Sailing for the Audrey Petit Memorial Trophy – March 31st-April 1st 2012
It was with great anticipation of the new Open Sailing season that forty seven Merlin’s arrived in Salcombe with balmy weather for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller Open meeting. Phil Dalby – often seen at the sharp end of many a winning Merlin- turned forty and the weekend proved a great celebration. Saturday dawned and the easterly wind had brought cooler weather but for those on the water the challenges of sailing in Salcombe gave plenty of reasons to get hot!
In Race 1 Dave Winder & Pippa Taylor went flying off the blocks and together with David Hayes & Jonny Ratcliff it looked like these two boats had the race won. But they sailed into a hole and Matt Biggs & Ben Hollis were quick to catch up, although Dave Winder went on to take line honours.
The Home fleets of Salcombe were now on the water for Race 2. Jon Ibbotson was leading comfortably and then got “bagged in the notorious Bag” on the way up to Gerston (a strange area of local wind that has at times been the downfall of many a race winning crew). The Bag was chaos with boats changing places with each shift. Tom Stewart & Steve Hall however came out on top and then held their lead to win the race. Jon Gorringe & Toby Lewis gained several places close tacking up the Town shore on the final beat against the tide to come second.
Tom Stewart & Steve Hall buoyed up from Saturday were clearly on form and they won Races 3 & 4 on Sunday too. In both races Jon Gorringe & Toby Lewis pushed them hard but could not get past.
The Race Box was alarmed at one point to see a man overboard, and 20m from their boat (3574), John Donahugh and Amiee Cleaves managed to recover the situation themselves and carry on.
Salcombe Yacht Club is really looking forward to welcoming the Merlin’s back in July for Merlin Week. This event is normally limited to just a 100 boats but at this stage there are still just few spaces remaining so contact the club and enter if you haven’t already done so. The mixture of fine sailing and fun socializing is not to be missed!
1st 3733 Tom Stewart & Steve Hall
2nd 3712 Jon Gorringe & Toby Lewis
3rd 3735 David Winder & Pippa Taylor
4th 3722 Matthew Biggs & Bengy Hollis
Report & Photographs by: Jayne Morris