Hayling Open 2007

36 Merlins entered for the ‘open water’ Silver Tiller meeting at Hayling Island Sailing Club, 13 were recovering from one of the best sails of the year the day before, at the Glyn Charles pursuit race. Unfortunately they were greeted with a fickle North-Westerly force 0. After the inevitable postponement, a light sea breeze picked up from the South-West allowing the fleet to be launched.

With a strong flood tide and the light breeze, a little local knowledge of the mud banks, sand bars and tidal eddies would be invaluable; and so it proved as within minutes of a heavily-biased port end start. The starboard end starters were 500yards ahead, lee-bowing the tide, directly to the weather mark, never to be caught. Roger Gilbert and James Stewart won, with Judith Massey and Rachel Dobrijevic 2nd, and Tom Stewart recovering brilliantly to take 3rd.

Race 2 proved to be a much longer navigational test round the harbour, with the wind dying as the race progressed. This time Will Rainey and Vicky showed the fleet the way, with the ever consistent Roger and James 2nd, and Alex Jackson and Rachel Williamson coming 3rd.

Race 3 provided the lightest race of all, but with high tide approaching the tide was not such an issue. This was won by 49er sailors Rick Peacock and Tom Dawson (who had borrowed Liam’s boat for the day), from Chris Lewns and Jane in 2nd, and Tom Stewart and Chris Downham 3rd.

It was a very taxing but interesting days sailing, and despite the light winds there was never a dull moment. Many thanks go to race officer Dick Batt and the HISC team, who laid on some excellent courses around the harbour despite the challenging conditions. The sailing instructions interestingly included a NO discard scoring system that meant there were different results for the open meeting and the Silver Tiller (the ST must include a discard). So overall Roger Gilbert won both events, Tom Stewart was 2nd in the open, but lost 2nd in the Silver Tiller to Will and Vicky, with Judith and Rach 3rd in both.

Report: Willie Warren
See also:
    full results
    Glyn Charles pursuit race the day before