Please select your home edition
Product Feature
McLube OneDrop Ball Bearing Conditioner - 7875
McLube OneDrop Ball Bearing Conditioner - 7875
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine

Full racing risks
New for old cover

Selden Merlin Rocket National Championship at Penzance - Day 1

by Tim Fells 14 Aug 2016 21:11 BST 14-19 August 2016

The first day of the Selden Merlin Rocket championships at Penzance dawned to wall to wall sunshine and a nice Easterly breeze. As the morning heated up, the breeze started to die and a pale imitation of a sea breeze started to emerge from the South.

The PRO, keen to get his first races under his belt, summoned the fleet to the bay. With the lightest of breezes established from 230 degrees, a practice race started at the fourth attempt and Pat and Jilly Blake rolled back the years to lead from start to finish.

The first championship race started at the first attempt with the fleet much better behaved under the U flag. The breeze had pulled 15 deg left, meaning those who started near the pin and managed to get onto port early were immediately in the driving seat. Stu Bithell and Tom Pygall made it to mark one in the lead from Caroline Croft and Bekka Jones.

The next three laps were pretty tortuous with reaches that were so tight as to be marginal three-sailers, beats that were full of holes, and a run which had to be sailed as two tight reaches to keep the boat moving.

Stu and Tom continued to stretch away, while Andy 'Taxi' Davis and Alex Warren climbed steadily towards the front. However, the race team still had some cards to play and determined, contrary to the sailing instructions, that the windward mark needed to be rounded to port on the final beat to the line. This resulted in a number of the leaders being advised, contrary to the rules of sailing, to turn around and go back down the course.

The finishing order, absent of outside assistance, was Stu and Tom, Taxi and Alex followed by Caroline and Bekka getting their first ever podium. Solo star Mike Simms with Richard Brown secured a strong fourth ahead of Jon Gorringe with Tobytastic Lewis and Nick Craig with Alan Roberts. 1st, 5th and 6th were all told to go back!

So, the clubhouse is currently seeing protest forms flying around like confetti and the protest team look like they will have a long and challenging night resolving what results, if any, should stand.

Update: Following a difficult day at the office, the race committee has abandoned race one which will now be scheduled to be re-sailed later in the week. Conditions for race two today look perfect with a building ESE and clear skies. Good enough to put a smile back on everyone's faces.

Related Articles

Merlins at Hampton
Vintage Merlin Open and Thames Series finale The Open was held in light winds and rain. After close racing in the first two races, it was all to play for in the final race with three boats each holding a first and second. Posted on 16 Oct
Merlin Rockets at Chew Valley Lake
Penultimate round of the Craftinsure Silver Tiller 2019 series The wind was forecast to be light, the rain was forecast to be wet, Sunday was forecast to be "unstable". Still, twenty Merlin Rockets gathered at the beautiful setting of Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club. Posted on 15 Oct
Merlin Rockets at Tamesis
Porteous Cup and Sondown Cup weekend The Merlin weekend is split into two events - the Vintage De May for the Porteous Cup on Saturday and the Sondown Cup on Sunday for allcomers. Posted on 10 Oct
One Design or Two?
David Henshall looks at control (and abuse) of hull shapes over the years Science fiction and the Terminator movies introduced us to the notion of shape shifting, but in the real life of the sailing dinghy world, how IS a shape defined? Posted on 9 Oct
Nautilus Merlin Rocket Inlands at Grafham Water
The swansong of summer greets the 42 boats The swansong of summer greeted the 42 Merlin Rockets who descended on Grafham Water for the Inland Championship, sponsored by Nautilus. Good breeze was promised blowing from the south east bringing with it continental warmth. Posted on 27 Sep
Merlin Rocket Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 18
Blue skies warm sun and zero wind to start at Upper Thames This one-day Silver Tiller Open started with blue skies warm sun and zero wind so even with the almost non-existent stream the start of the first race had to be delayed. Posted on 23 Sep
Hyde Sails Autumn Offer now live
Discounts available on race-winning One Design sails With the 2019 season nearing an end and people at the Southampton boat show trying to pick up those end of season bargains, you too must also be thinking about winterising the boat ready for your assault on the title of your favoured class next year. Posted on 21 Sep
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