Please select your home edition
Edition
Gul 2020 LEADERBOARD

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 / www.pfmpictures.co.uk

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

Merlin Rockets at Whitstable
23 boats enjoy sunshine for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 1 The weekend of the 5th and 6th June saw 23 Merlin Rockets descend on Whitstable Yacht Club for a glorious weekend in the sunshine for the first Craftinsure Silver Tiller of 2021. Posted on 8 Jun
Merlin Rockets at Medley
First Race to the Trout Inn The Merlin Rocket De May Vintage & Thames Series made its first visit to the picturesque Medley Sailing Club, perched on the banks of the River Thames above Oxford. Posted on 18 May
Merlins at Parkstone
A fresh to frightening south-westerly forecast Parkstone Yacht Club welcomed the Merlin Rocket Class for an open meeting on Sunday 16th May 2021. The forecast was a fresh to frightening south-westerly with frequent rain showers to wash the salt out of our eyes. Posted on 18 May
Bartley Merlin Rocket Open
First event in the Midland Circuit 2021 A heavy wind was forecast for the Bartley SC Open meeting on Sunday 9th May, the first event in the Midland Circuit 2021. The duty officer Steve Ward and Fleet Captain Mark Reddington stood strong and ran back-to-back races before and after lunch. Posted on 13 May
Getting set for Poole Week 2021
Having had to take a year out, Poole Week is back this August! Sponsored by Bournemouth Digital, Poole Week is one of the country's most popular sailing weeks for dinghies and small keelboats, offering friendly yet competitive racing, great social events and much more. Posted on 6 May
Merlins at Ranelagh
The first event in the 2021 Thames Series Far outweighing the joy of the long awaited ending of lockdown, and the re-opening of pubs was the thrill and anticipation of the first Ranelagh Sailing Club Merlin Rocket open meeting of the year. Posted on 30 Apr
Merlins renew sponsorship deal with Craftinsure
Long-standing support as Silver Tiller series title sponsor The Merlin Rocket Owners' Association is delighted to announce the continued support from Cratinsure, as it prepares for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller 2021. Posted on 25 Apr
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Open
A very healthy fleet of 32 teams on an insanely beautiful spring day Salcombe Yacht Club, despite the privations of the recent past, has been lucky to host the Merlin Fleet as one of the last official events of 2020 and for SYC, the first permitted in 2021. Posted on 20 Apr
Vintage Merlin Rockets at Fishers Green
13 boats of 7 different designs take part After some deliberation whether to hold the De May vintage Merlin open, the decision was to go for it, offering the use of an outside toilet (no clubhouse access permitted) plus a very pretty venue. Posted on 13 Apr
The Missing Foils?
Development continues on 1967 Chippendale Merlin Rocket I've been thinking about fitting foils to my 1967 Chippendale Merlin Rocket for some time since the class changed the rules in a bold initiative last year called "Levelling Up - Let the Development Continue!". Posted on 1 Apr