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
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