Photos © Tom Gruitt / www.fotoboat.com
Merlin Rocket nationals at Penzance day 1
Merlin Rocket nationals at Penzance day 1
The 65th National Championships
Brought to you with assistance from our Sponsors: Winder Boats, Harken, Allen, Marlow Ropes, Tacktick, Speed Sails, North Sails, Pinnell and Bax Sails, Goacher Sails, Hyde Sails, Phil Scott Boats, Synthesize Yachts & Design, Chipstow Masts, Baltic Lifejackets, MF Promotions, Marine Publications Partnership.
Penzance Sailing Club welcomed sixty five (just a coincidence!!) Merlin Rocket teams for the class' first ever visit to the waters of Mounts Bay. Once the weighing and scrutineering had taken place and the various searches for lead correctors, the competitors settled in to the town with ease. With the club conveniently located at the back of the harbour and a minute's walk from the town centre's restaurants, bars and clubs, it soon became apparent we were in for a cracking champs. It was even sunny!!
Sunday 15th August 2010
The practice race begun under a north easterly 15 knot breeze. Jon Gorringe and Pete Horn plus Simon Blake and Alex Jackson (recent winners at Merlin Salcombe Week) were first out of the blocks and this pair of boats showed the fleet a clean pair of heels. Jon took the gun while Simon peeled off before the finish to shake off any bad luck associated with winning the practice race. So with fleet and race team race ready the main event was all set to start.
Race 1 (Founders Trophy)
Under a clean start Tom Stewart & Liam Dempsey, Richard Whitworth & Ollie Turner, and Dave Winder & Pippa Taylor, established an early lead. With very shifty conditions this trio sailed a sensible and conservative race playing the shifts up the middle of the course. With little place changing going on downwind it was all about finding a ladder on the beats. Mike Calvert, crewed by Chris Downham, sailed the most impressive race clawing their way up to second with some great tactical sailing.
Also sailing well was Stu Bithel and Chris Burrel, with Stu fresh from a bronze medal at Sail for Gold. Stu made his way up to fourth, his crew Chris getting used to the front of a Merlin with apparent ease. Tom held his nerve to win the race ahead of Mike, Dave maintained third while Stu overhauled his Uncle Richard to take fourth.
Monday 16th August 2010
Race 2 (Beecher’s Cup)
After such a well behaved start to the week it was no surprise that the fleet quickly returned to its usual habits resulting in the black flag being deployed. This had the desired effect and the fleet eventually got away under a clean start. Stu Bithell nailed the pin and was off. However, the wind was again blowing off shore so the lead boats were quick to get themselves back in the middle of the race course and hence able to play the shifts, rather than being stuck out on a header on the approach to the windward lay. Tom and Liam recovered well to peel in behind Stu and Chris, Richard and Ollie were also showing their form and fought their way up to third while Willie Warren and Chris Robinson (recently finishing second at the GP14 Champs) recorded a fourth.
Tuesday 17th August 2010
Race 3 (Clyde Quaich Trophy)
Conditions remained very constant being north easterly veering north, 12-16 knots. This time with a slight committee boat bias Ian Dobson crewed by Andy Tunnicliffe (GP14 National Champs) won the start and worked the right hand side of the course to establish an unassailable lead over the chasing fleet. He rounded the windward mark, hoisted the spinny and was supplied with his own personal puff and was gone. First laps do not get better.
Further down it was all the usual suspects vying for the next best spot. Clearly spurred on by the sight of friend and arch rival, Stu and Chris pulled ahead of the chasing pack and did a fine job of catching Ian and Andy but ran out of time as the race reached it's 2 hour time limit. Andy Davis and Tom Pygnall finished third while Willie Warren recorded another fourth, continuing with a consistent series.
