Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Whitstable

Champagne conditions greeted the 36 competitors for the Silver Tiller meeting on Sunday 29 June. Although this was a two day meeting only Sundays racing counted for the coveted Silver Tiller points.

Saturday's race, sailed in a 5 knot easterly was a race officer's nightmare. The tide swept the fleet to the windward mark where they parked under spinnakers barely making progress. Simon Blake and Linton Jenkins rounded first and managed to escape the following pack to win a shortened race by a mile from Tom Stewart and Chris Downham and Laurie Smart and Anna Blake.

Sunday was altogether different with a 15 knot easterly that built to 19, big waves all the way from Holland and sparkling sunshine. Class Chairman Pat Blake crewed by Alex Jackson led round every mark in both races to record two bullets. Tom Stewart was second in the first race followed by Phil King in his new Full Force boat. Alan Warren and Liam Dempsey revelled in the conditions to finish fourth. In the second race many of the front runners fell foul of the black flag but Graham and Ben Scroggie made no mistake to finish second but there was a battle royal for third place which was claimed by Alan Warren from Judith Massey and Phil Dalby, and Tom Stewart.

This was the first windy sea meeting for the class with the new rules spinnakers. There didn't seem to be any problems with everyone reporting much more power through the very big waves. Hardware manufacturers could probably make a fortune if there were ratchet blocks available that could be fitted into the side decks.

So a tired but happy band of Merlin sailors made their way home with memories of well set courses, fantastic reaches and surfing runs. Whitstable doesn't get much better than this.

John Cooper


See also - full results