Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resources 2019 - Leaderboard

Fantastic diversity for the Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals 2019

by Ian Mackenzie 14 Aug 13:22 BST 17-23 August 2019
Andrea Brewster & Charlotte Fildes in Rockatross © MROA

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.

We've already looked at the hot favourites in an earlier item, the hopeful few and the new, young bloods but a quick look at the registered entries also shows the fleet in a good light; 27 Gold Fleet hot shots, 18 Silver Fleet hopefuls and 20 Bronze Fleet to keep Gold and Silver on their toes.

But what can we see behind that? Not least that in 27 of our boats we will have at least one lady aboard. Two of them with all-lady teams and 5, yes 5, lady helms. Ten of our boats will be raced with husband and wife partnerships but honourable mention must go to Phil Emery who will be crewed by grand-daughter Phoebe. Fantastic. If that's not enough, Emma Robertson (one half of our NSSA team for this year) is under 18. Ably assisted by her crew Carl Weighill, also under 18. The Weighill family are supporting us even more, elder brother Liam will be jumping into the front of Richard Bramley's steed - hope you both have fun.

But it doesn't end there in terms of family involvement, another 10 of our boats will sport father/son or father/daughter combinations. This is what the Merlin was designed for, 73 years young and still at the forefront of challenging, technical, rewarding dinghy performance for all.

So, an old boat, an "old man's boat". Well, there's nothing wrong with that is there? 26 of our helms will be north of 50, 6 laudably over 65 and 3 honourable veterans of 70 plus. There's life in the old dogs yet. Just wait for the fancy dress. But hang on, what about the other end of the scale? 39 of our helms are south of 50; 7 under 25 and 3 under 21. So, strong competition for the Anniversary Trophy. If that youth element wasn't enough; 18 of our crews are under 25, 12 under 21 and 8 under 18. So, even more competition for the Grafham Goblet.

So much for the competitors, what about their mounts? We will have the latest offerings from Dave Winder and Jon Turner on show plus of course left-field and the welcome radical approach of John Fildes' Rockatross. For this occasion piloted by Andrea Brewster, ably assisted by John's wife, Charlotte. So, new boats rule do they? Well, I don't think Andy and Pippa in Keyser Soze (13 years young), Caroline Croft in The Oldie (also 13), Chris Jennings in Bernard (14) and Mike and Jane Calvert in Quick Fix (12) will regard themselves as anything less than fully competitive. Plus, we also have 7, yes 7, boats qualifying for the "Old Boat's Trophy" for the 20 plus vintage machines.

Two of the older boats will be in the hands of our Magic Marine and TMS sponsored entries. Ben Pickering and Nathan King will be driving "Class Boat" 3582, fresh from practice at Bass Week and sportingly pitched into Silver Fleet - one to watch with interest, whilst our NSSA sailors (Emma and Carl) will be piloting a fully fettled, one-strung, pole-launcher "Light Fantastic" and will be aiming to give Bronze Fleet a fright.

So, where does that leave us? Top to bottom, front to back, left to right, young or "old" - it's going to be a full on week. And that's without the socials! Thank you to our headline sponsors, Aspire Financial Advisers, and to our hosts, Looe Sailing Club. Would you like to be part of this? We can still squeeze you in for this year if you call quick or do start planning for 2020 in Tenby and 2021 in North Berwick. See you there?

Related Articles

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
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
What's the formula at Salcombe Gin Merlin Week?
Unique in the dinghy sailing calendar and wildly successful Salcombe Gin Merlin Week is unique in the dinghy sailing calendar and wildly successful with it. Capped at 120 boats, the event is always over-subscribed with in excess of 180 teams applying for a place. Posted on 17 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week overall
Richard Whitworth and Jemima Scroggie keep their cool to win The final day brought further wall-to-wall sunshine with a North-Westerly force 2-3. On countback, Richard and Jemima's three bullets makes them champions without having to sail the last race. Posted on 12 Jul
Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Week day 5
Second bullet for Taxi and Pippa but is it too late? Light cloud cover with the prospect of sun and a light SW breeze greeted the competitors on the penultimate day of the Salcombe Gin Merlin Week. Posted on 11 Jul