The Merlins made a welcome return to Bartley on Sunday with 25 entries for the Silver Tiller event. The weather provided some very exciting conditions with gusty force 4 from an ENE direction with some big bends over the racecourse making the tactics critical.
The compettion at the top was increadibly close with the top 5 boats all showing potential to take the trophy home with very close finishes in all races.
In the first race it was Chris Gould and Chris Kilsby sailing for Bartley who took the win on the line from Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby from Blithfield in a very closely contended race. Right behind them were Simon Potts and Ally Potts from Burghfield and the first Silver fleet boat of Chris Martin and Sam Bailey in 4th.
After refueling at Tilly's Galley the fleet set off for a grueling afternoon of hiking. In race 2 the fleet were bunched at the windward mark favouring those who had chosen the starboard layline and accounted for the shifts. This time it was Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby who got ahead (although they were kept honest throughout by Simon and Ally Potts, 2nd) and held out to take the win with Matt Biggs and Becka Jones from Blithfield in 3rd and Roger Phillips and Will Crocker from Burghfield in 4th place.
Entering race 3 it looked like it could be Andy and Pippa's day as they just needed to keep ahead of Chris Gould and Kilsby, but what unfolded was a monumental battle with constantly changing places between the two boats with the Chris' winning by just a few boat lengths to take the race and the trophy. It was just as tight between 3rd and 4th this time with Roger and Will getting the 3rd ahead of Matt and Becka.
The fleet returned to the bar for a swift drink and talk of the days sailing followed by the prize giving.
Full results are on the results page of the website.
1st Chris Gould Chris Kilsby Bartley
2nd Andy Davis Pippa Kilsby Blithfield
3rd Simon Potts Ally Potts Burghfield
1st Chris Martin Sam Bailey Midland
2nd Rchard Cooke Russel Hall Wembley
3rd Paul Hollis Paula Mason Blithfield
1st Matt Smith Jared Lewis Midland
2nd Richard Coulter Louise Leppage Fishers Green
3rd Pete Slack Michelle Evans Blithfield
Thanks to all the visiting crews - we enjoyed having the fleet at Bartley and thanks to Leanne and the Tilly's Galley crew who had to work hard over lunch to get everyone fed. Final thanks to Mark Reddington for organising the event, Howard Eeles for Race Officer duties and the rescue duty crew who were kept nice and busy all day!