Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller event : Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club 6th & 7th October

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


The latest round of the Craftinsure sponsored Silver Tiller Series came north to Hollingworth Lake. Many have travelled in past years to try and unseat Richard Whitworth (with various crews) from the number one spot at this event. Only Stuart Bithell (Richard's nephew and now Olympic Silver medallist) has achieved this task in recent years.

The weather forecast for the weekend was not promising. 8mph westerly winds were expected for Saturday and proved sailable, but fickle, while the lighter winds due on Sunday failed to materialise, so Sunday's racing was abandoned leaving the 3 races sailed on Saturday as the final results.

A 22-boat fleet took to the water. The first race did not go Richard's way as David Winder and Pippa Taylor are currently on top form, after a clear start. Matt Biggs and John Hackett in Stealth, and a past strong contender at this event, came in third with Steve and Gill Leney in fourth. Always welcome on their returns, Pat and Jill Blake showed that they have some memory of the best routes at the Lake with a fifth place on a shortened course.

The second race gave PRO Nick Brook most trouble with a shifting wind on the start. So, after two General Recalls, the Black Flag was hoisted and a trouble free start was achieved. This time, the fleet was joined by Tom Jeffcoate and Ben Rayner who finished fourth. At the front, four boats got clear away, leaving Martin and Rene Watts in a lonely fifth place, as the wind died for a time on those behind. Whitworth could be certain to find the best way round and hold the lead with Winder fending off the challenge of Biggs to the finish in that order.

Making sure that there would be no delay to the third race start, the fleet were obedient to the black flag. By now Jeffcoate, in a wooden boat, was ready to battle with the plastic ones. Whitworth was well able to cope with the challenge and sailed into a strong lead. It was Winder who had to try everything to get past Jeffcoate, to no avail by the finish. Club Commodore Steve Crook with SallyTownend overtook Nick Heginbotham and Becky Jones to come in fourth.

As usual, there was an excellent Saturday evening meal. Sadly Sunday dawned bright but windless. This left Richard Whitworth winner again. Although now sailing out of Parkstone, he remains a Club member and this time it was his 17th win of the Felucca Trophy, which must constitute some kind of record.

Report by Graham Knox:

Overall Results:

1st Richard Whitworth/Sarah Bines (HLSC)
2nd David Winder/Pippa Taylor (HLSC)
3rd Tom Jeffcoate/Ben Rayner (Notts. County)
4th Matt Biggs/John Hackett (Blithfield)
5th Steve and Gill Leney (Blithfield)

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 October 2012 )