Parkstone Open 2009

The deciding event for the Silver Tiller!
Silver Tiller series sponsored by:
Speed Sails

The day kicked off with bacon butties and rain. The PRO, Barry Rolfe, gave a quick briefing to the 39 entries. This being the culmination if the Silver Tiller, there were still 5 teams that could still win the Silver Tiller. Unbeknown to the competitors it had been agreed up front that too much wind was not an excuse to stopping the race, luckily we didn’t know that. Although it was a daunting forecast, it was definitely sailable, so with hope in our hearts we hit the water under the mistaken thought that the racing could be canned if it got “a bit too much”.

Race 1 : 15-26knts Direction: SSW

The race kicked off with a committee boat biased line, Mat and Rob with the Tyler’s won the start, however it was Sally and Richard and Jon & Pete who rounded the windward mark 1st & 2nd respectively, both had gone more right than most, which seemed to be the pattern of the day regardless of the tide. With the mist still down, and the specially colour co-ordinated marks that were amazingly camouflaged, Richard struggled to track straight to the marks. Jon & Pete hustled them all the way round overtaking them a number of times to make a real race of it, however, heywere not able to turn their advantage into a first they could hold onto. Andy and Ellie broke through to 3rd with Liam and Tom sailing well (and upright for a change) to hang onto 4th.

Race 2 : 23-27knts Direction: SW

The mist cleared, and the waves got bigger but not really any longer, by now 13 boats/crews had somehow been broken – with the notable absence of the midland pair of Matt and Rob. The cobbling together of boats either by new crews or spare helms or bits of boats – for those that got back out, was well worth it! The beats were very wet, and the reaches full on with or without the kite. The course was such that the 1st reach was a bit broad, and the second reach too tight for the kite, but hey you didn’t have to gybe the kite! - which was kinda cool. Mike and Chris found the go button and led from start to finish! When you went right you never seemed to lose out, but there was always the speed premium to those that sailed they’re boats flat and dry and Andy & Ellie got themselves to 2nd. The runs were exhilarating, sitting well aft was good and with most people having lost their burgee, through some mishap or other, the jib became your aide d’memoire in case you were running by the lee.

Race 3 : 25-bloody windy (31.8knts) Direction: It didn’t seem to matter any more

The Sun came out - Hurrah! For a moment the wind moderated and then veered even more - so the PRO moved the course. But where was everyone – only 11 boats started! By the time the race kicked off the wind was back with a vengeance. Going into the last race any of 4 boats could still win the event. These four duly arrived at the windward mark within a boat length of each other, Mike & Chris 1st, Richard & Sally 2nd, Andy & Ellie 3rd with Jon & Pete 4th. The front 3 went to the wrong mark, and with Dave Harding with his Photo boat capturing the awesome reaching scenes the race became full on at the gybe mark. Mike dropped his kite and luffed Richard (yes in 28+knts) with his kite still up. Richard somehow hung on, slowed up and dipped his transom gaining the inside overlap at the mark and gybed ahead and headed up of Mike, only to be overtaken by Andy due to an outstanding gybe that took through Richard and Mike straight into the lead. This was probable the pivotal moment of the race. Yes, Richard capsized, yes the tide turned and started ebbing (but following the locals is never a good idea) but still right paid and Andy & Ellie extended their lead and duly won the race.

Thus Andy Davis won the event, and earned enough points to top the Silver Tiller leaderboard too, knocking close contenders off to claim the title for his first time. He donned silver shoes with his tuxedo that night! The series is meant for helms, travelling to different events, but we must congratulate Ellie Bremer too, as permanent crew for Andy in 2009.

Thanks to all those who came down to sail at Parkstone and to all those who gave up their time to arrange the sailing and eating – special thanks to Ally Tyler, Trish Scroggie, Mark Waterhouse and Barry Rolfe and his team. The annual dinner that evening was well-attended, with dancing into the early hours. 3 boats managed to make it out for the Sunday club race at Parkstone and it was fantastic!

Report: Jon Gorringe
Photos: David Harding - www.sailingscenes.co.uk

See also:
    Full results
    Photos on Y&Y website
    Silver Tiller final positions