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76th Aspire Merlin Rocket National Championships at Mount's Bay Sailing Club - Day 1

by Tim Fells 31 Jul 2022 12:57 PDT 31 July - 4 August 2022
Aspire Merlin Rocket National Championships at Mount's Bay - Day 1 © Lee Whitehead /

The Merlin Rocket class is making its first ever visit to the legendary Mounts Bay Sailing Club for their 76th championships. The event has attracted the usual high quality fleet with the title expected to fought out between Tom Gillard and Rachael Gray, comprehensive winners at the Scorpions last week, two times champions Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey and defending champions Stu Bithell and Tom Pygall.

Stu however is starting the week with two discards as he is currently blasting around Plymouth Sounds on the Swiss SailGP boat.

After weeks of hot, sunny weather, the first morning was breezy and wet leading most of the fleet to dress up for a big day on the water. However, as the fleet assembled south of St Michael's Mount, the sun came out and the breeze started to drop. Both races were run in patchy breeze fluctuating between 5 and 15 knots but slowing dropping and veering.

Possibly the threat of a first ever Merlin Champs gate start if the fleet misbehaves led to two clean starts.

In race one those who got right found better pressure and it was Ed Chapman and Chris Kilsby, who had broken their mast practising on Saturday, who led around the top mark from Tom and Rach. Christian and Sam were down the fleet and in recovery mode.

Tom and Rach extended with Jon Gorringe and Pete Gray climbing up to take second ahead of Ed and Chris. Ian and Chris Martin sailed a consistently strong race for fourth but were subsequently pinged under the U flag.

Tim Fells and Fran Gifford got the better of Mike and Jane Calvert for fourth and fifth. Christian and Sam kept their climb going to take sixth.

At the start of race two, the majority of the fleet were lined up at the committee boat but there was a big port shift down at the pin. Tim and Fran together with Tom and Rach port tacked across the fleet with everyone heading right towards new pressure. Christian and Sam were first into it and joined the leading two at the top mark.

Tim and Fran led at the bottom gate but those who got to the left picked up a good shift to come through with Christian and Sam leading from Simon Potts and Lottie Fildes. Christian and Sam extended out a healthy lead and on the final run Tom and Rach came through to take second from Simon and Lottie with Tim and Fran fourth, again just ahead of Mike and Jane.

Ian and Chris Martin rounded out what should have been a solid day in sixth.

The forecast for the next few days is for a good breeze and it will be interesting to see if Stu and Tom can sail a clean regatta to retain their title.

