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Merlin Rocket Nationals restart goes to Bithell and Pygall

Stuart Bithell and Tom Pygall had their own groundhog day to finally claim the first race of the 2016 Merlin Rocket Nationals - really it was race 2 but we won't go into that.

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The 50 boat fleet got away first time under a U flag in a building ESE and brilliant sunshine.

The first beat was pretty even, but the right paid and Ben and Roz McGrane rounded in first,.

They were narrowly ahead of Nick Craig / Alan Roberts, Roger Gilbert / James Stewart and Stu Bithell / Tom Pygall all of whom had gone middle left.

Taxi and Alex Warren were pulled out at the first mark for being OCS.

The first reach was a key leg with Bithell and Pygall getting high and then picking a big wave set to plane down over the top of the leading bunch to round the gybe mark clear ahead.

From there on they were able to use their pace to keep a loose cover on the chasing bunch.

At the line Bithell and Pygall took the gun, already looking strong favourites for the title.

Gilbert and Stewart battled to second with Ben and Roz completing the podium.

Merlin Rocket - UK National Championship, after 1 race
1st 3775 Stuart Bithell / Tom Pygall Hollingworth 1 pts
2nd 3722 Roger Gilbert / James Stewart Frensham Pond 2 pts
3rd 3739 Ben McGrane / Roz McGrane Netley 3 pts
4th 3776 Nick Craig / Alan Roberts Frensham Pond 4 pts
5th 3658 Chris Jennings / Pete Horn Burghfield 5 pts
6th 3645 Steve Hall / Simon Haighton Burnham 6 pts
7th 3774 Jon Turner / Richard Parslow Lyme 7 pts
8th 3770 David Hayes / Jonny Ratcliffe Hayling Island 8 pts
9th 3753 Michael Sims / Richard Brown Carsington 9 pts
10th 3777 Simon Potts / Ally Martin Burghfield 10 pts
11th 3656 Olly Turner / Graham Sexton Starcross 11 pts
12th 3730 Pete Ballantine / Ben Hollis Salcombe / Blithfield 12 pts
13th 3764 Tim Fells / Oli Wells Salcombe 13 pts
14th 3754 Jon Gorringe / Toby Lewis Parkstone 14 pts
15th 3733 Dave Wade / Rachel Rhodes Northampton 15 pts
16th 3746 Dan Willett / Pete Nicholson Brightlingsea 16 pts
17th 3778 Chris Gould / Chris Kilsby Blithfield 17 pts
18th 3727 Mark Stockbridge / Neil Davies Ranelagh 18 pts
19th 3691 Mike Calvert / Sean Anderson Axe YC 19 pts
20th 3673 Caroline Croft / Beka Jones Blithfield 20 pts
21st 3735 Richard Whitworth / Pippa Taylor Hollingworth 21 pts
22nd 3759 Sam Barker / Megan Pascoe Castle Cove 22 pts
23rd 3740 Pat Blake / Jilly Blake Cookham 23 pts
24th 3769 Graham Cranford-Smith / Steve Penfold Salcombe 24 pts
25th 3690 Tim Harridge / Lucy Burn Hampton 25 pts
26th 3564 Rob Kennaugh / Colin Anderson Midland 26 pts
27th 3756 William Warren / Chris Downham Shoreham 27 pts
28th 3641 Mark Waterhouse / Matt Currel Parkstone 28 pts
29th 3779 David Lee / Tim Laws Starcross 29 pts
30th 3566 James Wells / Liz Wells Starcross 30 pts
31st 3685 Sophie Mackley / James Warren Shoreham 31 pts
32nd 3773 Alan Warren / Bill Carroll Shoreham 32 pts
33rd 3683 Ben Jones / Helen Hilditch Shoreham 33 pts
34th 3709 Tom Lonsdale / Rhos Hawes Upper Thames 34 pts
35th 3651 Colin Brockbank / Martin Hughes Wembley 35 pts
36th 3714 Richard Burton / Alice Markham Upper Thames 36 pts
37th 3643 Mark Barwell / Louise Johnson Lymington Town 37 pts
38th 3772 Phil Emery / David Hawkins Whitstable 38 pts
39th 3539 Dan Alsop / Frances Gifford Lyme/ PSUK 39 pts
40th 3744 Chris Martin / TBC Midland 40 pts
41st 3707 David Hall / Mari Shepherd Blackwater 41 pts
42nd 3767 Ben Archer / Theo Harris Parkstone 42 pts
43rd 3716 Steve Leney / Gill Leney Blithfield 43 pts
44th 3713 Steve Harling / Eleanor Thomas Starcross 44 pts
45th 3628 Robin Charles / Dan Newman Starcross 45 pts
46th 3704 Jemma Hughes / Charlotte Cotter Thames 46 pts
47th 3518 Julian Harms / Timothy Harms Midland 47 pts
48th 3511 Andrew Mills / Ellie Mills Hampton 48 pts
49th 3352 John Donoghue / Charles Vernal TBC 49 pts
50th 3561 Kieran O'Farrell / Annabelle Steward Wembley 55.0 DNC pts
50th 3653 Andy Chapman / Melissa Chapman Weston 55.0 DNC pts
50th 3684 Andy Davis / Alex Warren Blithfield 55.0 OCS pts
50th 3734 Phil Ashworth / Ali Ashworth Weymouth 55.0 OCS pts
50th 3735A Pip Taylor / Alex Paulsey Thames 55.0 DNC pts

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G New
15 August 2016 15:54 GMT


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