Starcross Silver Tiller 2004

The Merlin Rocket fleet made a welcome return to Starcross Yacht Club for an open meeting over the weekend 7th / 8th August, with the Sunday only counting for Silver Tiller points. The event also formed part of the South West circuit.

After a slightly murky start on the Saturday, the skies quickly cleared to provide a beautiful hot sunny day whilst a force two breeze filled in from the South East, which gradually built through the afternoon. Rather than attempting to set a triangular course as in previous years, Race Officer Andy Woolner made best use of the Exe Estuary by laying a course that included two beats, a run and a variety of reaching legs. This provided an interesting and challenging course, and ensured that depth of water was never a problem.

In both races Mike and Jane Calvert (3626) took an early lead, which they maintained to the finish, followed by local sailors Dave Lee and Matt Buckle (3576). Third place in both races was very closely contested by a number of boats, with Nick and Carly Turner (3516) gaining the upper hand in the first race, and Mike Anslow and Chris Martin (3581) in the second. After sailing the two races back to back, the fleet came ashore to a superb afternoon tea. Mike Calvert then took the stage to provide an excellent masterclass, instructing the fleet on how to find some "free speed"...yeh man!

Sunday saw the arrival of several more visitors for the Silver Tiller races, including a very keen Matt Winder who had driven from Hollingworth that morning. Although there was a forecast for a much stronger South Easterly breeze, the wind never got above force 4. Andy Woolner set a very similar course to the Saturday, which this time provided some excellent fast planing reaches.

In the first race Glen Truswell and Paul 'Davo' Davies (3573) worked the left side of the first beat to arrive with a small lead over Dave Lee (3576) and Steve Tyler (3641) who had tacked up the sea wall on the right. Glen and Davo clearly revelled in the conditions and gradually pulled away from the fleet to build an impressive lead and win the race. Dave Lee and Steve Tyler also developed a small lead from Mike Calvert (3626) and Dan Alsop and Jilly Blake (3539), but some smooth and fast sailing by Mike enabled him to catch Steve near the end of the final round. Dave was then forced to maintain a close cover on Mike, but was able to successfully hold second place to the finish.

In the second race, Glen and Davo again led from start to finish to win the race and the Silver Tiller points, but this time were they close enough for us to read their sail numbers at the end. Mike Calvert and Dan Alsop had a tussle for second place, eventually finishing in that order. Also showing well were James Middleton-Stewart and Ian Smith sailing 3400 Dangerbat, who rounded the windward mark second and demonstrated good boat speed through the race to beat some much newer Merlins.

Overall, the fleet enjoyed some excellent close racing and some great sailing conditions. Thanks are due to local sailors Justin Eddy and Tony Blackmore for their superb organisation, local chandlery Sailsport for providing a free beer for every competitor on the Saturday, Andy Woolner for his race management, Mike Calvert for his masterclass and Jean Brook and the galley committee for feeding us so well. The Starcross Merlin fleet would also like to thank all those who attended, and look forward to seeing you next year.

Dave Lee

Open meeting results:
1st 	3626 	Mike and Jane Calvert
2nd 	3576 	Dave Lee and Matt Buckle
3rd 	3581 	Mike Anslow and Chris Martin

Silver Tiller results:
1st	3573	Glen Truswell and Davo
2nd	3626	Mike and Jane Calvert
3rd	3576	Dave Lee and Matt Buckle

Full results to follow.