Survival of the fittest at Oulton

It was often more a case of survival rather than racing at Oulton Broad as again the strength of the wind was the main consideration, with gusts up to Force 6 at the weekend.

The main event on Saturday was the Merlin/Rocket Silver Tiller event for the Lavengro Trophy.

With no home fleet on the Broad was good to see a Merlin fleet back, and eight competitive helmsmen drove many miles to take part. Chris Martin and Rob Kennaugh soon indicated they were going to be the team to beat as they took the lead from Steven and Gillian Leney halfway round the first round and stayed there to the finish. Dan Willett and Pete Nicholson took third and by chance this also turned out to be the same overall result.

The second race saw Martin over the line at the start and this left the Leneys in the lead and going very fast, followed by two boats from Brightlingsea SC sailed by David Charlton and Andy Bing.

By the third race half the fleet still had a chance of winning overall. Martin and Leney were soon out in front, but when Leney capsized Martin had only to finish to win overall, which he did.

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Reefs were the order of the day in the Waveney class and Trevor Balls won both the class and Mixed Keels races, the class from Geoff Little and Jack Pickering and the second from Pickering and Nick Smith.

There were only two Lasers out and they both coped well with the wind. Jamie Freeman won from Charlie Beech. There were also only two Squibs out and John Lockwood beat Vince Meadows.

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A gusty south westerly wind ranging from F3 to F6 made it a testing time for sailors at Gorleston on Sunday. The beat to the windward mark against an ebbing tide benefited the RS500 of Dave Houghton and John Symonds who were first round the mark, closely followed by Richard Fryer and Jamie Freeman in their RS400. The two Lasers of Jonathon Jones and Carl Buck were not far behind. With both the RS boats suffering a capsize and with the gusts getting stronger the race team decided to finished the racing after two laps with Houghton and Symonds winning on corrected time.

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