Hampton Open 2007

Vintage racing on Saturday, and an open meeting on the Sunday

Twelve vintage Merlins braved the light winds forecast for Saturday and they were to enjoy some good, albeit slow at times, racing. It was good to see that the visitors from Thames, Minima, Tamesis and Ranelagh Sailing clubs were prepared to ignore the forecast and travel to compete at Hampton. There was also the rare chance to see Merlin number 1, “Kate” the first of its class.

This was also the 15th and final event in the Vintage Merlin Series.

The first race was postponed, to hopefully allow the breeze to increase a little, especially in view of the fast-running stream, and once started saw 2018 from Hampton sailing club (helmed by Hywel Perkins and crewed by George Thomas) take an early lead which they kept to the end of the race. Second spot was taken by 2529 from Minima helmed by Ben Marshall crewed by John Wilkey, and a very creditable third place being taken by 1 helmed by Mervyn Allen crewed by Lora Stock.

The second start had 1631 fromTamesis, helmed by Phil Plumtree and crewed by Steph, take an early lead only to be overtaken by Hywel who was to hold the front spot until he took an early bath when he slipped and fell into the river. Despite a quick recovery he was to be overtaken by 607 from Tamesis helmed by Berry Ritchie crewed by Barry Mourant right at the end of the race.

This left all to be decided in the third and final race with three boats in contention for the lead.

This race was to see the postponement flag flown again whilst the outer distance mark was recovered and repositioned (after it had been snagged by one of the competitors). A disastrous first lap saw Hywel way down the field in ninth place, with the other two contenders, Ben Marshall and Berry Ritchie in third and 7th places respectively. The second lap saw a remarkable recovery from Hywel rising from 9th to take the lead, although he was to lose this to 1695, another Hampton boat, helmed by Stuart Jenkins and crewed by his young daughter Imogen.

Top 4 results:
1st	2018 Hywel Perkins & George Thomas - Hampton Sailing Club
2nd 2529 Ben Marshall & John Wilkey - Minima Sailing Club
3rd 607 Berry Ritchie & Barry Mourant - Tamesis Sailing Club
4th 1631 Phil Plumtree & Steph - Tamesis Sailing Club

Despite the virtual absence of wind on Sunday morning 16 boats, with visitors from Tamesis turned up to sail. Due to the lack of wind and a strong stream running, the first race had to be abandoned and an early lunch was taken hoping for more wind in the afternoon. This gave Hywel Perkins the chance to complete rethread his main halyard...twice.

The second race got underway with all sixteen boats contesting a fairly short starting line, and this together with the stream led to three boats being over the line at the start. Two of these returned and cleared the line fairly quickly, whilst the third (1695) had already rounded the bottom mark before realising and having to return to the start.

Meanwhile 3560 from Tamesis, helmed by Mike Stevens and crewed by Oscar, had taken the lead, closely pursued by 2018 from Hampton Sailing Club, helmed by Hywel Perkins and crewed by his son Morgan. Hywel gained the lead on the second lap but by the end had been overtaken by Mike. Third place was claimed by 1222 from Hampton, helmed by Richard Page and crewed by his daughter Elizabeth.

The final race took place in an even lighter breeze and this led to several boats either not starting or retiring during the race. An early leader was 3690 Andy Dalby, crewed by Fran Gifford, but he was unable to maintain this position being passed by three others by the end. They seemed to get unusually wet for some reason too?

Mike Stevens coming from second to take the race with Hywel moving up from third to second and 1695 from Hampton Sailing Club, helmed by Stuart Jenkins and crewed by Olivia Bell, coming from 5th to take the third spot.

Top 5 results:
1st	3560 Mike Stevens & Oscar - Tamesis Sailing Club
2nd 2018 Hywel Perkins & Morgan Perkins - Hampton Sailing Club
3rd	3690 Andy Dalby & Fran Gifford - Hampton Sailing Club
4th	1761 Phil Dalby & Suzie Bell - Hampton Sailing Club
5th	1695 Stuart Jenkins & Olivia Bell - Hampton Sailing Club

Report and photos: Derek May