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Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller Round 17 at Lymington Town Sailing Club

by Frances Gifford 10 Sep 2019 02:46 PDT 7-8 September 2019
Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Lymington © Richard Russell

The Craftinsure Merlin Rocket non-flying Silver Tiller circus landed at Lymington Town Sailing Club over the weekend of the 7th-8th September. Lymington famously delivers whatever the weather, and 30 boats arrived on Saturday very excited about their post race tea and doughnuts.

With six races to be sailed over the weekend, and Sunday's forecast not quite perfect, we were briefed to expect at least four races, maybe five on Saturday. And so it happened. We hoisted our kites and sailed out of the river into the yachting mecca of the solent, and headed all the way to the Isle of Wight which was pretty nice for those of us not from down that way.

Injured local, Sarah Richards had been forthcoming with her knowledge of what the day would bring. An averaging 13 knot northerly breeze would bring big shifts and pressure differentials which would make things pretty challenging, but the tide would be going the same way all day. Sarah was right.

The beats had the shifts and the pressure differentials and so did the runs and reaches. They were everywhere, and it was busy, making it easy to convert a 2nd place into a 13th, executed to perfection in race two by David and Vicki Lenz. By the end of the day most people felt that most of their conversions had been in a downward direction. Luckily the board of the U-flag offenders was well populated so occasionally you could gain a few places without having to get the shifts right. Which was lucky.

Four races were sailed, of a sausage-triangle variety, which luckily many of us had practised at the recent National Championships in Looe. This was only complicated by knowing how many laps to do. Luckily the leaders of the final race, Chrisses Gould and Kilsby, had noticed the increase in laps from 3 to 4, but Caroline Croft and Sophie Mackley briefly thought there was an opportunity for glory and headed for the finish. This transpired to be another means of converting a tidy 5th into a still reasonably tidy 6th.

Saturday's line honours went to Christian Birrell and George Yeoman (twice), Gould and Kilsby (once) and Tim Saxton sailing with Tom Pygall. There was minimal consistency demonstrated by the fleet leaving the event wide open, should conditions allow on the Sunday.

The fleet retreated ashore, now salivating at the prospect of doughnuts, hopefully of the sugary jammy variety, always provided as a gift, just for remembering to sign back in... To my knowledge everyone signed back in, but.... no-one got a doughnut. There were actually no doughnuts. There was tea and coffee, and quite an extraordinary array of cakes, cooked by the LTSC merlin fleet at short notice we were told, on late receipt of the news that there was a problem with the doughnut supply. It seemed that 59 of the 60 competitors thought this was a dream come true, and the boats remained un-derigged, whilst people tucked into lemon drizzle, rocky road, some kind of sponge and various other cake like items, but for the non-cake eaters amongst us (1), it was a sad and lonely de-rig.

Luckily the promised chilli was chilli. And had all the trimmings - nachos, jalapenos, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Genuinely better than a Mexican restaurant. Washed down with ice-cream. And the bar was well stocked and everyone had tales to tell of the fun they'd had out racing that day.

Sunday dawned, lovely and sunny, and it turned out that some people had reached their threshold of fun. Having yet to ever reach a threshold of fun, this was confusing, but a few of the front runners including Birrell/Yeoman, Saxton/Pygall and Ian Sharps had packed up and gone for a day of non-merlin sailing misery elsewhere. Presumably to offset the fun they'd had on Saturday.

But the fleet headed out unperturbed by the forecast, into a light northerly but with the tide now going the other direction. Much to the surprise of the fleet the warning signal sounded, as we bobbed around in not very much wind at all. Luckily not many people could get (a) across the line, or (b) anywhere near the favoured port end, leaving it wide open for the mighty Hot Totty (HT) sailed by Frances Gifford and Pete Nicholson to start alone on port and heading off for a resounding victory. Sadly that wasn't to be as Mike and Jane Calvert demonstrated their light wind invincibility and overtook HT halfway up the first beat. A couple of laps of purgatory for many, was enough, and the Calverts took the win. 8th was good enough for the Chrisses to take the Silver Tiller victory, by one point from Caroline Croft and Sophie Mackley in overall second and Gifford and Nicholson taking the lowest step on the podium. Tim Harridge and Claire Mills won the silver fleet and Rob and Jan Martin, bronze.

