Please select your home edition
Craftinsure 2021 - LEADERBOARD
Product Feature
Harken 25mm Wire Shackle Block - 300
Harken 25mm Wire Shackle Block - 300

Merlin Rocket Sondown Cup and Elizabeth Bowl at Tamesis Club

by Peter Impey 25 May 20:51 BST 21 May 2023
Merlin Rocket Sondown Cup and Elizabeth Bowl at Tamesis © Christopher Wade

Thirteen Merlin Rockets turned out on Sunday 21 May at Tamesis Club for the Thames Series, sponsored by CraftInsure. Also, at stake on the day were the Sondown Cup and the Elizabeth Bowl.

While remaining a wonderful place to spend a sunny May weekend the Thames Series at Tamesis Club was not for the faint-hearted this year. The club hosted Merlin Opens on both Saturday and Sunday. Here is a racing report for the Sunday.

Restricted water and unpredictable gusts created challenging conditions. Combined with multiple other river users including the sea scouts, rowers, paddle boarders, pleasure boats, canoeists, tourist steamers (and the occasional swimmer!) the stakes were high.

Given the conditions this year we certainly didn't need Chris Simon, the on-water Rule 42 judge, to whistle up any more wind and neither did he have to blow his whistle for any infringements.

Indeed, with local boat War Horse throwing the riders and already capsized before the start of the first race, competitors knew considerable concentration was required.

Accordingly, everyone concentrated hard to hit line with speed at the gun. However, enthusiasm trumped concentration and in a downstream start with gusts powering up their mains much of the fleet were over the line.

Out came the Black Flag.

This allowed time for the waterlogged War Horse to drain and recover to make the new sequence on time. An orderly start at the second attempt!

Being a full open meeting two wide boats were racing for honours. During the race tricky gusts took their toll with several further capsizes, much broaching and an unfortunate melee of collisions. It proved to be exciting racing for the competitors as well as for the considerable crowd of spectators.

The second race was a calmer affair but important for the positions. Following a DNF in race one Andy Harris and Matty Key in 607 Crescendo pulled out a win, beating brother Richard into second, Luka third.

In the last race, after a hearty lunch, it was again all to play for. Another Black flag start after a general recall. Once away the race turned out to be once again a family battle between Richard and Andy Harris. After the first rounding and on the first long run upriver nearly all the boats were line abreast. Their choice of the wall put both Passing Cloud and Crescendo out of the stronger central stream of the river.

Sister Sara Warren had jumped ship from Crescendo after an overall win on Saturday and was now sailing on Passing Cloud. Maybe the difference was down to her crewing as Richard, in Passing Cloud, inexorably eked out a convincing lead. A second win of the day was enough to claim both the Sondown Cup and the Elizabeth Bowl, for the second year in a row.

In the open series, second place went to Andy Harris crewed by Matty Key and third place to Ollie Houseman and Egle Tumosa.

Once again, the football Premiership table was finalised this weekend. This time without even requiring Manchester City to play to put the points difference to rest. That's five titles in six years and three in a row for Pep Guardiola. We may yet see the same dominance of the various sailing cups.

For readers unfamiliar with Tamesis it is a beautiful oasis of tranquillity in west London. Very picturesque with winds that are predominantly light as the water is not wide or open. The Thames on this stretch is nestled between residential houses, park trees and some larger buildings upstream on the Surrey (Eastern) side. The windy conditions seen in the event were tricky because of the 'helicopter' gusts that flatten down from above in every direction. Long experience pays dividends racing at Tammy.

The club aims welcome guests warmly and the hospitality at this event was second to none. The on-the-water competitive spirits were somewhat elevated by the testing conditions. The club, yet again, excelled in very positively marketing itself as a challenging and interesting place to race.

Overall, a great weekend of sailing beautiful boats with intense racing. You had to see it to believe it, get involved. Many thanks to all those at Tamesis for hosting the event.

The next Thames Series event is at Upper Thames on 17th September 2023.