Wednesday 18th August 2010
Race 4 (West Country Trophy)
With the wind now veering to the north west for the first time the race committee struggled to set a course and get the race off in extremely hard conditions. Once the fronts had blown through with their 30 knot squalls and 40 degree shifts, the conditions settled and the race begun. Simon and Alex together with Rich Adams, crewed by Rob Kennaugh, started at the committee boat while the rest of the leading racers opted for the pin. Tacking off they headed inshore and sailed into a 20 degree header giving the two boats a comfortable lead.
The following pack lead by Ian Dobson, Richard Whitworth and Willie Warren made good of the filling breeze to close on the down-wind legs. Ian made the most gains and closed up on the leading pair eventually over-hauling Rich Adams to take second. In a close tacking battle up the final beat Richard snuck third, Willie yet another fourth while Rich were unfortunate to drop to fifth. Not an easy day to be Race Officer but in the end the fleet enjoyed some classic racing with champagne conditions.
Although not counting towards the overall results there were some very obvious winners and losers. First out of the blocks, and indeed to bed before it was even dark, was Suzi Bell – loser. Richard Parslow at first refused to come to play, but when he did eventually turn up downed his drinks like the seasoned pro he is – winner. Pippa Taylor, crew’s union organiser did her best not to imbibe excessively but her ploy was discovered and duly punished – loser. Finally, a chap to remain un-named took a new girly crew under his wing and protected her from silly drinking games and nasty boys in fleet – winner.
Thursday 19th August 2010
Race 5 (Ranelagh Trophy, the champagne race)
What a difference a day makes. Boats are launched out of the harbour to be greeted with a steady but manageable 20 knots south westerly and finally some proper Mounts Bay style rollers. Stu and Chris came off the line below the inner distance mark with a virtual engine strapped to his transom and shot up the first beat to be challenged only by Jon Gorringe and Jon Turner, crewed by Richard Parslow, for boat speed.
As the race progressed the breeze freshened further with some unplanned on the water centreboard inspections. Jon Gorringe, Richard Whitworth and Tom Stewart all took part in this activity leaving the chasing pack to push for second. Ian held on to second after a closely fought battle with Simon Blake. Willie Warren finished, yes you guessed it, fourth again and Mike Calvert a well deserved fifth after a shaky start.
Thanks to the generosity of Winder Boats, the first 21 teams received a bottle of fizzy maintaining the Ranelagh Trophy tradition.
Going in to the final day it was Stu’s event to lose. He needed a sixth or better to secure the event, Ian could still win as could Willie Warren but both had to rely on others misfortune. Stu had a sensible night winning downing competitions against second placed Ian and Andy. However, as Ian and Andy later found out, Stu was not downing G&Ts but water.
Friday 20th August 2010
Race 6 (Silent World Trophy)
This tactic obviously had the desired effect and Stu yet again lead at the windward mark with Uncle Richard his closest rival. Richard and Ollie got in front of Stu and Chris for a few moments but Stu had the far superior upwind technique and boat speed (read fitness). Further down the fleet Ian’s hangover was clearing as he fought his way to third. Jon Turner and Richard Parslow had been having another strong race in their newly designed and built Turner boat before gear failure forced retirement and Jon Gorringe finally had a result he deserved after an unlucky regatta and finished fourth.
This year’s champs, with the exception of Stu Bithell and to an extent Ian Dobson, was very open and a high scoring regatta. It was noticeable that the top 15 were all capable of winning a race and equally recording a stinker reflecting the depth of talent the fleet is currently enjoying.
Huge thanks must go to all our sponsors, Penzance SC and all associated volunteers and finally Ben & Lou Archer and Andy & Caroline Hay for organising the event.
