Open meeting round up from 27/28 April
Chichester Merlin Open brought a bit of sun, 17 merlins, but most importantly that familiar whistling sound you hear as the wind comes whistling through the trees.. building for a big one! This was it .. BIG SUNDAY.
Once an esteemed gentleman yotter said "At Chichester, when it blows it ****ing blows". The forecast predicted building upto an 8 throughout the day..... CYC generously decided not to use a typical club course but opted for a standard Olympic triangle-sausage as more ground around the harbour could be covered with less gybes!
Racing started at 11:30 on a rising tide. Tom Stewart got off well and after playing the shifts had a good lead over the rest of the pack. He rounded the mark and blasted off on the reach only to capsize at the gybe mark on a gust. This left King and Driver to take the lead, which the maintained to the finish. Behind them was a lot of swimming and place swapping.
The gybe mark was making spectating very exciting. One interesting point to note was the interesting "water-skiing" start made by David Downs crew Simon McCleery. The starting officials gave him 7/10 for style! Will Rainey also did well to come back from a capsize, aided by the ferocious Jen King flying the kite no matter how hairy it got!
The top 6 after the first race were: King, BlakioooOO Snr, John Bell, Dave Windy, Andy Bownes, Will Rainey.
After a bite to eat the wind was substantially stronger... the eerie whistling was also getting louder. Prior to going out Dan Aslop could be heard saying "Please tell an old man it's calming down a bit.."!
Most boats ventured out again for some seriously quick yotting. Alsop took the starboard end at the start and peeled over the top of everyone. King closed in by playing the shifts correctly and just managed an inside overlap on the first windward mark. Alsop caught up slightly at the gybe mark leaving utter carnage behind. Winder pressing hard passed Alsop but fell into windward. Plop! With King still chalking out a lead, Rainey, who was the only boat flying a kite (It was going to be a case or Hero or Zero!) passed Alsop to take second. Pat Blakioo blew it when he managed to rip his sail. This race sadly led to many early retirements and a couple of snapped masts).
1st 3606 Phil King and Kevin Driver
2nd 3601 Will Rainey and Jenny Fearless King
3rd 3611 Dave Windy and Jilly Blakioo
4th 3539 Dan Aslop and Jane Beaumont
5th 3559 Pat Blakioo and Anna Blakioo
6th 3609 John Bell and Graham Williamson
7th 3397 David Downs and Simon McCleery (<- good work fella's).