The Merlin Rocket Inland Championship 2012

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The Merlin Rocket Inland Championships, sponsored by Nautilus Yachting, descended upon Blithfield SC over the 15th/16th September. 56 boats attended making the trip to the large Staffordshire water.

As is often the case when big events come round it was very much a “It’s not normally like this here” weekend, and while the weather in general was very nice the breeze was fickle in direction and while never a drifter variable in strength. It was certainly not a good weekend to be in the committee boat!

The first start of race 1 was a taste of things to come, a 30 degree shift to the left made the pin end unlayable with 30 seconds to go and led inevitably to a general recall. The restart under black flag claimed a number of victims, some prominent home club sailors finding membership was no guarantee of diplomatic immunity! Richard Whitworth and Sarah Bines led at the windward mark and built up a large lead taking the bullet, Jon Gorringe and Toby Lewis came in second with home couple Steve and Gill “We always do rubbish at Blithfield” Leney taking third.

The second race was started under black flag, with a slight pin bias to tempt the fleet away from the committee boat. This race was serious snakes and ladders, with massive gains to be made if you found the right patch of breeze and just as easily lost if you were a few feet outside the gust. Rich Adams and Chris Gould from Midland SC took the bullet in this race, Jon and Toby proving consistant with another second and Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis third.

By race three, the wind had built slightly to about force three with the odd lump in it, but any thought of this being a steadying influence was put to bed 30 seconds before the start when a huge shift, this time right, really set the cat amongst the pigeons on the line. Chris Martin and Tom Dunne made a perfect, if somewhat fortuitous, start right on the committee boat and led at the first mark where knot failure set in. In the process of sorting things out a small group of following boats assumed they were sailing the course – oops! Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis took over the lead at the second mark but had to settle for second as the charging Richard/Sarah took their third win placing one hand on the trophy overnight. Dave Hayes and Johnny Ratcliffe came in third.

It’s well known that the Merlin fraternity like a good party, and the state of the clubs bar stock on Sunday morning was testament too this with two empty lager barrels and three empty casks of real ale. a pig roast, jazz band and bar diving kept the fleet entertained until the early hours and Steve Leney’s morning hoovering of the clubhouse floor must have seemed like a very early start to those asleep on it!

The breeze was slightly stronger than the previous day but though things looked promising at first, it turned out to be no steadier. Richard and Sarah were again flying and took the bullet with Andy Davies and Tom Pygall coming in close behind and Nick Craig and James Stewart third.

Their win in the previous race ended the rush for first place, but there were four boats in with a shout at second. Nick Craig and James Stewart led the fourth race from start to finish, the consistent team of Jon and Toby came in second taking second place  overall and Taxi and Tom coming in third placing them third overall.

Thanks go to everyone who helped organise the event, Nautilus for sponsoring the prizes, and especially PRO Jim Woodward and his team for an excellent job in very trying conditions.


