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Merlin Rocket wins Spitfire Premium Ale Concours dElegance

by Mark Jardine 3 Mar 2012 17:43 GMT 3 March 2012
(l to r) Mark Jardine, David Townshend, David Hayes, Jonny Radcliffe, Stacey Clark and Helen Waterhouse © Emily Whiting / RYA

The Merlin Rocket class have won the Spitfire Premium Ale Concours d’Elegance at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show 2012 today. The latest Winder Canterbury Tales Merlin is an all-black deck and hull with one of the very first 3DL mainsails in the class and a Harken/FSE-Robline fit-out.

Delivered early in the new year, her first outing was during the Tiger Trophy at Rutland. Sailed by David Hayes and Jonny Radcliffe, the boat didn’t have the most successful of events with what they describe as ‘new boat issues’ but, with these teething troubles now sorted, they will be looking for a better result at the Merlin Silver Tiller event in Salcombe later this month.

Judging took place on Saturday with Stacey Clark, Chairman of the RYA, David Townshend of Shepherd Neame and Mark Jardine of casting their eye over the fantastic range of dinghies at the show.

Having narrowed the entries down to a short-list of three, the judges unanimously decided the Merlin was the stand-out boat of the show – a truly beautiful racing machine.

RYA Chairman Stacey Clark said after the judging, “It’s been fantastic to look around the range of dinghies on show. The quality and range on display is amazing.”

Two-time B14 European champion David Hayes said, “This is a fantastic surprise – completely unexpected. We really had to persuade Dave Winder hard to finish the boat in black - he refused the first two times we asked him.”

Builder Dave Winder, when asked what version of Canterbury Tales the hull was replied, “Is it a mark 5? I lose track.”

Paul Hollis, Vice Chairman of the Merlin Rocket class jokingly said, “It’s all you’re going to win this year!”

A huge thank you to Shepherd Neame for once again sponsoring the Spitfire Premium Ale Concours d’Elegance trophy and the Exhibitors’ Party after the show tonight.