All that remained was a glorious sail home, racing having been abandoned for the day, and a sunny beer on the LTSC balcony, critiquing the techniques employed to get as far along the inflatable toys in the sea pools as possible. As a general rule, neither weight nor age were your friend.

And then the journey home. We had all been warned about the New Forest marathon that would clog up Lyndhurst, so it was a shame to get stuck for half an hour on the recommended route through Beaulieu. Until the source of the jam became apparent and then it was all ok. A lovely family of brown cows with big eyes were taking the same route, using both sides of the road. A great end to a beautiful weekend.

Thanks to everyone at Lymington Town Sailing Club for a truly awesome weekend of exceptionally close racing, an extraordinarily warm welcome and on behalf of everyone else, some pretty nice looking cakes.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoDivisionBoat nameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st3803Gold Chris GouldChris KilsbyMidland SC3‑1221814
2nd3673Gold Caroline CroftSophie MackleyBlithfield SC42‑106315
3rd3676Gold Frances GiffordPete NicholsonRanelagh55‑85217
4th3796Gold William WarrenTobytastic LewisShoreham SC9‑1072422
5th3691GoldQuick FixMike CalvertJane CalvertAxe YC77‑98123
6th3778GoldPeer PressureDavid LenzVictoria LenzLymington Town SC213‑143523
7th3781GoldForce AwakensDavid WinderLiv BellHollingworth Lake10(DNC)34623
8th3788GoldBlue My MindChristian BirrellGeorge YeomanItchenor/RYA811(BFD)DNC42
9th3709Gold Rob HendersonAlice MarkhamLymington Town SC(DNC)66111942
10th3690Silver Tim HarridgeClaire MillsLymington Town SC1411‑1771547
11th3804Gold Simon PottsCharlotte FildesBurghfield1391312(DNC)47
12th3780 Time LordNigel WakefieldChrisSpinnaker SC111511‑161047
13th3807GoldBalooTim SaxtonTom PygallItchenor1312(BFD)DNC48
14th3712Gold Ian SharpsAlex WarrenBurghfield(BFD)459DNC50
15th3670Gold Tim ParsonsAlex HaymanLyme Regis16(BFD)4151752
16th3719Bronze Rob MartinJan MartinLymington Town SC(BFD)191810754
17th3732BronzeTwo PlanksJohn CooperBecci WigleyLymington Town SC(BFD)1415131254
18th3683Silver Chloe GeorgeBen GeorgeLymington Town SC68(DNC)DNC955
19th3784Gold Mark BarwellLouise JohnsonLymington Town SC1217‑20141356
20th3748Bronze Nigel BrookeAnna AylwardLymington Town SC1721‑22171166
21st3641SilverPuff the Magic DragonMark WaterhouseMimi GorringeParkstone YC152016(BFD)1869
22nd3794Bronze Julian HarmsRobyn BaranowiczMidland SC201623(BFD)1675
23rd3714Silver Alan MarkhamSue MarkhamUpper Thames SC18‑2321192179
24th3589BronzeFat Bottom GirlJohn HollandsAlexandra ParkerHampton SC21‑2524212086
25th3650Bronze Gareth GriffithsTono MartinezLymington Town SC191819(BFD)DNC88
26th3704BronzeFactory MaidJemma HorwoodSel ShahThames SC22242520(DNC)91
27th3450Bronze Ben GreenKrysti GalpinLymington Town SC23‑2626222293
28th3733Bronze Nick SimmonsDan MartinLymington Town SC(DNC)22BFD18DNC104
29th3724Bronze Joe McLaughlinSean RobertsTamesis SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC14110
30th3482BronzeHeavy ParticleRichard BurtonMariella / Nicola Burton MooreMedley SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC128
30th3774GoldPantherJon TurnerKatie FrostLyme Regis(BFD)BFDDNCDNCDNC128

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