Please select your home edition
Edition
OLAS 728x90

Merlin Rocket Open Meeting at Trent Valley Sailing Club

by Rob Sloane on 23 May 2007 20 May 2007

The Trent Valley SC contingent decided that it would be a good idea to enlist the help of top Merlin crew (and no mean helm) Phil Dalby to hone their skills for this year’s open meeting. So on Saturday we all met up for some intensive tuition. It was blowing old boots and we all had a great time but the forecast for Sunday was for only 7 knots, so would we able to apply what we had learnt?

Overnight the forecast was revised down from 7 knots to 2, and on the ground (and water) even this seemed hopelessly optimistic. Given the relatively poor turnout over the last couple of years, and potential competition from Hayling Island, the day looked like it could be a complete waste. Early abandonment was on the cards…

…and then the visitors started to arrive. Ok, so they had really only come for lunch, but they had brought boats with them, so sailing was required to entertain them until the meal was on the table. A guest appearance from Richard Whitworth, with Master Blaster, added to the usual Midlands contingent. He had mislaid his crew on the journey South but a super lightweight was soon found from TVSC’s junior fleet.

Then we waited. Fortunately the sun was shining and nobody was too desperate to get onto the water. Young Jack Scott (aka Baby Dirty Hands) was the centre of attention – already attending his second Merlin open meeting at only two months old. Half an hour after the scheduled start time the wind (ok, a few zephyrs) decided to make an appearance and, after a quick test sail, it was decided that a race was definitely to be attempted. Given the lack of wind, the course was more Ragley sized than the normal one mile beat that TVSC can offer, but did at least have three buoys. So as not to overload the TVSC sailors, the race officer decided against Olympic triangles and sausages, and kept to a port-handed triangle course.

Despite the upstream start, a couple of boats were over the line. For those slightly more circumspect, it was a couple of minutes later before they managed to extract enough forward way to overcome the current and cross the start line. Richard Whitworth / Jos Richardson made an early get-away, as did Brian Cobb / Ros Nichols. Unfortunately the course was too complicated for Whitworth, who had to ask the way and re-round the first mark. This put Brian and Ros into an early lead, but they were unable to hold off Steve and Gill Leney, who eventually took first place.

The second race was held almost back-to-back with the first so as not to delay lunch, and the wind responded by increasing to at least 2.5 knots. The windward mark was brought even further downstream to reduce the frustration factor. Once again a number of boats overcompensated for the current and were over the line at the start. The Leneys took an early lead with Whitworth in close pursuit and the race looked like it would be over quite quickly. And then the wind died. The Leneys kept their position to take the meeting with two bullets. The next three places all depended on the last race.

After a rather long lunch break (roast chicken et al) the race officer was all ready to hoist ‘N’ over ‘A’ when the wind decided to make a return. There was no choice but to start the third race and Whitworth set off with Richard Dee / Phil Scott in close pursuit, and Phil Dalby / Richard Pilgrim not far behind. These three then proceeded to lap the rest of the fleet who were frustrated by the now virtually non-existent wind and unable to round the upstream buoy. Dee / Scott managed to sneak past Whitworth / Richardson to take overall second. Traumatised by being lapped, the remainder all retired except for James Clark / Lorna Orton, who battled on to claim a well-deserved finish.

This year is the centenary of the TVSC clubhouse and a vintage event and summer ball is being held at the end of June. All are welcome to attend. Please apply to peter.browne@trentvalleysc.org

Related Articles

Merlin Rockets at the Lymington Dinghy Regatta
Some of the best in the country, and new initiates Over the weekend twelve Merlin Rockets took to the water for the two days of the Lymington Dinghy Regatta that boasted nearly 140 other boats. With our own class start the fleet included three visiting boats. Posted on 17 Jul
Merlin Rocket Champagne Sponsor
Winder Boats covering a Merlin Rocket tradition The Merlin Rocket class are delighted to announce that Winder Boats will be sponsoring the Champagne prizes for the helm and crew of the first 21 boats in the traditional Thursday Race at the Aspire Merlin Rocket National Championships. Posted on 15 Jul
Sailing history for sale
We are about to lose a major part of UK dinghy heritage The UK dinghy scene is unique in its richness and diversity. Sadly, it looks as though we may be about to lose a major part of this important heritage. Posted on 12 Jul
Are you Championship ready?
Key points to think about with P&B We've experienced the best and the worst conditions the British weather could throw at us. Your boats have probably sailed you through several events and club races already without too many glitches. Posted on 8 Jul
Salcombe Merlin Week day 6
Further wall to wall sunshine for the conclusion The final day brought further wall to wall sunshine with a force three Westerly that was due to swing to the SW for the afternoon. Posted on 7 Jul
Salcombe Merlin Week day 5
One of the most exciting races for spectators Thursday is moving day at any championships, when the leading contenders either step up for the final challenge or fall by the wayside. The conditions for the morning race contrived to provide one of the most exciting races for spectators. Posted on 6 Jul
Salcombe Merlin Week day 4
Another day of wall to wall sunshine Wednesday dawned to another day of wall to wall sunshine but this time with the wind around in the East and hitting 20 knots on Prawle Point weather station. Posted on 5 Jul
Salcombe Merlin Week day 3
Who says that light airs racing is boring? Who says that light airs racing is boring? The morning race on day three was a roller coaster that went all the way to the line in a nail-biting finish. Posted on 4 Jul
Salcombe Merlin Week day 2
More great racing in the harbour Monday dawned cloudy with light drizzle to dampen the spirits a tad, however there was already a South Westerly blowing down the estuary and by start time the sun was starting to break through. Posted on 3 Jul
Salcombe Merlin Week day 1
Massively popular event underway After a Saturday spent moving boats and trolleys to Mill Bay beach and a pretty fruity practice sail. the first morning of the hugely popular Sharps Doom Bar Salcombe Merlin Week dawned sunny but with a light to non-existent breeze from the NW. Posted on 2 Jul