Please select your home edition
Edition
Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90

Merlin Rocket Open at Ranelagh Sailing Club

by Fran Gifford 30 Apr 06:33 BST 25 April 2021

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, which also happened to be the first event in the 2021 Thames Series and the second in the vintage de May series.

Twenty two merlins assembled on Putney Embankment with 12 twelve visitors from as far afield as Salcombe, Draycote Water and neighbouring clubs on the Thames. The sun didn't appear until we'd all launched without sun cream but the wind piped up from blustery to very blustery just as we all hoisted our sails.

This was a traditional upriver Ranelagh race, on the last of the extremely strong flood tide. This involves the usual Ranelagh tactic of launching as far from the start line as possible and staying as far away from it as possible for as long as possible. This was achieved by all with absolutely no possible need for any recall flags.

As usual for the Thames, there were boats of all ages, including the wonderful Kate (no.1) and the slightly less old but equally beautiful Diablo (214), looking stunning having benefitted from some professional lockdown loving. Number 654 emerged from the Ranelagh shed for the first time since who knows when, and there were wide plastic boats and everything in between. 654 has written a separate report of her day out of the shed... it didn't end well.

Martin Hunter and Tim Williams set the bar high taking an early lead at the first buoy located on the Barnes side of the river opposite the Crabtree pub. Others in the mix were John and Livvy Bell in Grand Teton (1201), Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts in Sublime (3724), and Mark Waterhouse and Arthur Henderson in Puff (3641). Jack Norton and Gretel Scott were sailing a stormer in their almost first attempt at Merlin sailing in club boat Moderation (2979) racing for a podium position until a fruity gust hit mid-tack causing a major fill-up on the penultimate lap. Turning into the strong tide the front bunch compressed and short tacked the way up the Putney shore. The gusty East-North-Easterly presenting an extraordinary challenge to be on a making tack at any time.

The second mark saw the front bunch wait in the tide for what looked from behind like an extremely long time, providing entertainment for the genuinely large crowd watching from the Embankment. Sometime around this point (or possibly the following lap) John and Livvy appeared to pull clear and managed to stay ahead for the remainder of the three lap race, despite challenges of multiple varieties. Never is a bell more welcome than the finish bell of a Ranelagh race.

Duncan and Harriet Salmon in Salmon en Croute, having spent the first two laps tying and re-tying their spinnaker sheets, downhaul and halyard, finally managed to fly it in an almost correct configuration and somehow pulled through to second. Third was taken by Sean and Joe in Sublime.

Further back Jack and Gretel's misfortune allowed Kate, sailed by Frances Gifford and Alex Warren, to take the much coveted but unrewarded title of first Ranelagh boat, contested by an exceptional ten home boats. The very welcome and well travelled Burton family (2037 and 3482) from Draycote and Medley Sailing Clubs had a strange but true simultaneous but entirely separate explosion of rudders, and Andrew and Ellie Mills' rudder pintle ripped off in sympathy.

Once ashore the usual conviviality of beers and free chilli and rice followed by brownies took place on the embankment, served in the Covid-free shed. This was of course followed by an elbow bumping prize-giving, and the presentation of the wonderful trophy first awarded in 1946 to John and Livvy Bell.

Another chaotic day at Ranelagh Sailing Club was definitely enjoyed by everyone. Join us again on Saturday July 17th for our downriver open, into London under the bridges. Not to be missed.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1Pts
1st1201John BellLivvy BellHampton SC11
2nd3702Duncan SalmonHarriet SalmonWembley22
3rd3724Joe McLaughlinSean RobertsTamesis33
4th3054Martin HunterTim WilliamsUpper Thames44
5th1097Stuart JenkinImogen JenkinHampton SC55
6th3641Mark WaterhouseArthur HendersonSalcombe66
7th3560Ollie HousemanPete ImpeyTamesis77
8th1Fran GiffordAlex WarrenRSC88
9th3341John HeathNicola ScaddanHampton SC99
10th3592Martin WollnyPaula WollnyRSC1010
11th2979Jack NortonGretel ScottRSC1111
12th2444Thomas StolperAnton StolperRSC1212
13th1596Sel ShahJemma HorwoodThames1313
14th214Guillaume MouscadetCelian Le MaignenRSC1414
15th3510Adil KhanAnsa KhanRSC1515
16th2744Alex HamiltonJohn BangueRSC1616
17th1633Matt BrienNicki KovacsRSCRET23
17th2037Richard BurtonMiles PhilipsMedleyRET23
17th654Brian ClarkeWill NoyRSCRET23
17th3061Nick LongDominic CoderaRSCDNS23
17th3088Andrew MillsEllie MillsHampton SCRET23
17th3482Peter BurtonPatrick BurtonDraycoteRET23

Related Articles

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 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