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Nautilus Yachting Merlin Rocket Inland Championships 2021 at Bala Sailing Club

by Tim Saxton 28 Sep 07:52 PDT 25-26 September 2021
Merlin Rocket Inlands at Bala © John Hunter

25 Merlin Rockets made the trip over the hills to reach Bala Sailing Club for the Nautilus Yachting Inland Championships on a gloriously mild, and surprisingly dry late September weekend. However, when competitors began arriving on Saturday morning, the wind wasn't quite playing ball... flat calm!

However, you can always trust the locals, and 5-8 knots filled in down the lake perfectly timed for racing to begin bang on schedule at 1pm. In race 1, a square line had the fleet spread evenly, but those on the middle and right of the first beat came out ahead. Andy Davis & Pippa Kilsby made the most of this to win with a commanding lead. Chris Gould & Caroline Croft came second, closely followed by James Goss & Chris Kilsby third.

Despite no major changes in wind direction, race 2 was tactically very different with the far right paying handsomely on each upwind. Tim Saxton & Mary Henderson made the most of this from start to finish, although were hard pressed by Mike & Jane Calvert as the wind dropped on the 4th and final lap.

Race 3 saw a number of the previously mentioned names work their way to the front again despite many place changes throughout the fleet. Mike & Jane sniggling past Chris & Caroline to take the race win they'd been so close to in the previous race. James & Chris continued their remarkably consistent day with a third, third place finish of the day.

Both the forecast and the local oracles promised slightly more wind for Sunday, and they were right once again. With just two races scheduled and the windier conditions making the boats move significantly faster, a longer course and more laps were called for. PRO Nigel Denchfield duly obliged. Andy & Pippa repeated their actions from the 1st race of Saturday posting another win. James & Chris sailed a great first run to pull up to second where they then stayed for the rest of the race. The battle behind was much tighter, with Chris & Caroline employing expert covering tactics to stay ahead of the group behind.

The fifth and final race was another where the main place changes seemed to be happening on the runs not the beats with big gusts & lulls leading to huge speed differentials. The fleet remained bunched on the first beat, but it mattered little as on the first run Chris Martin & John Tailby, James Wells & Anna Aylward & Tim & Mary held out to the right hand side making big gains, whilst the rest of the fleet gybed off and ran out of wind. Tim & Mary worked their way to the front before extending away. Chris & John battled hard to hold position, however, Andy & Pippa had other ideas overtaking them to secure second place and the event win.

Chris & James' consistency gave them second overall. Tim & Mary snuck third place on countback from Mike & Jane thanks to their two race wins. First in Silver fleet was James & Anna, just ahead of Tom & Ed Low who'd put in a really strong showing. First in Bronze & first "old" boat was Ben & Samantha Lulham in a very creditable 12th place.

Thanks to Nigel & Fiona Denchfield and all of the Bala Sailing Club volunteers for a very efficiently run & very enjoyable weekend on & off the water and to our sponsors Nautilus Yachting for the lovely glassware. What a great event at the beginning of a busy autumn of Merlin Rocket sailing with Silver Tillers at Hampton, Paignton, Hollingworth, Wembley, Chichester, Blithfield, Brightlingsea, Burghfield & Itchenor.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoFleetHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5Net
13735GAndy DavisPippa Killsby1‑44128
23814GJames GossChris Killsby3332‑411
33807GTim SaxtonMary Henderson‑7164112
43691GMike CalvertJane Calvert4215‑719
53803GChris GouldCaroline Croft21023(DSQ)17
63781GDavid WinderSally Townend‑8656522
73801GMatt BiggsBeka Jones55‑77623
83787GChris MartinJohn Tailby67‑88324
93746SJames WellsAnna Aylward(UFD)8109835
103684STom LowEd Low9‑149111342
113716GSteve LeneyGill Leney1191113(DNF)44
123569BBen LulhamSamantha Lulham1012‑15141046
133749SColin AndersonSean Anderson12‑181610947
143666GJohn MeadowcroftDan Meadowcroft131512‑171252
153772BDan HeatonTom Gurney1416‑18121153
163704BJemma HorwoodNicola Bass16111419(DNC)60
173659GJulian ParryLiese Scott‑171713161460
183662BNigel HudsonFreya Hudson15‑2217151663
193547BPeter MaleTim Male‑201320201568
203695BPeter SlackImmy Brown192019‑221876
213805SMark ReddingtonMichelle Evans‑221922181978
223610BNeil CardnoKen Scott Brown23‑2424211785
233742BHoward EelesBradley Eeles182123(DNF)(DNF)88
243619BGuy BrowneGreg Martin24242123(DNF)91
253449BCarl WhitehillSam Whitehill21(DNF)DNCDNCDNC99

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