By Stephen Storey 12th March 2012
With Craftinsure again kindly sponsoring the 2012 Merlin Rocket premier traveller series the Silver Tiller, the season’s first event – the Warming Pan – took place on 10th and 11th March at Hamble River Sailing Club timed to coincide with the clubs 50th anniversary celebrations.
Out on the water difficult conditions prevailed all weekend and made life challenging not only for the competitors who had to battle tide with very light and changing wind directions but also for the race team in setting realistic courses to cope!
After an over enthusiastic rush at the line resulted in a general recall the first race finally started in a light north westerly with Richard Adams and Chris Gould in 3650 leading the fleet away on a reaching start down river for 3 laps around the windward leeward course in Southampton water. As the breeze slowly died away and the tidal effect became dominant it was the risky strategy of Jon Abbotson & John Gifford in 3707 who by taking a long tack out through the ebbing tide towards the west shore found themselves back in contention for a well-deserved win on the shortened course. Dan Alsop & Jennie King a close second in 3539 followed by Will Rainey and Will Carroll in 3693.
With less than 5 minutes ashore the fleet launched again for race two and in the resurgent force 1 breeze and bright sunshine the ever competitive Merlin Rockets tested the race team with their second general recall of the event. After a short postponement Richard Whitworth and Chris Winters pulled away to lead the race in almost identical conditions to those prevailing earlier. Tim Fells and Chris Downham in 3727 made an early challenge though not consistent enough to hold off the pressure from the ever wily Dan Alsop in Gangsta who again finished to take another consistent second place and the prize for Saturdays overall best Merlin Rocket result.
Sunday morning for race number 3 provided little more in the way of wind with the Race Officer electing to confine all boats to the river with a short beat off the start line and a broad reach down to the bottom mark being the favoured option.
As the race progressed and notwithstanding some of the closely fought racing amongst the fleet – notably Dave Dobrijevic and Jeremy Williamson in 3708 who came through to finish in a fine 5th place – undoubtedly the win of the weekend must go to Frances Gifford and Sophie Mackley. From the gun they steered Alan Warrens “Tiger Tiger” 3696 through every slight puff of breeze and wind shift to finish a clear 27 minutes ahead of the second placed boat of Ben Archer and Andy Brewer, both of whom sailed well throughout and especially in covering their own position in the major 180 degree wind shift on the last leg of the course.
2012 Warming Pan Overall Results
Class: Merlin-Rocket Discards: 0 Discards: 0
Monkey Business Sailed By
Jon Abbotson & Michael John Gifford Race Results
1, 9, 3 Pts
1 M3707 Monkey Business Jon Abbotson & Michael John Gifford 1, 9, 3 13
2 M3650 Headcase Rich Adams & Chris Gould 6, 3, 4 13
3 M373 Faithless Richard Whitworth & Chris Winters 4, 1, 15 20
4 M3684 Keyser Soze Andy Davis and Tom Pygall 9, 4, 7 20
5 M3539 Gangsta Paradise Dan Alsop and Jennie King 7, 2, 13 22
6 M3696 Tiger Tiger Frances Gifford & Sophie Mackley 5, 17, 1 23
7 M3732 M 3732 Dave Wade & Ben Rayner 7, 8, 9 24
8 M3634 Ministry of Pleasure Ben Archer & Andy Brewer 19, 5, 2 26
9 M3693 Slippery When Wet Will Rainey and Will Carroll 3, 14, 14 31
10 M1097 Flinkidink Mike Stephens & Jodok Gerber 8, 11, 12 31
11 M3685 The Black Pearl William Warren and Chris Robinson 14, 10, 8 32
12 M3730 Blood Sweat & Beers Ben Hollis & James Dawes 10, 15, 10 35
13 M3658 Re-Entry Chris Jennings & Roger Gilbert 16, 17, 6 39
14 M3727 Fragile Tim Fells & Chris Downham 12, 7, 25 44
15 M3734 M 3734 Sam Pascoe & Tim Rusk 10, 13, 25 48
16 M3712 Oakey Dokey Jon Gorringe & Nick Bass 17, 16, 16 49
17 M3708 Wicked Dave Dobrijevic & Jeremy Williamson 25, 25, 5 55
18 M3718 Miss Aigletinger David & Fiona Sayce 25, 6, 25 56
19 M3719 Fluffbum Babylove Mike Partridge & Claire Davis 12, 20, 25 57
20 M3661 Schmoozy Blue Graham and Ben Scroggie 15, 19, 25 59
21 M3579 Mango Tango Joe Mclaughlin & Charlie Morgan 25, 25, 11 61
22 M3698 M 3698 Graham Cranford-Smith & Tim Powell 18, 18, 25 61
23 M3556 Make it So Alex Jones & Jack Oeund 25, 25, 17 67
24 M3729 Shabazzle Jon Turner & Alan Tylor 25, 25, 25 75