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Merlin Rocket Allen SE Series at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Will Henderson 14 May 00:29 PDT 11-12 May 2024

On 11th and 12th May Brightlingsea S.C. hosted 23 Merlins for the Brightlingsea Merlin Open sponsored by Allen. The Open was held jointly with the Solo Eastern Area Championships. The weather could hardly have been better. The competitors were greeted by warm sunshine and a force 3 to 5 Easterly on Saturday with a quieter Force 1 - 2 on Sunday.

Three races were sailed on each day, all with triangle, sausage, triangle, sausage courses. On Saturday all the beats except for the last couple were across a strongly flooding tide. The reaches were perfectly set so that it was just possible to lay them with spinnakers up. That presented challenges for the skills and fitness of helms and crews. There were many weary bodies at the end of the day. All more than ready for liquid and solid refreshment. Superb homemade cakes were followed after a short interval for more liquid, by a sausage casserole.

Race 1 saw 3791 (Jon Gorringe & Mat Currell), 3726 (Will & Arthur Henderson) and 3775 (Chris Jennings & Pete Nicholson) tack onto port soon after the start and stretch away across the tide to round the first mark in that order, which was maintained until the end of the first sausage when 3775 gybed astutely and took over second place. Those positions were held until the finish.

Races 2 and 3 were similar stories, except that in race 2 3812 (Ollie Meadowcroft & Rob Allen) joined the party and pushed 3726 down to fourth place, and in race 3 3726 led around the course with 3775 beating 3791 for second place.

Sunday's lighter winds brought some relief for tired legs and brought other boats to the fore. In race 4 3812 (Ollie & Rob) cracked the start and the first beat to win the race comfortably. They were followed home by 3746 (James Wells & Anna Aylward) in second, 3799 (Paul Rayson & Christian Hill) in third and 3751 (Rupert & Mary Henderson-White) in fourth.

Meanwhile Saturday's stars languished in tenth (3791), sixth (3775) and thirteenth (3726). In race 5 Ollie & Rob won again. This time followed in second by the consistent Chris & Pete. 3782 (Ed Chapman & Amy Clay) were third and 3671 (David Conlon & Rebecca Bines) were fourth. 3791 (Jon & Mat) crept around in the lightest winds of the day to sixth.

That left all to play for in race 6 after which the second discard would apply. Jon & Mat were holding scores of 1, 1, 4, 10, 6; Chris & Pete 2, 2, 2, 6, 2; Ollie & Rob 8, 3, 8, 1, 1; Will & Arthur 3, 4, 1, 13, 14.

Jon & Will re-discovered their starting mojos, tacked onto port soon after the start and were well away in first and second, while Ollie & Rob and Chris & Pete were not among the front-runners. In an attempt to pass Jon & Mat, Will & Arthur went on a bad shift and were overtaken by 3751 (Rupert & Mary Henderson-White) and 3796 (Will Warren & Charlotte Stewart).

However, they recovered to second down the run. After that there was little change in the front group except that 3753 (Andy Bines & Sarah Conlon) overtook Will Warren & Charlotte for fourth.

In the final analysis, Jon Gorringe & Mat Currell's counters of three firsts and a fourth gave then a well-deserved first place overall. Chris Jennings & Pete Nicolson were second counting four seconds and Will & Arthur Henderson were third with counters of 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Prizegiving was held in the glorious sunshine outside the clubhouse. Custom hand-crafted plates were given to the helms and crews of the first three boats. Allen Brothers vouchers were awarded. The Club, its many volunteers and its staff were thanked for putting on an excellent weekend's sailing which was enjoyed by all.

The next event on the Allen SE Series is at Whitstable Yacht Club on 22nd and 23rd June combined with the next Craftinsure Silver Tiller Sea category meeting.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st3791Jon GorringeMatt CurrelParkstone SC114‑10‑617
2nd3775Chris JenningsPete NicholsonBurghfield SC222‑62(DNC)8
3rd3726Will HendersonArthur HendersonSalcombeYC341‑13‑14210
4th3812Ollie MeadowcroftRob AllenBroadwater SC‑83811(DNC)13
5th3746James WellsAnna AylwardRYA4‑11528‑1319
6th3751Rupert Henderson‑WhiteMary Henderson‑WhiteBrightlingsea SC6‑12‑1247320
7th3793James WilliamsRich CornesBurghfield SC573‑11‑17621
8th3796William WarrenCharlotte StewartShoreham SC‑11595‑12524
9th3782Edward ChapmanAmy ClayCMYC7‑10‑1093726
10th3799Paul RaysonChristianHillFishers Green SC/ Salcombe YC‑17673‑161430
11th3753Andy BinesSarah ConlonBrightlingsea SC18‑19‑1985435
12th3696Alex WarrenRob HendersonShoreham SC‑138‑11711935
13th3671David ConlonRebecca BinesBrightlingsea SC‑16‑1313124837
14th3702Duncan SalmonBeka JonesFishers Green SC‑151414‑1791047
15th3672Ben CleggAbi CleggBrightlingsea SC10156‑20‑221849
16th3756Sophie MackleyGeorge BenderShoreham SC12‑16‑1614101551
17th3770Jon StewardGrahamFishers Green SC14915‑1915(DNC)53
18th3553Flynn DaviesJo TribeBurnham SC‑2117‑2016131157
19th3745Paul DeanHannah BurtBroadwater SC‑22(OCS)1718191266
20th3817Geoff KimberHelen KimberStone SC19181815‑21(DNC)70
21st3715Richard CookeRussell HallFishers Green SC2020‑21‑21181775
22nd3578Nick YannakoyorgosHannah BakerFishers Green SC‑2321‑2222201679
23rd3247Clive EplettMegan PascoeFrensham Pond SC9(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC81

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