-flagged. Once again, the blue spinnakers led the fleet in a shorter race with Whitworth winning from Winder, with the Alsops enjoying a shorter race for third and Steve and Ally Tyler in fourth.

The fleet was again too keen for the 5th race start and one boat was sent home early. The race pattern was much the same with Whitworth and Winder showing everyone else how to sail fast on their home waters. Blake took third at the finish ahead of Julian Parry and Pippa Taylor.

With a prize-giving at half-past-two, everyone went home happy after a great weekend’s sailing.

Report: Graham Knox
Photos: Peter Scott
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