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Craftinsure 2012

Merlin Rockets at the Lymington Dinghy Regatta

by Lou Johnson & Karl Thorne 17 Jul 19:50 BST 15-16 July 2017
David Ellis - Merlin initiation during the Lymington Dinghy Regatta © Lou Johnson & Claire Sleigh

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, who could be counted as some of the best Merlin sailors in the country - their titles include world and national championships, Silver Tiller and most importantly Salcombe Week wins. A great turnout of nine boats from the local emerging fleet were hoping to counter this extreme skill level with some Solent knowledge, but quietly knew they were probably in for some sailing lessons from the visitors...

Saturday arrived, and from the comfort of the Town clubhouse briefing it was set to be a good race around the Western Solent. The fleet were sailing on the eastern course, and with the first start scheduled for 1300, they were waiting in the wings in anticipation.

Uncannily for the Merlins, it was a clean start under the U flag for the first race (a trend which happily continued all weekend) and first to the windward mark, by quite a margin, were the Chrises (Kilsby & Gould) followed by the recently teamed up Simon Potts and Pip Taylor, then Will Warren and Sophie Mackley - who having extended their holiday in Salcombe popped in on the way home. By the time the fleet reached the run on the quadrilateral course, the building breeze and short Solent chop caused much entertainment and confusion for some, resulting in the first capsizes of the day. Eventually everyone got to grips with the conditions and the building breeze and tight course kept everyone on their toes right to the finish line. Race 1 was one for the visitors with the Chrises giving a superb boat speed and handling demonstration in full-on conditions, followed by Will and Sophie, then Simon and Pip.

With the wind reaching 26 knots, the tide starting to turn against the breeze and the rescue boats all being kept busy it was time for the crews to go ashore after the one race before the safety situation escalated with that many boats on the water. On returning, the legendary tea and dog-nuts were a welcome gift to all the competitors in return for remembering to sign-off.

Sunday dawned and the lighter breeze was welcomed following the night's entertainment of Paella at the Royal and core strength exercises and dancing on the ceiling in the LTSC Solent Room.

The three races for the day saw the Warren/Mackley team take three bullets. Second places went to the Potts/Taylor in the first two races, with the Chrises securing it in the third, and third places went to Chrises in the first two followed by #TeamLymo Sailors Tim Harridge and Lucy Burn in the third, the only local boat to touch the podium!

A great weekend was had by all on the water which included dodging the Tattinger Regatta IRC boats who rather liked the shallow area of the dinghy course. Plenty was taken away by the local boats, who had a superb opportunity to see how it should be done and get to know some of the top sailors who were more than happy to pass on some tips, encouragement, and even loan a spare mast. We'd like to think by the time of the September Silver Tiller Open, we'll try to put up more of a fight!

A big thank you to the huge number of volunteers both ashore and afloat, and to the Lymington Town Sailing Club and Royal Lymington Yacht Club for hosting another memorable dinghy regatta that seems to attract good numbers and talent across numerous classes and handicap fleets. A big thank you to the event sponsors Harken, Gill and Nick Cox Chandlery.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewR1R4R5R6Pts
1stRobert3756William WarrenSophie Mackley‑21113
2ndPeer Pressure3778Chris GouldChris Kilsby1‑3326
3rdMockingjay3777Simon PottsPippa Taylor322‑57
4thGeneral Lee3690Tim HarridgeLucy Burn45‑7312
5thStrung Along3784Mark BarwellLouise Johnson‑544412
6thFluffy3719Rob MartinJan Martin775‑819
7th 3780David EllisKarl Thorne66‑8719
8thNKS3732John CooperBecci Wigley(DNF)DNC6625
9thShe's A Cracker3550Robin MilledgeRichard Lilley‑989926
10thWhite Tiger3748Nigel BrookeSuzie Brooke8(DNC)DNCDNC34
11thHeadcase3650Gareth GriffithsClere Sleigh(DNF)9DNCDNC35
12thThe Dream Machine3450Ben GreenFi Edwards(DNF)10DNCDNC36