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

Tamesis Club Merlin Open
Sondown Cup, Southcott Cup, Elizabeth Bowl and Porteous Cup up for grabs Saturday 19th September was a busy day for the Merlin fleet with the Sondown Cup, Southcott Cup, Elizabeth Bowl and Porteous Cup up for grabs. Posted on 21 Sep
Merlin Rockets at Upper Thames
Including the Spade Oak Bowl trophy race Upper Thames Sailing Club was pleased to host a single day Merlin Rocket De May and Thames Series event on Saturday 12th September 2020. Posted on 16 Sep
Merlin Rockets at Bartley
Wind, sun, great courses and some great sailors Well when it was suggested to me that we ought to run a Merlin Rocket Open and the club were all for it, my first thoughts were what about the Covid situation? Then I thought ok we can put in place safeguards and we had a plan. Posted on 14 Sep
Merlin Rocket Downriver Race at Ranelagh
Putney Embankment to Chelsea Bridge Ranelagh Sailing Club was delighted to welcome 31 Merlin Rockets to Putney Embankment for a glorious race downriver to Chelsea Bridge and back on 6th September. The wind was light on arrival, but the sun shone. Posted on 8 Sep
Minima Annual Regatta
First club in this neck of the Thames to hold a regatta during COVID The turnout for Minima's 2020 Regatta was good with 22 sails, bearing in mind that many double-handers are off the water due to social distancing. Minima is the first club in this neck of the Thames to actually hold a regatta in the year of Covid-19. Posted on 7 Sep
Merlin Rockets at Lymington
The spirit of the Merlin Rocket Sailor - what the pandemic hasn't changed Back in January the Merlin Rocket class announced their Silver Tiller dates for 2020, Lymington Town Sailing Club, was set to host the class on 29th and 30th August, and they did just that. Posted on 2 Sep
Merlin Rocket Inaugural Itchenor Intergalactics
A four-day extravaganza for the class! On 8-11 August, Itchenor SC ran the inaugural Itchenor Intergalactics. The aim was to merge the best of Salcombe Merlin Week and the Nationals in one four-day extravaganza! Posted on 16 Aug
Merlin Rocket Inlands Cancelled
It's all about 2021 (says hoping!) Following the cancellation of the Aspire Merlin Rocket National Championships and the Craftinsure Silver Tiller, the Merlin Rocket Owners Association Committee today announces the cancellation of the only remaining Class organised event of 2020. Posted on 14 Aug
Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller 2020 announcement
Craftinsure Silver Tiller not to be awarded this year for the first time The Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller was first awarded in 1950, and for the first time in the history of the class, it's with great reluctance that the M.R.O.A. Committee has decided not to award the Craftinsure Silver Tiller in 2020. Posted on 3 Aug
Gregory's Ghost
David Henshall's search for a rare 1960s dinghy has a happy ending Hailing from the early 1960's, the Ghost was a stretched out development of designer Greg Gregory's race winning Cherubs that carried more than a touch of the southern hemisphere in the rig. Posted on 3 Jun