The mysterious decision to change its date from mid-October, concurrent with Tamesis’s Merlin open for the Sondown Cup, may partly explain why no visitors arrived last Saturday, 20 August, to compete for the Porteous Cup, usually one of the best attended events in the de May series for vintage Merlins. However, most blame probably lay with the forecast of gale force winds, which for once proved justified. Only four boats took part in the two morning races, which the combination of ferocious gusts and Teddington Reach’s notorious backwinds turned into a contest for survival. Berry Ritchie and Sue Harris in Crescendo, Merlin 607, won the first race by a distance, but were narrowly headed by David Baker and Jim Green in Andromeda, 3259, in the second. Third in both races were Ken Duffell and his grandson in Avenger, 1004. Sadly, damage to the wooden mast of Mervyn Allen’s Cindy, 723, forced her early retirement.
With the wind showing no signs of abating, only Ken and his regular crew Joe Woods came to the line in the afternoon for the Southcott Cup, sailing a token lap. The Porteous Cup was won by Berry and Sue on handicap.