Chichester Open 2007

After the Laser open the day before, on Sunday the general wind strength was higher, up to Force 6, but twenty-seven Merlins arrived for their Open Meeting, held in memory of former CYC member and class champion Nick Yeoman, a half-model of whose last boat forms the perpetual trophy for the event.


The course was a P shape, with a long beat, a short reach followed by a tricky gybe, another reach and a long run to the lee mark. The sailors had requested a strict starting regime, and the Black Flag was hoisted at once after the first General Recall, and one was boat was disqualified under it, which brought discipline to the very keen fleet!

The fleet was dominated by a newcomer to the Class, Roger Gilbert, crewed by James Stewart, whose boat handling, honed in his wide experience in other classes, was a delight to watch, as he screamed round the course a long way in the lead, leaving the rest in his wake, and some upside down! At one point spectators could count six upturned boats, and there were five broken masts, one through a lower shroud failure, but the rest through getting stuck in the mud after a capsize.

Behind him were Glen Truwell and Paul Davies with two seconds. Then came four boats all with scores of 7 points, whose places depended entirely on their finishing order in the last race. In his speech, the winner thanked the Class for the welcome he had received from them, and the tips and pointers the sailors had given him at which there was a subdued murmur that there were would be no more of these!

Report: David Brecknell
Photos: Chris Robinson
See also: full results