Tiger Trophy 2010

Massive mixed-class event at Rutland, in memory of John Merricks
Light winds and fog greeted the 170 boats that turned up for the 2010 Tiger Trophy at Rutland Sailing Club. The sailors from the Merlins stood around and chatted while the racing was postponed as visibility was down to about 100m. Olly Turner took this opportunity to get in some fitness training and ran round the lake (so he claimed anyway…..)

Eventually the postponement was taken down and everyone was sent out for a sail, in 5 – 10 knots of wind, which was shifting up to 40 degrees and had definitely not cleared the fog. Matt Biggs emerged out of the gloom first to the windward mark in the first race with his new crew Ben Hollis. They held this lead to the end from Stu Bithell and Chris Martin. The second race was much the same affair, except that a couple of the Merlins managed to get themselves Black Flagged. This was probably due to the committee boat being hidden in the fog so nobody knew where the line was….

Stu Bithell managed to get into the lead in this race and stayed there. One of the Phantoms decided to remind us that it was a multi-class event and pushed into the top three with a second, followed by Taxi and then Matt. This put Stu in the lead overnight with 3 points, followed by Matt on 5, then Taxi on 7.

A lot of the Merlin sailors made the trip back to Chateu Biggs for a night that involved copious amounts of beer, wine, chilli (made by Mrs Biggs), rum, Jack Daniels and a Wii dancing game that Ben Hollis was the undisputed champion at.

Sunday dawned with less fog, less wind and much less clear heads. The non-discardable pursuit race was held in a very patchy wind that was enough for sitting out at times, and not enough to fill the kite at others. During the first lap, the Merlins were looking very good and were catching the slower boats fast. Stu Bithell once again launched into the lead and looked like he was running away with it. Matt wasn’t having any of that though and clawed him back to take the pursuit race victory and with it the weekend. Stu held on to third in the pursuit, which gave him second overall. The phantom took the final podium position.

There were 4 Merlins in the top 10 overall, with most of the others still in the top 20. Well done to Matt and Ben, Merlins are now the third class to have won the Tiger Trophy more than once.

Report: Pete Horn

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