by Louay Habib
TP52 John Merricks
This year’s De Guingand Bowl race was won by the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme’s TP52, John Merricks II. Peter Harrison’s Farr 52, Chernikeeff 2 was in contention but a problem with their backstay ended with them deciding to retire. In Class Zero the top three were all British Rolex Commodores’ Cup boats with Nick and Annie Haigh’s DK46, Dark and Steamy winning the class.
John Merricks II Skipper Ian Walker, was highly impressed with the attitude and work ethos of the young crew:
'This is the second time I have sailed with the team and I am really impressed with the atmosphere on board, there are no prima donnas. The emphasis is on learning and the RORC set a course which was ideal for that purpose. We used just about every sail on the boat and did just about every manoeuvre.
The crew was bolstered by the highly experienced Freddie Shanks on the bow and the crew learnt a huge amount from him during the race. Obviously, we are delighted to have won the race and perhaps the tidal gate at Ocean Safety was a big factor, but we will take the win and the young crew should be congratulated for their effort and their commitment.'
In Class Super zero, John Merricks II was the winner, Peter Harrison’s Farr 52, Chernikeeff 2 was in contention but a problem with their backstay ended with them deciding to retire.
In Class Zero. The top three were all British Rolex Commodores’ Cup boats with Nick and Annie Haigh’s DK46, Dark and Steamy winning the class from Jerry Otter’s Ker 39, Erivale III and David Lancefield First 45, Poppy of Portland Marina was third.
Nick Haigh commented: 'It was an interesting race, we very nearly had to pull out after a steering problem early on, then cheating the tide down the Dorset coast. I think some of the hill walkers thought we were going to join the National Trust! We were happy with our form and we could see the big boats ahead of us for much of the race which was psychologically rewarding, but the tidal gate at Ocean Safety was a big factor and that is where John Merricks II got away from us. Towards the finish, we had a marvellous night power reaching back to the Solent.'
In Class One, Phillipe Delaporte’s, J/122, Pen Azen won class for the second offshore in succession. In second place was The Army Sailing Association’s A40RS, British Soldier and Sailing Logic’s Reflex 38, Puma Logic was third.
In Class Two, Noel Racine’s JPK 9.60, Foggy Dew, enjoyed the lively conditions. In second place was British Rolex Commodores’ Cup entrant, Adrian Lowers J/109, Jaguar of Burnham. Michael Boyd & Niall Dowling J/105, Slingshot was third in class. An impressive result as they were sailing two handed. However debutants, Nick and Suzi Jones’ First 34.7, Astarte, won the two handed division beating Slingshot into second place with Simon Curwen’s J/105, Voador in third.
Class 3 saw triumph for the oldest boat in the fleet, Paul March’s S&S, Clarionet. David Lees’ High Tension 36, Hephzibah continued her consistent form with a second place and Astarte was third. Paul March commented, 'What a superb race, especially the reach in the Channel back to the Solent, truly great sailing!'