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Merlin Rocket South West Series round 2 at Parkstone Yacht Club

by Sam Brearey 5 Apr 06:46 PDT 30-31 March 2024

The Easter weekend regatta hosted by Parkstone YC assembled a Merlin fleet stacked with national championship calibre.

Day 1 started with a gentle 8 knot breeze and huge amounts of talk in the boat park about what a harbour tour of fixed racing marks might look like! Starting up in the top triangle, race 1 got under way in shifty and puffy conditions with a bit of tide to think about for good measure. Ben Saxton/Matt Rainback, David/Vicky Lenz and Tom Gillard/Rachael Gray led the fleet off the pin to the left-hand side. Christian Birrell/ Sam Brearey, James Wells/Anna Aylward along with Mike/Jane Calvert worked the right-hand side hoping to get some tidal gain. Christian/Sam led the back at the top in a very close race which never spread out. With endless positional and lead changes, Dave/Vicky managed to gybe inside on one of the runs shooting in a lead which they held to the finish, closely chased by Christian/Sam, Tom/Rach, the Calverts and James/Anna in 5th.

Race 2 got under way in similar breeze and a changing tide state, the fleet was split again on breeze vs tide, Christian/Sam again led at the top, in a very tight race with the top 10 rounding almost in unison. The downwind was a tactical affair with several place changes, it was Dave/Vicky who again managed to get into the leading spot, with Christian/Sam, Mike/Jane chasing them down, the beat saw another huge split with the leading pack working the right hand side and the chasing pack of Ben/Matt, Tom/Rach and Ian/Chris Martin splitting to the left hand side. A left shift and a bit more breeze catapulted this side into the lead with Tom/Rach taking the race win, Ben/Matt in 2nd, Dave/Vicky battled well into 3rd, with the Martins in 4th.

An early finish for the afternoon allowed for a bit of boat work in the South Coast sun and a few beers before gearing up for the dance floor with the live band!

A few dusty heads later and day 2 promised more wind and the race hut starts with more of a tour of the harbor predicted. Race 1 started in a gusty 12-18 knots, a short beat promised a congested top mark! With positions changing on the upwind all the time, it was Ed Chapman with Nix Brook who was looking favorite to lead at the top. Christian/Sam managed to tack to windward, putting pressure on and as Ed/Nix led at the top, unfortunately touching the mark put them into a 360 and handed the race lead to Christian/Sam. Tim Saxton/Tom Pygall were close behind in the chasing back along with James/Anna as well as Jon Gorringe/Matt Currell. Christian, Tim and Tom were the top 3 around the leeward mark, as the 3 battled up the course, Christian/Sam managed to go the wrong side of the finish Hut failing to score, with Tim/Tom winning, Tom/Rach in 2, Ben/Matt in 4th and another strong 5th place for James/Anna.

A short race 3 was the preamble to an epic harbor tour for the final race. In gusty and breezy conditions, both ends of Brownsea Island were on the agenda. On the upwind Ed/Nix were proving their pace with an early lead. At the Top it was Jon/Matt who led the fleet, closely followed by Ed/Nix, Christian/Sam, Tim/Tom as well as Ian/Chris. Ian gybed out early taking a huge gain, while the rest of the fleet followed the leading 3 saw them selves slip to mid fleet with some work to do. On the second upwind, Tom/Rach took some nice shifts to take the lead, with a strong pack chasing with Ben/Matt, Ed/Nix, Jon/Matt, the Calverts, Ian/Chris. Christian/Sam managed to close some distance attacking well on the run.

As the fleet headed towards Brownsea Tom/Rach led Ben/Matt, the Calverts then Christian/Sam, Ed/Nix and Jon/Matt. The upwind along the island proved gusty and with a changing tidal state some local knowledge started to pay with both Christian and Jon making progress forward. By the turning mark the front 3 were locked in a great battle, Tom/Rach took the win and with it the regatta, Ben/Matt with worry in their eyes, just about held off the charging Christian/Sam. Jon/Matt came home in 4th, the Calverts showing good pace in the breeze in 5th.

Congratulations to Tom and Rach and a huge thank you to Parkstone YC who did a great job hosting us and accommodating the Merlins into the Easter weekend plans, and a special shout out to Ben Archer and Steve Tyler for their hard work in making it happen.

Thank you to CF by L and L, who were announced as a support sponsor of the SW Series 2024. The next SW Series at Burghfield Sailing Club on Saturday 6th April has been postponed, we look forward to seeing everyone in Salcombe on the 27th and 28th April.

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stRed Mistress3759Tom GillardRachael GraySheffield Viking SC/ Staunton Harold SC‑31214
2ndRockatross3804Ben SaxtonMatt RainbackRYA‑72327
3rd 3788Christian BirrellSam BreareyParkstone YC25(NSC)310
4thQuick Fix3691Mike CalvertJane CalvertAxe YC4‑66515
5thDidley Squat3791Jon GorringeMatt CurrellParkstone YC‑984416
6thBaloo3807Tim SaxtonTom PygallItchenor SC‑1371917
7thFluffy3719Ian MartinChris MartinBurghfield‑848618
8thPoint n Squirt3746James WellsAnna AylwardRYA5105(OCS)20
9thPeer pressure3778David lenzVicky lenzLymington town13(DNC)DNC23
10thTime Machine3780Sarah RichardsNigel WakefieldLymington Town Sc & Netley SC‑16971026
11thNight fury3775Chris JenningsPete NicholsonBurghfield/Brightlingsea61110(DNC)27
12thThe Soup Dragon3694Steve TylerAlly TylerParkstone YC10‑1391130
13thGaz3782Edward ChapmanNix BrookCMYC14‑1511732
14thBluebird3683Tom BallantineMaddy AndersonBrightlingsea SC/Salcombe YC‑121212832
15thsylvia3711Sam ThompsonLeanne ThompsonRNSA111416(DNC)41
16thKeyser Soze3684Tom LowRoman ArcherWest Hoe Sailing Club15‑17131341
17th 3789Nick ScroggieClaire JohnstoneParkstone YC(DNC)DNC141245
18thOne Love3767Ben ArcherOlivia BelliniParkstone YC‑1716151445

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