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J Composites 2022 - J45 v4 LEADERBOARD

Aspire Merlin Rocket National Championships 2023 at Brading Haven Yacht Club - Day 2

by Chris Jennings 31 Jul 21:34 PDT 31 July - 4 August 2023

Having lost racing yesterday due to high winds, day two of the 2023 Merlin Rocket National Championships at Brading Haven YC, on the Isle of Wight, saw competitors wake to sound of more wind and rain.

The host club have been pulling out all the stops to make the event enjoyable for all, however the one thing they can't control is the weather. With a planned launch time of 9:25am and a schedule of 3 races, there was much speculation in the dinghy park about the suitability of the conditions. For the second day in a row the chimet web page experienced an unusual amount of traffic - "it's still windy" seemed to be the conclusion. The forecasts told us the wind would drop (a bit).

Our intrepid race organisers said goodbye to loved ones and ventured out to the race course. Meanwhile several Merlins appeared leaving covers intact until the last minute, akin to F1 teams keeping the tyre blankets on as they ready for pit stops. Nevertheless, the delta flag was hoisted on time and the fleet launched.

The downwind ride to the start area didn't take long and served to confirm that "it's still windy" (20-25 knots). It was also shifty, gusty and slightly damp - a day for keeping "your head out of the boat" (a phrase not to be taken literally).

Race one started cleanly with some banging right and smaller group banging left. Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey nailed the starboard end and seemed in no mood to wait around to socialise with the rest of the fleet. They were never challenged and took a clear win. Defending champions Tom Gillard and Rachael Gray managed to make the left work on the first beat and secured second. Tim Saxton and Pete Matthews-Dixon sailed a strong race to finish third. Throughout the fleet there was close racing and plenty of opportunities to gain/lose places.

The wind had moderated a little for race two (16-20 knots), but still no sign of the sun - I guess applying sun protection this morning was optimistic. A wind shift during the sequence gave a heavily starboard biased line for race 2 and the inevitably general recall occurred. After moving the pin, the line became port biased and the black flag was hoisted. Brothers Ian and Chris Martin pooh poohed any idea of being intimidated by this and nailed the port end. They grinned widely as they crossed the fleet on port by several boat lengths. Ultimately the race became a tussle between Christian & Sam, Tom & Rachael and James Goss & Chris White, with Ian & Chris always in with a shout. The final order was Tom & Rachael first, Christian & Sam second and James & Chris earning a well deserved third.

For race three the wind decided to pipe back up a little before dropping midway through the race. After another recalled start the fleet headed off for the final race of the day - this time for four laps rather than three. With patchy wind pressure and changes in direction still prevalent, there were plenty of snakes and ladders (other board games are available but wouldn't work as an analogy). Christian and Sam returned to their winning ways and took a clear win after a shortened course to finish on the final upwind leg (thank you Nigel & team). Behind them the fleet was engrossed in a very tight battle. Tom and Rachael worked through to take second, closely followed by Chris Jennings & Pete Nicholson who pulled through the fleet to finish third.

The fleet arrived back at the beach and the Brading Haven YC shore team did a great job helping tired sailors haul their Merlin's out of the water.

On the social side, tonight sees any one with excess energy taking a trip to Cowes for the evening. Last night's well attended Crew's Union saw some casualties this morning, including co-organiser Jonty Freeman who apparently had a few too many units of alcohol.

Following extensive negotiations between the legal representatives of the fleet and race team, a one hour lie-in has been agreed for day three with an 11am start time tomorrow (yippee). Conditions look good for Tuesday and three more races are planned to get the event back on schedule before what looks like a stormy Wednesday.

Thank you to our title sponsor Aspire Financial Services, our fleet sponsor WEST SYSTEMS, our golfing sponsor GK Engineering and the social trip to Cowes Week sponsor DinghyTec.

Results after Day 2:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3Pts
1st3788Christian BirrellSam Brearey1214
2nd3759Thomas GillardRacheal Gray2125
3rd3775Chris JenningsPete Nicholson65314
4th3814James GossChris White53614
5th3803Chris GouldDan Martin48416
6th3719Ian MartinChris Martin84820
7th3791Jon GorringeMatt Currell126523
8th3807Tim SaxtonPete Matthews‑Dixon312924
9th3691Mike CalvertEmma Hivey1014731
10th3820Caroline CroftFaye Chatterton1171331
11th3666John MeadowcroftOliver Meadowcroft9151034
12th3787Chris MartinJohn Tailby7161437
13th3700Rob KennaughAndrew Prosser1491538
14th3780Sarah RichardsNigel Wakefield16101238
15th3746James WellsAnna Aylward17131141
16th3796William WarrenGeorge Bender15112046
17th3782Ed ChapmanHannah Peters13171747
18th3696Alexander WarrenJonty Freeman18181652
19th3817Geoff KimberHelen Kimber19201857
20th3745Paul DeanHannah Burt20191958
21st3816Phil EmeryPhoebe Paine21212163
22nd3672John CooperPhil ScotDNC222374
23rd3821Gavin WillisChris BishopDNCDNC2280
24th3809Jon TurnerRichard ParslowDNCDNCDNC87
24th3600Mike PartridgeClaire DavisDNCDNCDNC87
24th3695Pete SlackImmy BrownDNCDNCDNC87
24th3767Ben ArcherOlivia BelliniDNCDNCDNC87
24th3794Julian HarmsTimothy HarmsDNCDNCDNC87

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