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Merlin Rocket Downriver Race at Ranelagh Sailing Club

by Duncan Salmon 18 Jul 10:08 PDT 17 July 2021
Merlin Rocket Downriver Race at Ranelagh © Sarah Videau

Saturday the 17th of July 2021 saw the annual running of the Ranelagh Sailing Club down river race for Merlins. 16 competitors turned out on a glorious (if slightly windless) sunny day. The carnival atmosphere on the Putney embankment with pop-up eateries flying flags and milling sailors and rowers was something to behold.

The format of this race, which is one of the highlights of the Merlin Thames Series, is a race from Putney on the ebbing tide down to Battersea with one turning mark and then back to Putney on the flood.

Probably as a result of the warning during the briefing of the dire consequences of being over the line there was a clean start with Merlin number one Kate sailed by Arthur Henderson & Livvy Bell, together with Flinkidink 1097 sailed by Stuart & Imogen Jenkins, making the early running.

After some place-changing under Putney road and railway bridges the order settled down to Stuart & Imogen chased by Duncan & Harriet Salmon in 3702. Stuart & Imogen gauged the current and shifting winds expertly, to pull out a commanding lead leaving Duncan & Harriet fighting off a fast-catching-up Arthur & Livvy by the turning mark, which had been dropped by the pavilion in the adjacent Battersea Park.

Stuart & Imogen promptly sailed off into the distance never to be challenged again.

Following a close spinnaker run the Salmons drew ahead of Arthur & Livvy having split to go on the southern bank of the river at Lambeth Bridge. What appeared to be a comfortable second place however soon evaporated when the majority of the rest of the fleet came up the river line abreast on a breeze all flying their spinnakers.

There ensued a lengthy battle between seven or eight boats any of which could have taken the second, third and fourth places. For a while Pat & Jilly Blake in 901 and Tim Metcalf & Matty Key in 3520 looked like they had taken those positions but Christian & Gabriel Hill in 2997 did a great job in calling the gybes and pulled out into second place with Duncan & Harriet somehow managing to sniggle their way back into third.

Arthur & Livvy extricated themselves from the melee to come a creditable fourth in the oldest boat in the national fleet.

The members of Ranelagh Sailing Club organised a barbecue, salads and large tubs of cold drinks for a most enjoyable late lunch on the embankment. A wonderful afternoon messing about on the river (with some brilliant racing as well)!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubElapsedPoints
11097Stuart JenkinsImogen JenkinsHampton SC01:41:171
22997Christian HillsGabriel HillsFGSC01:46:352
33702Duncan SalmonHarriet SalmonWembley01:47:563
41Arthur HendersonLivvy BellRSC01:48:284
5901Pat BlakeJill BlakeCookham Reach01:49:315
63520Tim MetcalfMatty KeyTamesis01:49:336
73465Graham WebbNick VanakoyogopasFGSC01:49:457
81602John AdamsZoe AdamsTamesis01:50:428
93402Richard CoulterLouis LappayreFGSC01:51:339
103088Andrew MillsEllie MillsHampton SC01:51:4010
112979Jack NortonGretel ScottRSC01:52:1611
122444Thomas StolperMathieu PelegrinRSC01:54:2912
132744Marco MeloniPhilip McCormackRSC02:02:2413
143770Jan StewartMattea ManciniFGSC02:02:3214
15214Guillaume MouscadetRichard WestoverRSCRETRET
153510Brian ClarkeAmiria PounsfordRSCRETRET

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