Merlin Rocket Inland Chamoionship 2012
15-16th September

Pos Sail Club Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Pts  
1 3703 Parkstone Richard Whitworth Sarah Bines 1.0 4.0 1.0 1.0 14.0 7.0
2 3712 Parkstone Jon Gorringe Toby Lewis 2.0 2.0 7.0 2.0 22.0 13.0
3 3684 Blithfield Andy Davis Tom Pygall 4.0 5.0 2.0 3.0 24.0 14.0
4 3722 Blithfield Matt Biggs Ben Hollis 3.0 2.0 5.0 8.0 75.0 18.0
5 3734 Hayling Island David Hayes Johnny Ratcliffe 8.0 12.0 3.0 5.0 43.0 28.0
6 3675 Frensham Pond Nick Craig James Stewart 10.0 16.0 3.0 1.0 50.0 30.0
7 3716 Blithfield Steve Leney Gill Leney 3.0 6.0 7.0 14.0 46.0 30.0
8 3735 Hollingworth David Winder Pippa Taylor 13.0 5.0 8.0 4.0 47.0 30.0
9 3676 Ranelagh Frances Gifford Chrsi Downham 9.0 16.0 4.0 6.0 53.0 35.0
10 3658 Burghfield Chris Jennings Chris Martin 10.0 17.0 4.0 6.0 61.0 37.0
11 3708 Notts County Tom Jeffcote Penny Jeffcoate 5.0 8.0 16.0 10.0 59.0 39.0
12 3732 Northampton David Wade Ben Rayner 15.0 11.0 9.0 9.0 63.0 44.0
13 3733 Ranelagh Jon Ibbotson Oli Wells 7.0 13.0 17.0 14.0 77.0 51.0
14 3656 Starcross Olly Turner Alex Warren 6.0 19.0 20.0 13.0 79.0 58.0
15 3702 Wembley Duncan Salmon Harriet Salmon 17.0 14.0 6.0 22.0 83.0 59.0
16 3740 Cookham Reach Pat Blake Jill Blake 12.0 9.0 24.0 18.0 90.0 63.0
17 3688 Lyme Regis Dan Alsop Sophie Mackley 23.0 13.0 12.0 15.0 120.0 63.0
18 3729 Lyme Regis Jon Turner Richard Parslow 18.0 27.0 11.0 12.0 125.0 68.0
19 3685 Shoreham William Warren Chris Robinson 21.0 15.0 10.0 25.0 96.0 71.0
20 3627 Brightlingsea Dan Willett Pete Nicholson 19.0 33.0 14.0 13.0 113.0 79.0
21 3696 Shoreham Alan Warren William Carroll 8.0 20.0 24.0 28.0 110.0 80.0
22 3671 Brightlingsea Piers Lambert Andy Bines 29.0 18.0 23.0 11.0 117.0 81.0
23 3659 Hollingworth Julian Parry Ben Hendon 16.0 25.0 22.0 19.0 139.0 82.0
24 3690 H.S.C. Andy Dalby Andrea Ralph 26.0 7.0 25.0 30.0 119.0 88.0
25 3730 Blithfield Paul Hollis James Dawes 28.0 22.0 21.0 17.0 145.0 88.0
26 3731 Parkstone Andy Jones Maddie Jones 23.0 21.0 23.0 21.0 120.0 88.0
27 3650 Midland Rich Adams Chris Gould 18.0 1.0 15.0 57.0 DNC 148.0 91.0
28 3583 Blithfield Chris Martin Tom Dunne 32.0 11.0 28.0 26.0 154.0 97.0
29 3339 Blithfield Tim Male Rebecca Male 11.0 27.0 30.0 37.0 145.0 105.0
30 3641 Parkstone Mark Waterhouse Nicki Bass 14.0 30.0 35.0 32.0 156.0 111.0
31 3573   Simon Bond Anna Bond 29.0 38.0 26.0 19.0 154.0 112.0
32 3618 Bewl Valley Andy Kerr Gareth Hall 34.0 28.0 33.0 20.0 153.0 115.0
33 3643 Hampton Tim Harridge Bug Harridge 37.0 33.0 27.0 23.0 165.0 120.0
34 3663 Blackpool and Fleetwood Chris Haworth Jo Harvey 22.0 32.0 36.0 31.0 157.0 121.0
35 3683 Lymington Tony Johnson Louise Johnson 35.0 35.0 31.0 22.0 166.0 123.0
36 3705 Blithfield Geoff Wright Katie Wright 24.0 36.0 29.0 35.0 163.0 124.0
37 3510 Rudyard Lake Mike Raine Janey Hill 25.0 31.0 34.0 35.0 182.0 125.0
38 3710 Hayling Island John Rees Mari Shepherd 39.0 26.0 34.0 29.0 170.0 128.0
39 3644 Blithfield Steve Hendon Lizzie Hendon 31.0 38.0 12.0 57.0 DNC 195.0 138.0
40 3442 Ranelagh Mark Stockbridge Matt Greenfield 44.0 37.0 30.0 33.0 191.0 144.0
41 3634 Parkstone Ben Archer Hugo Pullen 33.0 41.0 37.0 36.0 188.0 147.0
42 3547 Blithfield Peter Male Christine Male 27.0 40.0 43.0 38.0 195.0 148.0
43 3402 Midland Rob Kennaugh Abi Spurr 37.0 28.0 29.0 57.0 DNC 208.0 151.0
44 3508 Redditch Colin Anderson Sean Anderson 34.0 40.0 39.0 41.0 199.0 154.0
45 3674 Midland Mike Anslow Jayden Wood 32.0 47.0 45.0 38.0 219.0 162.0
46 2997 Fishers Green Richard Coulter Christian Hill 46.0 43.0 41.0 39.0 217.0 169.0
47 3662 Chelmarsh Mike Whitehouse Karen Whitehouse 40.0 50.0 39.0 44.0 230.0 173.0
48 3597 Blackpool and Fleetwood Peter Jackson Andy 43.0 46.0 46.0 40.0 232.0 175.0
49 3567 Blithfield Martin Smith Karen Beston 44.0 49.0 42.0 42.0 226.0 177.0
50 3582 Midland Malcolm Hyams Yasmin Ghani 42.0 48.0 50.0 46.0 243.0 186.0
51 3610 Midland Ian Smith Matt Smith 41.0 51.0 44.0 57.0 DNC 250.0 193.0
52 3541 Blithfield Norman Price Mat Hartley 50.0 52.0 48.0 43.0 246.0 193.0
53 3548 Blithfield Kieron Mason George Mason 49.0 57.0 DNC 50.0 44.0 257.0 200.0
54 3555 Blithfield Ian MacKenzie Angela MacKenzie 48.0 53.0 52.0 47.0 257.0 200.0
55 3680 Midland Steve Watson Luke Tucker 57.0 DNC 51.0 49.0 57.0 DNC 271.0 214.0
56 3565 Blithfield Paul Keeling Michelle Keeling 57.0 DNF 57.0 DNC 57.0 DNC 57.0 DNC 285.0 228.0

5 races, 4 to count.

 

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