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Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Series at Paignton Sailing Club

by Will Henderson 13 Oct 23:10 PDT 9-10 October 2021

Fifteen Merlins arrived in Paignton on 9 October for the 2 day Craftinsure Silver Tiller Open Meeting hosted by Paignton Sailing Club. They enjoyed a very friendly reception from the club's members, with blue skies, blue seas, warm temperatures and a lack of crowds. The English Riviera at its best.

On arrival the only missing ingredient was wind. We looked out over a glassy sea towards Torquay. But lo, the water on the Torquay side of the Bay darkened and by start time a gentle 5 knots with lulls had developed and the racing got under way on schedule. A sausage with a gate at the bottom end followed by a triangle was the course for the weekend.

In race 1 Dan Alsop and Jennie King in their beautiful wooden boat (3539) sought and found some more breeze and a shift on the left-hand side of the first beat. They used this to good effect, establishing a lead which they held until near the pre-anti-penultimate mark when Matt Biggs and Beka Jones (3801) slipped by them to take the first of their 4 victories of the weekend. Colin and Sean Anderson (3749) mastered the shifts to take third with Tom and Ed Low (3684) in fourth and Chis Gould and Caroline Croft (3803) in fifth.

Race 2: Again Dan and Jennie got away well on the left, but this time Mike and Jane Calvert (3691) judged the shifts to perfection and beat them round the windward mark. The Calvert's sailed away to what from the middle of the fleet looked like a comfortable win. Matt and Beka made their way up to second, with Dan and Jennie finishing third and James Wells and Anna Aylward (3746) fourth.

Race 3: This time Will and Rob Henderson (3726) picked the shifts and led the way until they took the Calvert's too high on the approach to the gybe mark. That let Matt and Beka through to first and an overnight score of 1, 2, 1. That compared with the Calvert's 6, 1, 3 and Dan and Jennie's 2, 3, 9.

Unfortunately, this correspondent could not stay for the supper in the Club on Saturday evening, but from the activity and smells of cooking as I left it promised to be good and I believe it did not disappoint.

On Sunday the wind was predominately from the northeast but generally clocked right, with some substantial shifts. There was more of it than on Saturday. Indeed, there was enough to make the perfectly set second reach of the triangle on the cusp of what was manageable with a spinnaker. That gave the crews' muscles a workout and created some overtaking opportunities on that leg which had been missing in Saturday's calmer conditions. Blue skies, seas and sunshine were still the order of the day.

In races 4 and 5 Matt and Beka stamped their authority on the fleet with two firsts. They followed that up with a discardable second in race 6. Almost throughout they appeared to be at risk from the Calvert's who scored a 2, 3, 1 and occasionally from Will and Rob who scored a 3, 2, 3. However Matt and Beka's calm mastery of the shifts combined with good speed gave them overall success with a race to spare. They relaxed with a second place in what for them was an optional race 6.

We packed up in the sunshine on the harbour wall; enjoyed tea, drinks and the prize-giving in the clubhouse and drove home through the stunning Devon countryside after a great open meeting. As Matt Biggs said in his prize-giving speech: "We know how much effort it takes to run these events". It was fully appreciated.

Next up, the Craftinsure Silver Tiller heads to Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club on the 16th and 17th October.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold3801Matt BiggsBeka JonesBartley SC1(2)11126
2ndGold3691Mike CalvertJane CalvertAxe YC(6)1323110
3rdGold3726Will HendersonRob HendersonSalcombe YC(8)8232318
4thSilver3539Dan AlsopJennie KingLyme Regis SC239(RET)4523
5thSilver3749Colin AndersonSean AndersonBartley SC3757(9)628
6thSilver3746James WellsAnna AylwardStarcross YC74(11)58428
7thGold3716Steven LeneyGillian LeneyBlithfield SC(9)6765731
8thGold3803Chris GouldCaroline CroftLymington Town SC5544(RET)DNC34
9thSilver3779Dave LeeKirsten GlenStarcross YC(10)98106841
10thBronze3684Tom LowEd LowWest Hoe Sailing Club4(12)10971242
11thSilver3772Dan HeatonTom GurneyMountbatten SC(13)1168101146
12thBronze3813Steve HarlingEleanor ThomasStarcross YC12101211(13)1055
13thBronze3698David DownsRos DownsTata Steel SC1413(15)1211959
14thSilver3805Mark ReddingtonMark FowlerBartley SC(15)151313121366
15thBronze3704Jemma HorwoodRob LangleyThames SC111414(DNC)DNCDNC71

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