Sail Chat: Merlin Rocket Open Weekend 14/15.10.2017

Hampton Sailing Club Merlin Rocket Open Weekend

Over the weekend of 14th and 15th October 2017 Hampton Sailing Club hosted their
annual Merlin Rocket Open Weekend on the River Thames near Hampton Court.
Visitors from Hunts SC, Upper Thames SC, Queen Mary Reservoir SC, Goring SC &
Maidenhead SC bolstered the home fleet.

Saturday saw twelve (12) Vintage Merlin Rockets compete in the last event of the
season in the De May Series. The De May series is a National Merlin Event for boats
and designs over thirty years old. This series is run with a handicap system for
evenly matched racing.

The competitors and visitors were given a traditional warm welcome from Hampton
Sailing Club. The welcome was topped off with a 5 – 8 knot breeze from the SW
supported by tea and bacon rolls as crews completed their entry forms.

It was good to see Mike Liggett from Hunts SC venture back to Hampton after many
years away. He was a member of Hampton in 1957 where he learnt to sail Cadets
and Merlins. Sophie Peerless (13 years old) sailed in a Merlin for the first time and was
introduced to the joy of sailing spinnaker dinghies.

Race 1
From the start racing was fierce. With boats changing positions constantly. After lap
one, four boats broke free of the pack. These four, John & Olivia Bell in 1201, Simon
Girven & Claudia Wheeler in 1631; Hywel Perkins & Lucy Penwarden in 3347 and
Stuart Jenkins & Sophie Peerless in 3560, continued to have close racing right up to
the finish. John & Olivia took 1st place with Stuart & Sophie 2nd, Simon & Claudia 3rd
& Hywel & Lucy 4th.

Race 2
Martin Hunter and Phil Dalby and their respective crews joined the fleet for the
second race. Phil Dalby & Susannah Bell in 1761 took an early lead chased by the
rest of the fleet. Four boats broke away from the fleet once more. This time it was
Phil & Susannah, John & Olivia, Martin & Margaretha and Stuart & Sophie. Amongst
these four racing was close which resulted in a dispute between Martin & Phil over
water around a mark and a protest which saw Phil retire from the race. The final
positions were John & Olivia 1st , Martin & Margaretha 2nd , Stuart & Sophie 3rd , Hywel
& Lucy 4 th.

Race 3
John & Olivia had already won the event but clearly intended to make it a clean
sweep. The first two laps saw a number of different helms in the top three positions
but once more four boats battled it out for the majority of the race with John & Olivia
1st , Martin & Margaretha 2nd , Stuart & Sophie 3rd & Phil & Susannah 4th.

Overall Vintage Results
1st 1201 Grand Teton – John & Olivia Bell
2nd  774 Quiver – Martin Hunter & Margaretha Herman
3rd  3560 Luka – Stuart Jenkins & Sophie Peerless
4th  3347 Elusive – Hywel Bowen-Perkins & Lucy Penwarden.

De May Vintage Series 2017 Results
Ben Marshall who jointly organises the Vintage De May Series with Mervyn Allen
announced the prize winners for the De May Series 2017.

De May Trophy
1st 774 Martin Hunter & Margaretha Herman Upper Thames SC
2nd 1596/1939 Sel Shah & Ben Marshall Thames SC
3rd 2040 Richard & Alex Pausey Upper Thames SC
4th 578/3560 Stuart Jenkins & Nicola Scaddan Hampton SC
5th 1939 Jon Cowper & Mike Liggett Hunts SC

Octagon Trophy – presented to the Vintage Wing by Hampton SC for the 1 st Vintage
Merlin over the line prior to handicap adjustment
1st 774 Martin Hunter & Margaretha Herman Upper Thames SC

Individual awards
Best Newcomer – 235/1136 – Tim Metcalfe Tamesis SC
Boat in Most Original Condition – 1066 Tim Bury Banbury SC
After the Prize Giving John Bell thanked John Hollands (Race Officer) and his Team
of safety boat crews, bar staff and caterers for an excellent days racing.
Saturday night saw forty competitors and members sit down for a Club Merlin Curry
organised by Nicky Page. The beer flowed until the sailors moved on to the
traditional ‘Dark & Stormy’ rounds which finished late into the evening! A very well
organised and enjoyable evening was had by all.

Sunday saw seventeen (17) Merlins take to the water. The breeze continued to blow
from SW with a slight increase in strength to between 8 and 12 knots. Perfect
conditions for Merlin sailing on the river. Topped up with bacon rolls and tea
competitors prepared their boats for the racing.

Sail numbers ranged from 578 (1955 Martine Holt Design) to 3690 (Winder
Canterbury Tales Design).

Racing was very close with positions changing regularly. The top four helms & crews
constantly moved between 1st and 4th throughout all three races. At the start of the
third race any of the first four crews could have won the meeting, but it was John &
Olivia Bell how won the final race and the open.

Race Results:
Race 1
Martin & Margaretha 1st , John & Olivia 2nd , Stuart & Sophie 3rd, Phil & Susannah 4th,
Richard & Mark 5th
Race 2
Phil & Susannah 1st , John & Olivia 2nd , Stuart & Sophie 3rd, Martin & Margaretha 4th,
Richard & Mark 5th
Race 3
John & Olivia 1st , Phil & Susannah 2nd , Martin & Margaretha 3rd, 4th Jeremy & Mike,
Stuart & Sophie 5th

Overall Results
1st 1201 Grand Teton – John & Olivia Bell
2nd  1761 Onions – Philip Dalby & Suzannah Bell
3rd 774 Quiver – Martin Hunter & Margaretha Herman
4th 3560 Luka – Stuart Jenkins & Sophie Peerless
5th 1631 Splatter – Richard Parslow & Mark Sanken

Individual Awards
Flynn Bowen-Perkins (7 years) – Youngest Competitor
After the Prize Giving John Bell (Commodore HSC) thanked Jane Chambers (Race
Officer) and her Team of safety boat crews, bar staff and caterers for another
excellent days racing.

James Warren
HSC Merlin Rep

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