Whitstable Open 2009

Silver Tiller series sponsored by:
Speed Sails
Thirty three Merlin Rockets arrived at Whitstable to be greeted by light airs and sunshine. Would the sea breeze kick in or would it remain light and shifty? It looked as if R/O Jon Silk and his team would have their work cut out.

Day one and with two races scheduled the weather was going to be the big player today.

Race 1 kicked off in a light breeze with The Black Pearl (Will Warren/Chris Robinson) and Business As Usual (Glenn Truswell/Ollie Turner) taking up the charge. Over the first two laps it was to be these two vying for the lead with the pack in hot pursuit. However, the breeze had other ideas and on lap 3 the Fat Lady sung. The pressure dropped and changed direction. The big beneficiary was 2 Pints of Lager (Matt Biggs/Rob Kennaugh) who worked their way into the lead and extended to a commanding lead, finishing 15 minutes in front of Keyser Soze (Andy Davis/Ellie Bremner) and Smart Tart (Simon Blake/Phil Dalby). Top local boat was Devilled Kidney (Dan Parsons/Hamish Kilburn).

With the breeze dying, the fleet headed for shore. Saturday night followed the usual pattern of partying and late night clubbing, but who would survive to enjoy the following day?


Sunday and the fleet were greeted with fog. Following a 45 minute postponement, the fleet launched at 1030 to hopefully get 3 races in.

Race 3, and straight into the black flag with 3 binned on the first recall. On the restart, it was Business as Usual that led off the start and held the middle right to lead round the windward mark and gradually pull away from the fleet to win by 2 minutes 25 seconds. Second was the Black Pearl followed by Keyser Soze, Quick Fix (Mike Calvert/Ian Garwood) and Time & Tide (John Bell/Graham Williamson).

Race 4 and this time a General Recall under the Blue Peter, going straight into the black flag. This time the fleet were caught by a left shift and so were shy of the line on a flood tide. Tacking out of the middle of the line, it was Livestrong (Chris Lewns/Tom Pygall) and Stomper (Tom Stewart/Liam Dempsey) that cleared the fleet and headed off into the lead as the sea breeze built to a force 3. Throughout the first beat it was to be these two that swapped the lead but at the windward mark Livestrong lead by 25 seconds from Business as Usual who had overtaken Stomper, only to hit the mark and spun, rejoining in third. Livestrong held their 25 second margin over Stomper for the two laps to the finish. Stomper was closely followed by Business as Usual, Keyser Soze and The Black Pearl.

With Business as Usual and Keyser Soze veying for the meeting, all was to play for. The final race, race 2 held over from the previous day, was to be sailed in a force 3 fading to force 2. On this occasion after the first general recall, the restart was again under the black flag. Monkey Business (Alex Jackson/Chris Whitehouse) won the pin and held the left hand side of the beat with Smart Tart. Leading round the windward mark, Monkey Business was followed by Smart Tart. Both were hounded but not passed by Business as Usual and Keyser Soze for the first lap with Smart Tart slipping to fourth. Then it was Keyser Soze who first past Monkey Business, then Business as Usual who was under pressure to stay in the chase. With Keyser Soze looking to take the event, it was Business as Usual that proved they can pull the rabbit out of the hat to claw second and take the meeting by one point.

A well run event both on and off the water. Hopefully conditions will be this good for the Nationals in August.

Report: Mark Barnes
Photos: Tim Rush

See also:
    Full results
    Silver Tiller positions so far