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Merlin Rocket HD Sails Midland Circuit at Shustoke Sailing Club

by Ed Bradburn 22 Aug 12:40 PDT 20 August 2023
Merlin Rocket HD Sails Midland Circuit at Shustoke © Simon Dipple

Sunday the 20th August saw the Merlin Rocket fleet return to Shustoke SC as part of the Merlin Rocket HD Sails Midland Circuit. On arrival the sun was shining with a decent breeze blowing down the lake from the south.

Being new to the class, we arrived early as being the first time we had rigged the boat unsupervised by a responsible adult expected the odd issue.

With two races back-to-back in the morning and one after lunch the race team of James Hopton and Olly Saunders wasted no time in getting the fleet going for Race 1 with a clean start. With a drop in pressure followed by a big left-hand shift, I have no idea who rounded first as we were trying to figure out which string to pull but it felt like everyone arrived together.

However, it was Matt Biggs & Beka Jones from Bartley SC who pulled into the lead never to be seen again. This left the rest of us to fight it out in what seemed like an extreme game of snakes and ladders with it being entirely possible to take five places on one shift.

At the finish line it was Ed & Lucy Bradburn from South Staffs SC, taking second from Paul & Michelle Keeling from Blithfield SC in third.

Race 2 again got away cleanly with a slight course change to square up the first beat. First round were Matt & Beka and Colin & Sean Anderson also from Bartley SC who sailed away to tussle for the lead.

Again, struggling to get my head out of my own... boat, I am not sure on how many times places changed but at the gun it was Matt & Beka who took first and with it the event, followed by Colin & Sean in second and Ed & Lucy in third.

The fleet retired to shore for lunch, a spot of sunbathing and the chance for the unsupervised learners to correct all the rigging errors made at the start of the day.

Following a brief discussion around a course change the fleet launched for the third race. Again, a clean start with Matt & Beka, Colin & Sean and Ed & Lucy rounding the top mark together. On the downwind Matt & Beka took the lead and decided to sail a different race to the rest of us with Ed & Lucy and Colin & Sean chasing.

Up the second beat Ed & Lucy decided to learn about Merlin capsize recovery letting Colin & Sean through to second followed by the rest of the pack. This time I had no idea what happened during the rest of the race as whilst still figuring what string to pull, and still trying to get my head out of my own... boat, we were now also too far back to see.

But at the finish Matt & Beka took their third bullet in convincing fashion, Colin & Sean retained second and Paul & Michelle again sailed through to third.

Final results were Matt & Beka first, Colin & Sean in second and Ed & Lucy in third (and with that the task of writing the report).

Thanks go to all at Shustoke SC for a fantastic days racing and hospitality in the sunshine and also from our perspective to all sailors who answered many of our dopey questions throughout the day.

The next HD Sails Midland Circuit event is at Trent Valley on Sunday 3rd September.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3801Matt BiggsBeka JonesBartley SC‑1112
2nd3749Colin AndersonSean AndersonBartley SC‑4224
3rd3724Ed BradburnLucy BradburnSouth Staffs SC23‑65
4th3667Paul KeelingMichelle KeelingBlithfield SC3‑536
5th3567James DawesKaren BestonRedditch SC‑7448
6th3662Nigel HudsonFreya HudsonBartley SC‑66511
7th3547Peter MaleTim MaleBlithfield SC5‑8712
8th3742Howard EelesJustin GemBartley SC87(DNC)15
9th2037Richard BurtonMariella & NickyMedley SC‑1110818
10th3530Mike CollesLauren MorganMidland SC9‑11918
11th3805Mark ReddingtonLewis FowlerBartley SC109(DNC)19

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