Cookham Open 2007

It was a beautiful spring weekend on the Cookham Reach of the River Thames, and an exceptionally big turn out of Merlin Rockets came to enjoy it.

On Saturday Dave and Rachel Dobrijevic came up from the south coast to help Pat and Jilly Blake run a training session. This was followed by the Guy Pearce Memorial Trophy race, which turned out to be an epic two-boat battle. Pat and Jilly Blake took an early lead from Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor until Blake completely misjudged the gusty wind and filled up on a gybe.

With a boat full of water they were easy meat for the Winder team to pass. After some frantic bailing the Blakes took off in pursuit and managed to overhaul the Winder team again to take the magnificent glass trophy.

On Sunday for the Silver Tiller and Thames series points, over 30 entries meant that the group system had to be run. The sun was still shining but the wind was a bit lighter and patchy because it was east of north and coming over the trees and houses on the Buckinghamshire side of the river; river sailing at its most testing!

In the first races Simon Blake and Esther Firman took an early lead and looked comfortable until Simon missed his toe strap after a roll tack and fell overboard! This was to prove an expensive mistake and cost them the trophy. Judith Massey and Phil Dalby eventually won this race after a close contest with her husband Graham Williamson crewing for John Bell. In the other race Pat and Jilly Blake were fighting for the lead with Roger Gilbert and James Stewart all the way round until the last few hundred yards when they fell into a calm patch and it was the brother and sister team of Andy Harris and Sara Warren who took the honours.

After lunch Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor justified their long trip down from Hollingworth Lake by winning their next two races, so did Simon and Esther. Judith and Phil had a 2nd & 3rd, as did Pat and Jilly, and Andrew and Sara had a 4th & 2nd. So when the tiebreaks were counted it was Team Winder that took the shield back up north.

Report: Pat Blake
See also:
    full results

Photo: Pat Blake