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Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Tim Saxton 18 May 2022 03:14 PDT 14-15 May 2022
Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Whitstable © Sam Turner

28 Merlin Rockets arrived at Whitstable Yacht Club to bright sunshine but very little wind on the morning of Saturday 14th May for the next round of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller. However, as forecast the wind filled in nicely, meaning just a short delay to the start time.

Race 1 began in 12 kts, with the tide just beginning to build, pushing you upwind. Will & Alex Warren started well & led early on, before Christian Birrell & Sam Breary took the lead which they'd hold to the finish. Tom Gillard & Rach Gray came close on the final run, but had to settle for second, with Will & Alex third.

Races 2 and 3 were sailed in near perfect conditions: 12-14kts, sunshine & warm enough not to even need a spray top - regardless of how your results went, you can't not enjoy conditions like that! Tim Saxton & Mary Henderson led most of the race having started alone at the pin end after spotting it had moved considerably. However, Christian & Sam's downwind pace enabled them to sneak by on the final run to grab another win. David Winder & Anna Blake sailed well to take third.

Christian & Sam won again in race 3 after extending on the first reach, with Tom & Rach also second again. Chris Jennings & Pete Nicholson also managed to sneak clear of the group to secure a podium place that their pace deserved.

Sunday dawned with the forecast promising a bit more wind, but this time it was wrong! The race team & sailors faced a really tough day with large shifts and huge ups & downs in pressure.

Race 4 was shortened to just 1 lap as the wind shut off, with many significant place changes towards the finish & even a few spinnakers up on the beat. Christian & Sam held their nerve to continue their perfect score line ahead of David Hayes & Jonny Ratcliffe. Ben Palmer & Mark Heather made the most of what wind was left to charge through into third in their borrowed boat.

After a short wait for the wind to "settle" again, race 5 got under way. Ed Champan & Chris Kilsby mastered the first beat to lead ahead of a tightly bunched pack. After several place changes Tom & Rach extended to take the win, Alex Jackson & Pip Kilsby did the same for second & Tim & Mary came third, just ahead of Ed & Chris. Ben & Mark made the best of a variable last run to sneak into sixth and secure the trophy for best Sunday results.

Christian & Sam's grip on the event was not tested further as the wind completely went, forcing the fleet ashore. Tom & Rach were second overall, with Tim & Mary sneaking ahead of the rest for third.

No fewer than 15 different crews managed to secure a top five race over the weekend. Racing was tight, competitive and brilliant fun, reflecting the strength in depth of the Merlin fleet.

Next up the Craftinsure Silver Tiller heads to Tamesis on Sunday 22nd May 2022.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
13788Christian BirrellSam Brearey 1111‑104
23759Thomas GillardRach GrayStaunton Harold SC242‑919
33807Tim SaxtonMary HendersonItchenor924‑16318
43795Alex JacksonPip KilsbyShoreham575‑14219
53791Jon GorringePete GreyParkstone YC8664‑2324
63775Chris JenningsPete NicholsonBurghfield SC6123‑15728
73763Mark BarnesRebecca BinesWhitstable YC4107‑18829
83747Ben PalmerMark HeatherHISC‑158133630
93793James GoodfellowRichard CornesArdleigh‑175961131
103796William WarrenAlex WarrenShoreham SC391011‑1333
113758David HayesJonny RatcliffeLymington(DNC)11821536
123781David WinderAnna BlakeHollingworth Lake73‑20101838
133801Matt BiggsBeka JonesBartley SC‑16141113543
143756Sophie MackleyJames WardShoreham SC1213‑1651444
153683Arthur HendersonLivvy Bell 1115127‑1645
163782Ed ChapmanChris Kilsby 10(DNF)DNC12455
173727Mark StockbridgeCharlie CotterUpper Thames SC1419‑21171262
183749Colin AndersonSean AndersonBartley SC191715‑231768
193816Phil EmeryPhoebe PaineWhitstable YC131617‑242470
203709Jack NortonDave RoyseRanelagh SC‑221814202072
213802Simon PottsSam MottersheadBurghfield SC(DNC)DNCDNC8975
223745Paul DeanHannah BurtWembley18‑2219221978
233684Tom LowPaul NebelWest Hoe SC2020‑22192180
243672John CooperHilary BradshawWhitstable YC212118‑262585
253695Peter SlackImmy BrownRYA‑242323212289
263770Jon StewardAnnabel Steward 23242525‑2697
273736Jon BloicePhilippa BloiceWhitstable YC252524‑2827101
283576John GibbonsMartin AkersWhitstable YC(DNC)26262728107

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