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Classic & Vintage Merlin Open at Banbury Sailing Club

by Stuart Jenkins 24 Jun 12:26 BST 22 June 2024
Vintage and Classic Merlin Rockets at Banbury © Banbury Sailing Club

On Saturday 15th June 2024 despite the forecast of heaving rain and strong winds three Merlins braved the conditions to attend Banbury Sailing Club's Annual Vintage and Classic Merlin Event which is also part of the Classic Vintage Racing Dinghy Association (CVRDA) circuit. Racing with the Merlins were a suitability aged Wayfarer, Albacore, International Moth and Mirror Dinghy.

The format for the day was two races back-to-back with a third after lunch weather permitting! The race officer set a course which used the entire length of the lake with good long runs allowing the Merlins to get the best out of their spinnakers.

The first race saw Peter and Tim Male in 3547 Moondance Assassin getting away well from the line to take the lead chased by Stuart Jenkins & Nicola Scaddan in 3054 After Myth and Richard Burton & Nicky Burton-Moore in 2037 Lady Hyperion. These positions remained unchanged for the entire race.

By the start of the second race the wind had increased but was still very comfortable for the mature craft. Peter and Tim (3547) pulled out a good lead again closely chased by Stuart and Nicola (3054) and Richard and Nicky (2037). Towards the end of the race the wind increased considerably with big gusts and squalls crossing the lake. The long beat turned into a fast-planing reach as the wind swung ninety degrees. A massive gust at the southern end of the lake caused the Moth, the Mirror and Merlin 3054 to all capsize. The Albacore retired but Merlins 3547 and 2037 were still upright along with the Wayfarer. 3547 crossed the finish line first. With only 20 metres to the finish another big gust crossed the lake capsizing 2037, a narrow Mark 9b design merlin. 3054 a Smokers Satisfaction design merlin had now been righted and the water sailed out. This was 3054 chance to beat 2037 to the line, but another immense gust 3054 was over again. With the crew of 2037 struggling to right the boat, 3054 was quickly righted and the water planed out. Sadly, the safety boat had to assist the recovery of 2037 leaving 3054 to take second place in race two.

Once ashore the Banbury Race and Support Team produced a magnificent lunch for all the competitors, but with no takers for race three the rest of racing was abandoned because of the extreme conditions.

At the prize-giving a special award was presented to Nicky Burton-Moore (sailing 2037) awarded a prize for 1st junior and 1st ever capsize.

Thank you to Banbury Sailing Club for a fabulous day. The next Classic and Vintage event is at Shustoke Sailing Club on 1st September.

Classic Merlin
1st 3547 Moondance Assassin, Peter and Tim Male

Vintage Merlin
1st 3054 After Myth, Stuart Jenkins & Nicolas Scaddan
2nd 2037 Lady Hyperion, Richard Burton & Nicky Burton-Moore

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