An impressive fleet of 33 Merlin Rockets made the journey to Weymouth on 8 July for the three-race open meeting run by Weymouth Sailing Club
An impressive fleet of 33 Merlin Rockets made the journey to Weymouth on 8 July for the three-race open meeting run by Weymouth Sailing Club.
Alan Warren and Liam Dempsey (White Leader 3563) made the perfect pin end start. They then capitalised on a left-hand wind shift to lead at the windward mark from Tom Stewart and Kieran Collacott (3591). Stewart and Collacott were passed on the reaches by John Bell and Graham Williamson (3569) as well as Richard Estaugh and Andy Hateley (3582).
On the second beat plenty of shifts meant plenty of place changes within the top few boats, but Alan Warren and Liam Dempsey held on to first place. The leading pack of four were able to get some distance from the rest of the fleet on the run and subsequent beat with the exception of Richard Whitworth and Sally Townsend (3593) who managed to move up to the leading boats and then to third by the end of the second set of reaches.
Thefinal beat was very tight with lots of windshifts making it almost impossible for Alan Warren and Liam Dempsey to cover safely, and in the final frantic yards to the finish they lost out to Richard Whitworth and Sally Townsend (3593) who gained on the right-hand side of the course. John Bell and Graham Williamson gambled on the left-hand end of the line and just lost out to Stewart and Collacott for third place.
Paul Davies (3573) showed excellent upwind boat speed to lead at the top mark in the second race from Phil King and Kev Driver (3606), with Alan Warren and Liam up there in third yet again. Stewart and Collacott passed Warren and Dempsey on the first reach and after a messy gybe mark were briefly up to second. Driver and King recovered and got back to second before the leeward mark. The beat again brought place changes but by the windward mark the previous order had been restored. Stewart and Collacott had the best speed on the run and passed Driver and King and were closing on Davies. Davo then had a wobble at the leeward mark allowing both boats through, finishing in that order.
The final race was started with a slight starboard bias bunching the fleet and causing a couple of general recalls and several boats falling foul of the black flag. Richard Whitworth and Sally Townsend made the best start at the third and final attempt and dragged out to the right of the race course, a header let them safely cross the fleet to lead at the first mark. Mike Calvert (3549) passed them on the reach but second place was enough for them to win overall.
1st 3593, R. Whitworth and S. Townsend
2nd 3591, T. Stewart and K. Collacott
3rd 3549, M. Calvert and crew
4th 3563, A. Warren and L. Dempsey