Please select your home edition
Edition
Grapefruit 728 2

Merlin Rocket Week at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Will Rainey on 22 Jul 2002

106 Merlins at Salcombe

13–19 July 2001

Photo © D Mitchell
The Merlins enjoyed another excellent week’s sailing at Salcombe in an event that continues to go from strength to strength. The fleet enjoyed brilliant sunshine all week, with the winds, which varied from very light to Force 4 as the predominantly northwesterly wind battled with the sea breeze, giving plenty of opportunity for the fleet to play snakes and ladders.

To accommodate the huge fleet, the week’s racing takes place in flights, with the boats being split into Gold and Silver fleets after the first three days’ racing.

By Friday morning, any one of three boats could have won the Gold fleet. Phil King and Kevin Driver, and John Bell and Graham Williamson had both secured four wins out of five races, and rising stars Simon Blake and Linton Jenkins with three wins could still have come out on top if either of the leaders slipped up on the last day. Ultimately, the result went down to the final beat of the last race as Bell struggled unsuccessfully to catch Blake, in a bid to match King’s win in the morning race. King and Driver were therefore worthy winners of one of the closest fought weeks for many years. To demonstrate the fine line between success and failure, King and Blake each won a race as a result of the race leader sailing the wrong course.

In the Silver fleet, James Middleton-Stewart kept his nerve on the final day to cement his overnight lead with a fine win, to lead by three points from Dave Townend, who once again somehow managed to just scrape into the Silver fleet when the cut was made.

Other highlights included Merlin legend and previous winner of Salcombe week, Harry Haynes presenting a new trophy in memory of his wife Beryl, for the crew of the winning boat, and the recognition of another previous winner, John Harris, attending his 40th Salcombe Merlin Week without a break.

Photo © D Mitchell

On the gear front, the new boats from Full Wrecked’em Force continue to make their mark with three in the first six. Sails for the top six came from Rowsell, Pinnell and Bax, Alverbank and Batt, whilst five of the top six used masts from Chipstow.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClub
Gold Fleet:
1st3606Phil KingKevin DriverBowmoor SC
2nd3612Simon BlakeLinton JenkinsCookham Reach SC
3rd3609John BellGraham WilliamsonHampton SC
4th3549Mike CalvertJane CalvertWeymouth SC
5th3591Tom StewartChris BishopRoyal Harwich YC
6th3601Will RaineyJennie KingCookham Reach SC
Silver fleet:
1st3400James Middleton-StewartZoe DonaldWeymouth SC
2nd3530David TownendFrancesca LoftsSalcombe YC
3rd3535Richard CookeSam Waddoups 
Old Boat Prize3266Rawson PilonRachel HoweUpper Thames SC

Related Articles

Sailing's Mr Nice Guy
We interview Dave Hall of Hyde Sails We spoke to Dave Hall about his sailing, his on-off relationship with the Fireball, his life in the marine industry including his role introducing the 29er to Europe, and his times at Hyde Sails. Posted on 17 Jan
Sponsors announced for SMELT 2017
Over £2500 worth of prizes to be won Thanks to some very generous sponsorship for the event next May competitors now have the chance to win over £2500 worth of prizes. Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Sir John Oakeley passes away
One of Britain's greatest sailors Sir John Oakeley, one of Britain's greatest sailors, has died aged 84. World champion, Olympian and author, he was also a leading figure in the marine industry for more than 30 years. Posted on 22 Dec 2016
Nick Craig to remain at the front with Harken UK
One of Great Britain's best amateur sailors Nick Craig is undoubtedly one of Great Britain's best amateur sailors. He has an unmatched record of consistently being #atthefront of the OK, Enterprise, RS400, Phantom and, more recently, the Merlin Rocket, D-One and B14 classes. Posted on 16 Dec 2016
A Day of Cheating
In the Lymington Merlin Rocket Fleet The title says it all "cheating"; it's how some racing sailors refer to training or practising. Investing in a few hours of training, or better still hiring a coach, can give your performance a boost that just isn't achievable any other way. Posted on 29 Nov 2016
P&B offers on Sails & Covers
Don't miss out order by the 30th November! After another superb Championship season, P&B are offering up to 25% discount off sails and covers. All our sails can be delivered by a member of our P&B Race Team. Posted on 28 Nov 2016
Win a day's professional coaching
On and off the water competitions at SMELT 2017 Next May, five UK fleets are returning to Carnac for the 2nd edition of SMELT and this time you could win a day's professional coaching. Throughout the event there will be some friendly rivalry between the classes. Posted on 23 Nov 2016
Royal Thames Autumn Trophy
Merlin Rockets race at Ranelagh Sunday 6th November dawned sunny and breezy, and pretty chilly, suggesting that maybe winter had arrived just in time for the final Thames Series event in the Merlin Rocket calendar. Posted on 11 Nov 2016
Merlin Rocket Week sells out in 2 hours!
5 already on the waiting list for Salcombe event The ever popular Sharp's Doom Bar Merlin Rocket Week at Salcombe Yacht Club has sold out in 2 hours. Racing takes place in the river and estuary with the fleet divided in two for morning and afternoon races. Posted on 1 Nov 2016
August & September winners announced
In Henri Lloyd Report of the Month The sailing season may be winding down now, but the reports are still coming in thick and fast from events up and down the country and from around the world. Posted on 31 Oct 2016