Please select your home edition
Craftinsure 2012

Craftinsure Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller at Wembley Sailing Club

by Paul Dean 1 Oct 2012 14:03 BST 23 September 2012

Sunday 23rd September saw 21 Merlin Rockets assemble at Wembley Sailing Club for the 2012 Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller Open Meeting sponsored by Craftinsure. It has been fifty years since Wembley Sailing Club (situated on the Welsh Harp Reservoir) hosted its first Silver Tiller Open and this particular event proved to be quite a memorable anniversary!

Race 1 began in a gusty F2 as the skies opened and the rain poured, which built up to F3 gusts that caught some out and caused a few capsizes! Dave Winder & Pippa Taylor made the early running opening up a lead from John Turner & Richard Parslow in second and this is how it remained to the finish with Matt Biggs & John Hackett finishing third.

Race 2 was away at the second attempt but now under black flag and Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor immediately led. The wind had died by now to a F1 and with the accompanying heavy showers it seemed unlikely that the forecast F3 with F6 gusts was going to materialise. The race for second was much closer with any one of Matt Biggs & John Hackett, Paul Hollis & Ben Hendon, Duncan & Harriet Salmon and John Turner & Richard Parslow being in contention the whole way round the course. Towards the end of the race and with the wind starting to build, Winder & Taylor consolidated their lead to take the win with Hollis & Hendon second, Biggs & Hackett third, Turner & Parslow fourth, and Duncan & Harriet Salmon finishing fifth.

During the gap to the start of the third race, the wind continued to increase and the fleet were now presented with a F3 gusting up to F6 and yet more rain. These conditions were going to cause even the very best to go for a swim and so it proved! Andy Davis & Tom Pygall revelling in the extreme conditions led all the way from just after the start. Matt Biggs & Ben Hendon were an early capsize casualty on lap 1, but then managed to recover and sail through the fleet to take a fine second place whilst avoiding the many capsized boats caught out by the sledgehammer like gusts. Jon Gorringe & Nicki Bass also enjoyed the trickier conditions to finish third. Jon Turner & Richard Parslow meanwhile had succumbed to a huge gust and wind shift at the gybe mark and wiped out at very high speed! Duncan & Harriet Salmon arriving shortly afterwards and finding Turner & Parslow capsized right in their path had nowhere to go and heroically pressed the capsize button in an effort to save both boats from destruction. Now with yet another boat joining the mix, a three way raft ensured some unfortunate rigging damage and three inevitable retirements. Elsewhere in the fleet a broken mast and a full on pitch pole were the casualties as the gusts became ever stronger right up until the final lap when a passing squall made it supremely difficult for those stalwart crews still sailing.

The fleet tired but in true Merlin rocket tradition – unbeaten - then retired to the clubhouse for a very welcome meal of hot chilli & potatoes followed by prize giving, with prizes generously donated by Rooster Sailing. Dave Winder & Pippa Taylor won overall honours from Matt Biggs and John Hackett second, Paul Hollis and Ben Hendon were third, Jon Turner & Richard Parslow finished fourth and retained the Century Cup trophy for the first helm and crew with a combined age of over 100 years old! Elsewhere, Alan & Alice Markham won the prize for the first boat over 10 years old.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3732David WinderPippa TaylorHollingworth Lakes11(DNF)2
2nd3722Matt BiggsJohn HackettBlithfield‑3325
3rd3730Paul HollisBen HendonBlithfield‑5246
4th3729John TurnerRichard ParslowLyme Regis24(DNF)6
5th3684Andy DavisTom PyghallBlithfield(DNF)718
6th3712Jon GorringeNicki BassParkstone YC(OCS)639
7th3740Pat BlakeJill BlakeCookham Reach4‑9610
8th3702Duncan SalmonHarriet SalmonWembley75(DNF)12
9th3643Tim HarridgeBug HarridgeHampton9‑11514
10th3658Chris JenninesNix Middleton‑StewartBurghfield68(DNF)14
11th3682Jon StewardHarry StewardWembley8‑15816
12th3651Colin BrockbankMatilda HewittWembley10‑12717
13th3594Alan MarkhamAlice MarkhamUpper Thames1110‑1221
14th3556Alex JonesMaria GrayCookham Reach‑1614923
15th3371Paul DeanRenata SapazinskaiteWembley13‑171124
16th3681Douglas MaxwellDavid EvansWembley15‑161025
17th3559Lawrence ToshJoe ToshUpper Thames1213(DNF)25
18th3502John GreenWilliam AndersonWembley1718(DNF)35
19th3535Julian BradleyThe Cyborg (Steve)Wembley14(DNF)DNF36
20th3606Mike StephensRichard MourantTamesis(DNF)DNSDNF44
20th3637Russell HallMarion ReadWembley(DNF)DNSDNF44

Related Articles

Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 17
Lymington famously delivers whatever the weather The Craftinsure Merlin Rocket non-flying Silver Tiller circus landed at Lymington Town Sailing Club over the weekend of the 7th-8th September. Posted on 10 Sep
Minima Yacht Club Annual Regatta 2019
A good turnout of 24 boats enjoy some classic river sailing A good turnout of 24 boats, including half a dozen visitors from nearby clubs enjoyed some classic river sailing at Kingston over a weekend with conditions varying from warm sunshine and light airs to lashing rain squalls. Posted on 3 Sep
Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 5
Another glamorous day on the water The penultimate day of the Aspire Merlin Rocket Championships saw another two races and was again a glamorous day on the water. Winds from the SW around 8-12 knots with five degree shifts under mainly sunny skies was the order of the day. Posted on 22 Aug
Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 4
Proving to be one the best events for many a year The Aspire Merlin Rocket Championships at Looe is proving to be one the best events your correspondent has attended for many a year. Posted on 21 Aug
Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 3
Can there be advantageous spinnaker rips? It was another sunny morning in Looe with the forecast for a force 3-4 from the South South West. Another glamorous day was in store and so it proved with the first race for the West Country Trophy followed by the main event of the week, the crew's race. Posted on 20 Aug
9th Classic Boat Revival preview
5 races over the 7-8 September in Chichester Harbour This year's Bosham Classic Boat Revival which will be held 7-8 September and hosted by Bosham SC. Last year, the CBR celebrated legendary boat designer Ian Proctor's centenary with over 90 boats participating, across 34 classes from 22 clubs. Posted on 20 Aug
Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 2
A superb day with sunshine and waves Looe turned on the style for the second day of the Aspire Merlin Rocket Championships. A force 3-5 from 240 deg with sunshine and waves meant that everyone in the fleet could enjoy a superb day on the water. Posted on 19 Aug
Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals at Looe day 1
Great sea sailing with a full social programme at a picturesque venue For their 2019 National Championships the Merlin Rocket's have returned to one of their most popular venues, picturesque Looe on the south Cornwall coast. Posted on 18 Aug
Fantastic diversity in 2019
At the Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals Nearly there. Prize glassware received and checked. Sponsors awards safely received and sorted. Social programme printed and published. Dinghy park pristine and ready for our 65 entrants. Race Management primped and preened ready for the fray. Posted on 14 Aug
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 16
'Real Sea Sailing' at Shoreham for the fleet The amazing circus that is the Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller Series turned up at Shoreham for some 'Real Sea Sailing' on the weekend of August 3rd and 4th. Posted on 6 Aug