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3
1stPassing Cloud1079Richard HarrisSara WarrenTamesis1‑21
2ndCrescendo607Andrew HarrisMatty KeyTamesis(DNF)12
3rdLuka3560Ollie HousemanEgle TumosaChew Valley2‑33
4thKeyser Soze3864Tom LowEd LowTamesis3‑55
5thMasquerade995Matthew Peregrine JonesLyra WadeTamesis‑544
6thAndromeda3259Charlie MorganTim GinnTamesis46(DNF)
7thAvenger1004Ken DuffellJoe WoodsTamesis68(DNS)
8thIndecision3677Timothy BarrChris MartinTamesis77(BFD)
9thShoestring1136Peter JohnsonPaul JamiesonTamesis9‑107
10thSaltarello1602John AdamsRos Warwick‑HallerTamesis89(DNS)
11thWar Horse1939Peter ImpeyPaul NebelTamesis(DNF)DNS6
12thBambusa847Peter MasonRichard MasonTamesis(DNF)DNSDNS
12thHullabaloo1692Rob CageSarah WhiteThames SC(DNF)DNSDNS

Related Articles

Merlin Rocket Women's Championships
18 teams entered, with less than half having blokes to crew Lymington Town Sailing Club hosted the inaugural Merlin Rocket Ladies Championships weekend on the 20th and 21st May 2023. 14 boats turned up for the Saturday training lead by Tim Saxton and supported by Mike Calvert and James Goss. Posted on 27 May
Vintage Merlin Rockets at Tamesis
North-east wind direction always keeps the racers on their toes Merlin Rockets turned out on Saturday 20 May at Tamesis Club for the Porteous Cup and Southcott Cup. Also, at stake on the day were points in the de May Series, sponsored by CraftInsure. Posted on 25 May
Festival Of The Sea preview
Shoreham SC and Sussex YC to host variety of racing fun this June This is a joint Open Event organised by Shoreham Sailing Club & Sussex Yacht Club taking place on the weekend of Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th June, 2023. Racing is organised for both keelboats and dinghies, west of Shoreham Harbour. Posted on 22 May
Merlin Rockets at Brightlingsea
Can artificial intelligence like ChatGPT be used to write race reports? Having earned the honour to write the report for this event we investigated the options to make this a quick process. Surely ChatGPT can come to our rescue. Here's goes... Posted on 19 May
Vintage Merlin Rockets at Fishers Green
A right royal dust up on the Coronation weekend On the weekend of the Coronation, Fishers Green SC held its annual vintage Merlin Rocket open to see who would be crowned King or Queen of the green. The nine strong home fleet were joined by three visitors for a right royal dust up. Posted on 12 May
Merlin Rocket Allen SE Series at Fishers Green
19 boats decided to check out the little gem of a sailing club Fishers Green SC hosted Round 2 of the Merlin Rocket Allen South East Series on 7th May 2023. 19 boats decided to check out the little gem of a sailing club nested in the heart of the leafy lea valley park. Posted on 10 May
Merlin Rocket De May Vintage & Thames Series
Thames SC & Minima YC host a fleet both narrow and wide Merlin Rocket Vintage & Thames Series open meetings were held at Thames Sailing Club 29th April 2023 and Minima Sailing Club on 30th April 2023. The De May and Thames Series are sponsored by Craftinsure. Posted on 5 May
Merlin Rocket Women's Championships preview
Entries open for weekend of training and racing at Lymington Town Join fellow female sailors on the 20th and 21st May for the first Merlin Rocket Women's specific training and racing at Lymington Town Sailing Club. The aim of the weekend is to provide an environment for our female sailors to build their confidence. Posted on 30 Apr
Merlin Rocket South West Series at Salcombe
28 teams for a typically sunny estuary sail The Merlin Rocket fleet were welcomed on Saturday 15th April morning to yet another perfectly sunny day in Salcombe for the South West Series spring open - they only seem to serve one type of weather in this perfect corner of Devon. Posted on 17 Apr
Les Fry Bowl and Easter Cup at Fishers Green
It was a day of firsts: the club's first general recall of the year A busy start to spring at Fishers Green Sailing Club, with two weekends of competitive club racing and some even more competitive egg and spoon racing. Sunday 2nd April saw the first club championship race of the year, the Les Fry Bowl. Posted on 11 Apr