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RORC Cervantes Trophy Race report

Thursday, 04 May 2006
John Merricks first win of the season in the RORC Cervantes Trophy Race From the crew of the John Merricks The first offshore for the season went pretty well for ‘John Merricks’. Despite a start in 0-4 knots of breeze we got out of the Solent fairly quickly. All of the big boats including ‘John Merricks’ took a westerly track out beyond Bembridge but were met with lots of dead patches with next to no wind. New breeze filled in from the east and the smaller boats caught up and passed the big boats who were struggling to get east. Eventually we got the new breeze allowing us to extend our lead over ‘Alice 2’, the only other Farr 45 in the race, to over 10 mins. We just rounded Ocean Safety buoy in a lot of adverse tide and kept the A1 spinnaker up and reached in about 10 knots of breeze all the way back to the Nab Tower with ‘Alice 2’ still hot on our heels. Heading out to EC2 buoy ‘Alice 2’ kept north and ‘John Merricks’ lost some minutes eventually crossing Alice by about 50 metres at 8.00pm. Unfortunately due to problems during a headsail change we could not tack close enough to cover them. Despite this we kept pace and a small lead until about 10pm when they closed and overtook about 2 miles from EC2 We then both punched tide for 2 hours and rounded after midnight. Alice, not having an A1 went high in order to set their kite earlier but some excellent crew work from JM saw us overtake them to leeward about 2 boat lengths away at 3am we then kept a close reach in building breeze most of the way to Le Havre and finished at 8.25am. Everyone on board this weekend sailed well despite it being the first offshore experience for some. Everyone should be particularly congratulated for sticking with it in the early hours of Sunday morning when it was cold lumpy and rainy and everyone was still up on the rail with no-complaints. ‘John Merricks’ finished first in IRC class 0, a great start the offshore season. This race is the first race in the lead up to the non-stop SevenStar Round Britain and Ireland race in August, which the young crew of ‘John Merricks’ have had in their sights throughout the days of hard work during the winter.

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