Glyn Charles Pursuit Race 2007

Wow!! What a day! 140 entrants for the Glyn Charles pursuit race arrived at Hayling Island Sailing Club, with clear blue skies and a brisk south westerly force 4-5, gusting 6. Only 91 boats survived the run from the club to the start line, with some notable names returning to shore to keep their boats intact. However 13 Merlins made it to the start line, just 5 boats short of being the largest entry, which fell to the RS200ís.

With a strong flood tide, nailing the first beat would be critical, and after a clean start William Warren and Chris Robinson rounded first Merlin, closely followed by Dave and Rachel Dobrijevic, and a whole host of Merlins, Flying Fifteens, and RS200ís that had already been caught by the closely matched Merlin fleet. Spinnakers were quickly hoisted as the windward mark was under the lee of the club, but it was soon apparent that it would be a struggle to reach the next turning mark. Will and Chris got tangled up with a flying fifteen on the gybe, which allowed Dave and Rachel through on the inside, they set off on the next screaming reach, with Will and Chris now in hot pursuit. By the end of the next leg, Matt Biggs and Claire Stopps were in closing in, as to were Roger Gilbert and James Stewart, and boats of all shapes and sizes from Fevas to Swallows were being passed by the leading Merlins in clouds of spray, but far ahead was a superbly sailed 420 leading the way.

A big decision needed to be made for the next upwind leg; left or right to cheat the tide. The majority of the fleet opted for the right, but by half way 3 fireballs had banged hard left and were now 500 yards ahead of the Merlins and most of the fleet. The overall prize was lost, however the race was still on for the minor placings and who would win out in the Merlins. Will and Chris closed onto the transom of Dave and Rachel by the top mark, but in their haste to hoist the spinny managed to capsize, which allowed Roger and James through. By now the wind had increased further to a steady force five and it was becoming a survival test for many, but the majority of Merlins (with the ability to rake their rigs so efficiently) were able to continue to more than hold their own and race hard.

With the 1 hour 45 minute time limit fast approaching, Dave and Rachel were still picking off the slower early starters, but a windsurfer and an International Canoe managed to slip past before the finish. They finished 8th overall and first Merlin, with Roger and James 9th, Will and Chris 11th, and a flying Graham and Ben Scroggie coming through to 12th. In all there were 7 Merlins in the top 25, a fantastic effort in a top quality fleet. Chip Howarth in his fireball won comfortably from the 420 of James and Will Rushdon, with 2 more fireballs in 3rd and 4th. Chips won a 2-week holiday in Greece courtesy of Neilson holidays.

It was a truly fantastic days sailing, with the whole fleet coming off the water elated by the conditions. The race management by the HISC team was superb, providing perfectly set reaches that will linger long in the memory.

Report: Willie Warren
See also:
    full results
    a great shot of Dave and Rach going strong

    many more photos from Steve Arkley
    some photos from Ingrid Abery

    the Merlin open meeting the day after

Merlin results only:
8  	3643 	Dave Dobrijevic 	Rach Dobrijevic 	HISC 
9	3656 	Roger Gilbert 		James Stewart 		Frensham Pond 
11	3685 	William Warren 		Chris Robinson 		Shoreham
12 	3661 	Graham Scroggie 	Ben Scroggie 		Parkstone 
18 	3684 	Andy Davis 		Ellie Bremer 		Hollingwoth Lake 
24 	3683 	Tom Stewart 		Chris Downham 		Nothampton
25 	3665 	Matt Biggs 		Claire Stopps 
41 	3627 	Liam Dempsey 		Magnus Smith 		Wembley SC 
46 	3673 	Alan Warren 		James Warren 		Shoreham 
63 	3510 	Tim Boon 		Chris Bownes 		HISC 
75 	3671 	Alan Fuller 		Catherine Dash 		Lyme Regis