Please select your home edition
Reverso Air 2021 LEADERBOARD

The Missing Foils?

by Richard Burton 1 Apr 07:15 BST
Foils for a 1967 Chippendale Merlin Rocket © Richard Burton

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!".

This allows all boats over 30 years old a bit more freedom to upgrade and as a 'bounce back' incentive after months of not sailing. So this effectively means the hull minimum weight is removed and skippers can use whatever means they like to make the boats quicker, for most this means twin trapezes, racks, electronics and for some a giant masthead asymmetrical spinnaker and foils.

Imagine my delight, when I saw a set of foils on eBay three weeks ago that looked just right, £53.80 Buy it Now, Last One! "An item which is new, unopened and unused". "Would suit Scorpion, 505, Cadet, Enterprise or similar." I read the description lower down which explained that it was a lost package and the shipping company had closed down, and he was doing the creditors a favour by selling the items left in the warehouse. So I guess he didn't know the real value of them and was just trying to make a bit of extra cash on the side. He also emailed me to say there was another box that goes with it but is en-route from New Zealand.

The foils arrived in a large packing case last week (and although the shipping labels were torn off or illegible, I could just about make out the description on the customs declaration, "Ben's top secret Lucky 74.9K .. EOS Foils - do not open until the Cup" - Not sure what EOS stands for? Ben's lucky End of Season foils? Mmm can't think of any Oppy sailors called Ben past or present either. I also noticed a small shipping forwarders stamp with an address in Palermo, Italy, so perhaps it was Brexit delays that stopped it getting to its destination on time.

We did a fairly rudimentary installation of the new foils with a sort of joystick which pivots on the centreboard bolt and tried them out on Tuesday in pleasant SW breeze at Draycote. (According to the latest email, the full hydraulic technical package is delayed on a container ship somewhere in Egypt after an emphatic luff by the captain went a bit wrong!) Once we're under way I glance over at the crew and notice something has changed about him since we were last out, but I'm not quite sure what it is. We bear away on to a reach and he talks in to the boom mike he now has on his helmet, "5.5 knots. Rotate", in an understated clipped monotone voice, before pulling down his visor, and as he glances over at me I notice, he now has "Flight Director" printed across the top; we could be in for a bumpy ride... Also, he now wears a skin tight light grey suit and orange grand prix style trainers rather than the gardening wellies before lockdown. He says he's been doing that Joe Wickes thing every day - whilst I've upped my game by walking the dog to the paper shop and back every Sunday morning!

Of course when the full technical package arrives I won't really need him any more, I'll just have an app on my phone, and run round the back of the main from time to time!

April Foiled?

Related Articles

Merlin Rockets at Starcross
22 boats turn out for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 3 The Merlin Rocket sailors arrived at Starcross to a friendly welcome and light SE winds carrying the delectable smell of bacon butties throughout the dinghy park for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller on 19th and 20th June. Posted on 23 Jun
Merlin Rockets at Minima
Craftinsure De May Vintage & Thames Series event The Minima De May and Thames Series open meeting took place on one of the hottest days of the year so far, with a very light and shifting breeze. Posted on 16 Jun
Merlin Rockets at Grafham Water
A beautifully sunny weekend for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 2 Grafham Water SC welcomed 24 Merlin Rockets for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller event on the 12th and 13th of June. A beautifully sunny weekend delivered a great day of racing on the Saturday with wind varying from 5 to 12 knots throughout the day. Posted on 15 Jun
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