Please select your home edition
Sunsail 2018 January Leaderboard
Product Feature
Rooster Pro Aquafleece (available in Red or Black)
Rooster Pro Aquafleece (available in Red or Black)
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine

Full racing risks
New for old cover

Merlin Rockets at the Peelports Cumbraes Regatta Weekend

by Steve Watson & Andy Johnston 1 Sep 2013 08:15 BST 24-25 August 2013
Peelports Cumbraes Regatta Weekend © Marc Turner /

We ventured Forth to the Firth of Clyde, reforming Team Green, Steve Watson and ToBi Watson, for the event of the Peelports Cumbraes Regatta weekend. With a diverse mixture of dinghies, cats and yachts, the venue was the lovely Largs Yacht Haven opposite the island of Great Cumbrae. Four races were planned on the Saturday and around the Island race was on the menu for Sunday.

The Scottish Merlin fraternity were using the regatta as a Merlin event, with 5 boats present and a range of designs from an old Smokers Satisfaction through an NSM 4, wooden Canterbury Tales, Let it Ride and a Winder Tales mkIV. There were some boats now living in Scotland that I recognised. "Maid of Ply", no longer brown but a turquoise hue, had been modified by renowned local sailor John Reekie. The mainsheet hoop was out; replaced by centre main and aft traveller arrangement. Also "Gilt Complex" renamed "La Belle Electra", and "Shadowfax" still looking a rock solid Rowsell. MR handicaps were self reported for each boat - interesting!

Competing in the fast handicap fleet, consisting of Merlins, Albacore, Int 14, massive 18 foot skiff with a sale area bigger than Asda, and an assortment of other boats we took our turn in the start sequence. Force 1 to 3 winds, Team Green squeezed in at the committee boat end looking good, strategy well formed, wind shifts registered and frequency noted. The massive skiff cautiously held back, I guess confident that they might catch up! We went right. It was clear that local knowledge was important as John Reekie showed clear supremacy by rounding as first Merlin having gone left, well ahead of the rest of us trailing.

Interesting situation with the skiff at the top mark, hmm! What to do. ToBi, who had actually sailed this craft with helm Craig Hepplewhite suggested prudence about calling for room! Positions were not challenged in the Merlins in the sausage course and it was Reekie, Team Green and Brian Kelly setting the pace. The skiff took first place on the water!

The second race started in much the same way, Reekie and Kelly left side of the beat, both rounding ahead of Team Green. Hectic and close coverage over three laps saw Kelly take the lead down the last run on the windward outside causing Reekie to pull out the stops at the congested mark. Team Green failed to secure an inside overlap at the mark over Kelly but attempted maximum sneakiness down the last leg to the finish. Kelly maintained sufficient speed to take second place, but Reekie prevailed to win.

The third race saw a change in Team Green strategy and the race was Team Green snapping at the heels of Reekie throughout but no breakthrough. Strangely the tide seemed to be flowing the wrong way. Three wins to Reekie.

The fourth race was abandoned and we returned to shore to meet an Optimist full of free beer!

The Sunday race around the Cumbrae islands was not looking good with the early starting yachts looking very slow in virtually no wind. Correction: no wind. Strange for this part of the UK, when the east side was suffering from torrential rain. Sensibly, the Race Committee drew the weekend to close at lunchtime with a regretted abandonment. Team Green went back to the golf course; Tee green.

The Scottish Merlins return to battle at the Marineblast Regatta next weekend, with 6 boats confirmed and another 3 threatening to turn up. 2 new owners have boats for next year, and another 2 are waiting in the wings. The dinghy park was certainly a colourful and interesting place, with plenty of boat chat and admiration from other sailors. For more information visit the Scottish pages of the MR website.

Overall Fast Handicap Results:

1) MR 3525, John Reekie & Andrew Hooton
2) MR 3680, Steve Watson & ToBi Watson
3) Albacore, Richard Downie & Allan Downie
4) MR 3546, Brian Kelly & Lorna Drysburgh
5) 18ft skiff, Craig Hepplewhite, John & Catriona Annan

Related Articles

Vintage Merlin DeMay series at Fishers Green
Boats rescued from death row (garden planter, bonfire, council tip) With an ideal northerly wind direction, the home boats were joined by a disappointing number of visitors. The race team had no trouble setting a true beat the full length of the lake giving a 1.2 km upwind leg . Posted on 15 May
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 10
A great weekend for all at Starcross Yacht Club The forecast for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller at Starcross Yacht Club on 11/12 May looked promising for a great weekend's sailing with F3 NW'ly for Sat, but a lighter veering F2, round to SE'ly for the Sunday. Posted on 14 May
Stay Cosy with Huge Savings on Warm Jackets
We might be well into Spring but the forecast says otherwise! We might be well into Spring but the forecast says otherwise! Keep yourself warm and protected whilst out on the water or exploring on shore with a jacket from your favourite clothing brands, now at discounted prices. Posted on 11 May
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 9
The fleet visit Pwllheli over the early May Bank Holiday The weekend of the 4th – 6th May saw the Merlin Rocket fleet return to Pwllheli Sailing Club for a 3-day Craftinsure Silver Tiller event consisting of an eight race series. Posted on 8 May
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 8
A highly competitive fleet of 26 boats at Hayling Island Hayling Island Sailing Club played host to the 8th round of the 2019 Craftinsure Silver Tiller series over the weekend of 27/28 April. As the first sea category event of the year a highly competitive fleet of 26 boats entered the event. Posted on 30 Apr
Merlin Rockets at Salcombe
57 boats for Craftinsure Silver Tiller series event Salcombe estuary, 57 Merlins for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller, Easterly wind ranging from 2 to 25 knots and cold. Flat out reaching with the kite up then running to the leeward side of the boat and back again. It's a long way across a Merlin. Posted on 16 Apr
Salcombe Yacht Club Spring Series race 4
A very hectic weekend of dinghy racing over the weekend Salcombe Yacht Club had a very hectic weekend of dinghy racing over the weekend of the 13th and 14th May running both a sixty boat Salcombe Gin and Doom Bar sponsored Merlin Rocket Open Meeting and Club racing too. Posted on 15 Apr
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 6
Light winds on the lake at Edgbaston 28 Merlin Rockets gathered at Midland Sailing Club in Edgbaston for the sixth Craftinsure Silver Tiller of the year. The wind gods were not playing 'full force' with a light c.5 knots blowing left to right down the lake (East North Easterly). Posted on 8 Apr
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 5
27 keen rocketeers enjoy an exciting day at Bartley The forecast was saying 'green for go' on Sunday 31 March, and the recent warm weather teased out 27 keen rocketeers for an exciting day on the water at Bartley Sailing Club for round 5 of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller 2019. Posted on 2 Apr
Gul Hikers = Happy Crew
3mm Code Zero HikeJohn aids the hiking process As a traditional trapeze crew, changing from the Fireball to the Merlin Rocket (an out and out hiking boat) was quite a shock! Posted on 26 Mar