If you finished in the top ten at the Merlin Rocket nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here
|Pos||Boat Name||Sail No||Helm||Crew||Founder's Trophy||Beecher's Cup||Clyde Quaich Trophy||West Country Trophy||Ranelagh Trophy||Silent World Trophy||Pts|
|1st||Dominatrix||3699||Stuart Bithell||Christian Burrel||4||1||2||-10||1||1||9|
|2nd||Filthy / Gorgeous||3670||Ian Dobson||Andy Tonnicliffe||9||-11||1||2||2||3||17|
|3rd||The Black Pearl||3685||William Warren||Chris Robinson||6||4||4||4||4||-10||22|
|4th||Faithless||3703||Richard Whitworth||Ollie Turner||5||3||10||3||-12||2||23|
|5th||Spank the Monkey||3707||Simon Blake||Alex Jackson||7||7||-9||1||3||8||26|
|6th||Quick Fix||3691||Mike Calvert||Chris Downham||2||6||8||-9||5||5||26|
|7th||Stomper||3701||Tom Stewart||Liam Dempsey||1||2||-11||8||10||6||27|
|8th||Keyser Soze||3684||Andy Davis||Tom Pygall||8||10||3||6||6||-11||33|
|9th||Attack of the Clones||3662||David Winder||Pippa Taylor||3||9||6||7||-23||12||37|
|10th||Loosed Cannon||3655||Richard Adams||Rob Kennaugh||11||12||7||5||-13||7||42|
|11th||Salmon En Croute||3702||Andy Dalby||Nicola Brook||22||8||12||(DSQ)||9||9||60|
|12th||Oakey Dokey||3712||Jon Gorringe||Pete Horn||17||16||5||(DSQ)||20||4||62|
|13th||Shmoozy Blue||3661||Graham Scroggie||Ben Scroggie||19||-22||17||12||11||13||72|
|14th||Gansta Paradise||3539||Dan Alsop||Jennie King||12||15||19||-22||17||19||82|
|15th||Time & Tide||3652||John Bell||Duncan Bell||18||14||20||14||-24||17||83|
|16th||Needlemakers||3610||Richard Dee||Chris Gould||27||13||15||15||16||(DSQ)||86|
|17th||Hot Totty||3676||Patrick Blake||Jilly Blake||10||17||21||-29||22||20||90|
|18th||Wicked||3708||Steven Dunn||Ruth Johnson||15||32||18||-40||15||15||95|
|19th||Still Not Over||3665||Ross Jackson||Fran||21||18||25||13||-32||26||103|
|20th||Snakey B||3671||Piers Lambert||Pete Nicholson||25||19||27||19||-30||16||106|
|21st||2 Pints of Lager||3705||Matt Biggs||Ben Hollis||13||5||16||(DSQ)||8||DNF||108|
|22nd||Dark Star||3720||Jon Turner||Richard Parslow||16||(DNF)||13||11||7||DNF||113|
|23rd||Tiger Tiger||3696||Alan Warren||William Carroll||14||21||23||-39||19||39||116|
|24th||Bluebird||3683||Dave Hayes||Charlotte Jones||37||26||22||(DSQ)||14||18||117|
|25th||Back to the Future||3583||Chris Martin||Ben Hendon||-41||36||33||17||18||14||118|
|26th||Rioja'n Roll||3717||David Charlton||Celia Charlton||-40||28||26||18||26||21||119|
|27th||Brazilian||3700||Phil Emery||Karen Emery||23||25||-44.5||16||36||34||134|
|28th||Djelibeybi||3660||Dave Lee||Lewis Turner||28||24||29||25||-33||28||134|
|29th||Carbonfootprint||3716||Steve Leney||Gill Leney||32||35||24||(DNC)||25||25||141|
|30th||Bronte||3663||Christopher Haworth||Michael Hamilton||36||-38||28||30||27||22||143|
|31st||Shiny Happy People||3695||Matthew Winder||Nix Middleton-Stewart||24||29||34||34||-43||32||153|
|32nd||Cool Cookie||3620||Andy Bines||Derick Gentry||38||27||-53||31||28||30||154|
|33rd||Duck and Dive||3713||Steve Harling||Tim Laws||-46||41||46||27||21||24||159|