Results after day 1:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2Pts
1stPlatinum3759Thomas GillardRachel GrayStaunton Harold Sailing Club123
2ndPlatinum3788Christian BirrellSam BreareyParkstone Yacht Club617
3rdPlatinum3764Tim FellsFrances GiffordSalcombe Yacht Club448
4thPlatinum3691Mike CalvertJane CalvertAxe Yacht Club5510
5thPlatinum3802Simon PottsCharlotte FildesBurghfield Sailing Club10313
6thGold3782Ed ChapmanChris KilsbyLymington Town Sailing Club31316
7thPlatinum3803Caroline CroftFaye ChattertonLymington Town Sailing Club91019
8thGold2137James GossChris WhiteSouth Staffs Sailing Club13720
9thGold3780Sarah RichardsNigel WakefieldLymington Town Sailing Club171128
10thPlatinum3758David HayesJonny RatcliffeLymington Town Sailing Club141428
11thPlatinum3807Tim SaxtonMary HendersonItchenor SC & Brightlingsea SC20929
12thGold3799Paul RaysonChristian HillFishers Green SC112031
13thPlatinum3735Andy DavisJack HoldenSouth Staffs Sailing Club82432
14thPlatinum3791Jon GorringePete GreyParkstone Yacht Club23133
15thGold3796William WarrenMegan PascoeShoreham Sailing Club181634
16thPlatinum3778David LenzVicky LenzLymington Town Sailing Club122537
17thPlatinum3809John TurnerRichard ParslowLyme Regis Sailing Club31839
18thGold3746James WellsAnna AylwardRYA162339
19thPlatinum3676Antony GiffordJo GiffordRoyal Tay Yacht Club221739
20thPlatinum3726Will HendersonRupert WhiteSalcombe Yacht Club301242
21stPlatinum3801Matthew BiggsBeka JonesBartley Sailing Club281543
22ndGold3787Chris MartinJohn TailbyMidland Sailing Club74047
23rdGold3716Steven LeneyGill LeneyBlithfield Sailing Club262147
24thGold3683Arthur HandersonLivvy BellSalcombe Yacht Club153348
25thPlatinum3775Chris JenningsPete NicholsonBurghfield Sailing Club193049
26thGold3696Alexander WarrenJonty FreemanshShoreham Sailing Club212849
27thGold3757Tim ParsonsAndrew ServiceLyme Regis Sailing Club242953
28thSilver3815Mark BarwellLouise JohnsonLymington Town Sailing Club371855
29thPlatinum3666John MeadowcroftDan MeadowcroftUpper Thames Sailing Club332255
30thSilver3690Tim HarridgeRory GiffordHampton Sailing Club322759
31stGold3740Pat BlakeJilly BlakeLymington Town Sailing Club342660
32ndSilver3749Colin AndersonSean AndersonBlithfield Sailing Club233861
33rdSilver3806Ben JonesHelen HilditchShoreham Sailing Club471966
34thSilver3816Phil EmeryPhoebe PaineWhitstable Yacht Club254368
35thGold3756Sophie MackleyJames WardShoreham Sailing Club353469
36thSilver3684Tom LowHannah BurtQueen Mary Sailing Club294170
37thPlatinum3719Ian MartinChris MartinBurghfield Sailing ClubUFD672
38thPlatinum3793James GoodfellowRick CornesBurghfield Sailing Club274572
39thSilver3732Ben HollisGeorge BenderBlithfield Sailing Club403676
40thBronze3695Peter SlackImmy BrownRYA433578
41stGold3656Charlotte GoughDave GoughStarcross Yacht Club364278
42ndSilver3772Dan HeatonTom GurneyMountbatten Sailing Club413980
43rdBronze3813Steve HarlingEleanor ThomasStarcross Yacht Club483785
44thSilver3790Colin BrockbankSue BroughWembley Sailing Club394786
45thBronze3794Julian HarmsTimothy HarmsMidlands Sailing Club385088
46thBronze3817Geoff KimberHelen KimberStone Sailing Club424890
47thSilver3779David LeeKirsten GlenStarcross Yacht Club464490
48thSilver3727Mark StockbridgeJames GiffordUpper Thames Sailing Club613293
49thBronze3766Andy DalbyAimee DalbyBurghfield Sailing Club504696
50thSilver3767Ben ArcherOlivia BelliniParkstone Yacht Club445397
51stSilver3682Ross BorneJohn BurnSalcombe Yacht Club455297
52ndBronze3662Nigel HudsonFreya HudsonBartley Sailing Club494998
53rdBronze3785Robin CharlesOscar SimmonsStarcross Yacht Club5151102
54thBronze3770Jon StewardAnnabel StewardFishers Green Sailing Club5254106
55thBronze3742Howard EelesBradley EelesBartley Sailing Club5357110
56thBronze3619Guy BrowneAndy HunterTrent Valley Sailing Club5456110
57thBronze3800Richard BramleyCalum TaitShoreham Sailing Club5655111
58thBronze3561Joe ShawJulie CronshawWembley Sailing Club5758115
59thGold3750Neal LillywhiteFreya LillywhiteBurghfield S5862120
60thBronze3574Marc CandelasJohn DonoghueUpper Thames Sailing Club5961120
61stBronze3586Kieron MasonBelinda MasonBlithfield Sailing Club6060120
62ndBronze3567Martin SmithKaren BestonBlithfield Sailing Club55DNC121
63rdBronze3449Carl WhitehillDani WhitehillRYADNC59125
64thPlatinum3811Stu BithellTom PygallParkstone Yacht ClubDNCDNC132
64thBronze3792Alistair McdonaldLydia BourneBerwick Sailing ClubDNCDNC132

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