Please select your home edition
Craftinsure 2012

Merlin Rockets at the Lymington Dinghy Regatta

by Lou Johnson & Karl Thorne 17 Jul 2017 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

Related Articles

A touch of magic for the Merlin Rocket Class
Official clothing partner announced Magic is often a word associated with the Merlin Rocket and perhaps more so than ever in 2018, as Magic Marine come on board as the official clothing partner for the class. Posted on 17 Feb
A Demonstration of Design
The life, times and boats of Ian Proctor As the UK started to emerge in the early 1950s from the years of wartime austerity, the dinghy and small boat sailing scene would undergo a huge explosion, both in terms of numbers and variety. Posted on 8 Feb
Or as Corporal Fraser would say, "We're all doomed" The working title of pt.2 of this three part series was 'Snakes' – with pt.3 then being 'Ladders'. Together with pt.1, 'I am not a number', the contention is that small boat sailing has undergone changes that are only now making themselves truly apparent. Posted on 22 Jan
Two World Titles, One European, Two UK Nationals
A great 12 months for Nick Craig Sometimes it all falls into place and sometimes it doesn't. 2017, and the beginning of 2018, have proved fruitful for Nick Craig. Posted on 21 Jan
56th Hamble Warming Pan preview
Notice of Race now published The Hamble River Sailing Club will be hosting the 56th Hamble Warming Pan on 24th & 25th March 2018. This year a number of new classes have been invited to the event. Posted on 19 Jan
Merlin Rocket Downriver Race at Ranelagh
Racing from Putney to Battersea Saturday 11th November saw 17 merlin rockets arrive on Putney Embankment for the final Merlin Rocket event of the year, being the culmination of the Thames Series, held as a downriver race, from Putney to Battersea, hosted by Ranelagh Sailing Club. Posted on 13 Nov 2017
Merlin Rockets at Hollingworth Lake
Going through the port hole in the final Craftinsure Silver Tiller event Hollingworth Lake SC hosted the final Craftinsure Silver Tiller event 2017 on Saturday followed by a three-course meal, prize-giving for the year, dancing and of course the obligatory going through the port hole. Posted on 2 Nov 2017
Merlin Rockets at Blithfield
High winds for penultimate Craftinsure Silver Tiller event Storm Brian had already flexed its considerable might at other events, but a forecast weather window saw Blithfield SC seek to carry on and penultimate round of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller was set to be on, on Sunday 22nd October. Posted on 24 Oct 2017
Aspire renew Merlin Nationals sponsorship
For 2018 event at Lyme Regis The Merlin Rocket Owners' Association are delighted to be able to announce that their 2017 Championship sponsors, Aspire Financial Advisors, enjoyed themselves so much that they have already signed up to support us in 2018. Posted on 20 Oct 2017
Merlin Rockets at Burghfield
For Craftinsure Silver Tiller series event 23 teams travelled from as far as Devon, somewhere north of Birmingham, and some bumper bashers from Essex to support the first Craftisure Burghfield Merlin Silver Tiller event. A warm welcome awaited us, along with a coffee and a bacon buttie. Posted on 15 Oct 2017