|34th||Dangerbatt||3400||James Middleton-Stewart||Andy Young||34||33||40||21||-50||31||159|
|35th||Paradigm Shift||3710||John Rees||Andrea Ralph||31||31||30||33||-40||37||162|
|36th||General Lee||3690||Phil Dalby||Suzi Bell||33||37||32||20||48||(DNF)||170|
|37th||Headcase||3650||Lawrence Tosh||Dan Watson||49||42||36||28||(DNF)||27||182|
|38th||Business as Usual||3626||Andy Hay||Jo Marlow||51||48||-52||26||29||29||183|
|39th||Light Fantastic||3555||Tim Harridge||Ben Harridge||55||52||31||24||(DNF)||23||185|
|40th||Slippery When Wet||3693||Will Rainey||Kelly Miller||20||20||14||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||186|
|41st||Nearly All Over||3617||Tom Chadfield||Andy Chadfield||48||50||38||23||31||(DNC)||190|
|42nd||Jupiter||3651||Colin Brockbank||Harriet Brandt||26||23||(DNF)||35||41||DNF||191|
|43rd||Leader||3563||Paul Hollis||Lisa Scott||35||44||43||36||34||(DNC)||192|
|44th||Nemo||3692||Marinus Zilvold||Julie Nuthall||30||46||47||37||(DNF)||33||193|
|45th||Revolution||3657||Antony Loft||Francesa Lofts||43||40||-50||38||37||35||193|
|46th||Kevin||3714||Charles Devenport||Elaine Aldis||29||30||35||(DNC)||35||DNC||195|
|47th||Matrix||3600||Charles Anderson||James Warren||42||39||41||42||(DNF)||36||200|
|48th||Bola Bola||3672||John Cooper||Hillary Bradshaw||39||34||59||32||38||(DNC)||202|
|49th||Highlander||3721||Nicholas Turner||Carly Turner||54||-58||42||41||42||38||217|
|50th||Too Dark 'n Stormy||3697||Richard Page||Livvy Bell||45||-59||56||49||39||40||229|
|51st||Twinkle Toes||3698||Bob O'Toole||Maddie Jones||56||51||37||(DNC)||45||41||230|
|52nd||Trigger Happy||3628||Robin Charles||Max Williams||-58||45||55||46||44||42||232|
|53rd||Poached Salmon||3644||Steve Mitchell||Polly Newman||44||43||39||(DNC)||DNF||43||235|
|54th||Wild Knight||3632||Marcus Robb||Ben Jones||59||-62||57||45||47||44||252|
|55th||Dark n Stormy||3619||Guy Browne||Tommi Cluley||61||55||-62||44||46||46||252|
|56th||Desperate Housewife||3673||Jane Seymour||Christopher Seymour||50||(DNF)||51||43||DNC||45||255|
|57th||Monkey Puzzle||3706||Kevin Anderson||Sadie Anderson||(DNF)||54||48||48||51||DNF||267|
|58th||Midnight Flight||3681||Douglas Maxwell||Amanda Couper||62||61||-63||47||52||48||270|
|59th||Mellow Yellow||3687||Alan Jackson||Lorna Laval||47||49||49||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||277|
|60th||Autumn Gold||3674||Mike Anslow||Chris Winters||52||53||44.5||(OCS)||DNF||DNC||281.5|
|61st||Original Sin||3688||Craig Bond||Jayne Bond||53||47||54||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||286|
|62nd||Ministry of Pleasure||3634||Ben Arher||Chris O'Toole||63||56||60||(DNC)||DNF||47||292|
|63rd||Zero Gravity||3629||Peter Browne||Dave Wigans||64||63||64||(DNC)||49||DNC||306|
|64th||Skimbleshanks||3474||Andy Hayes||Dave Parry||57||60||58||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||307|
|65th||The Edge||3622||Justin Eddy||Daniel Newman||60||57||61||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||310|