Merlin Vintage and Open 9th & 10th October 2023
Published 9:04am on 12 Oct 2023
Hampton Sailing Club ran open meetings for the Merlin Rocket class over the weekend
Sailing was for the Vintage Wing on the Saturday and for the open Thames Series on the
Sunday. All weekend we were blessed with quite extraordinary warm sunshine T-shirt and shorts
weather with light winds.
Saturday kicked off with the 9 boat fleet launching after a short postponement into a light, largely
southwesterly breeze. Two races were held before lunch as the forecast had suggested the wind
would drop later in the day. The first lap of the windward leeward course was led by Phil Dalby and
Livvy Bell sailing Livvy's dad's boat, Grace. As the fleet spread out Rob and Hattie Cage in Hullaballoo
worked their way to the front, and stayed there to win, followed by Phil and Livvy, then Ollie
Houseman and Egle Tumosa.
After a quick turnround, the second race started on the same downriver/upriver course in maybe a
little more wind, though still a bit fitful. For this race, Rob and Hattie led from start to finish. There
was some place changing behind, with Richard Parslow and Simon Girven in Splatter slipping from 3 rd
to finish in 5 th again, with the same boats as before coming in 2 nd and 3 rd .
A cold buffet lunch followed with plenty of rehydration in the warm conditions. For the 3 rd race
there was a little more wind and a little more consistency in the southwesterly direction. Again, Rob
and Hattie led all the way round with Ollie and Egle in 2 nd place. Behind them, Richard and Simon
held 3 rd place for 3 laps before Phil and Livvy slipped through to finish 3 rd . Unsurprisingly the final
results were Rob and Hattie first, Ollie and Egle 2 nd and Phil and Livvy 3 rd . In 4 th overall was Stuart
Jenkins with daughter Imogen sailing Cindy.
My race was spoilt by a quite frightening collision with a rowing 8 which was doing a speed trial
through our reach of the river. We were hit by the rowers going at full tilt, resulting in our boat,
Shenandoah, being skewered by the bow of the 8 crashing through the hull planking and half way
through the centreboard case. Fortunately there were no serious injuries to either me or my
daughter Ellie nor to the young crew of the 8, but it took 2 rescue boats about 30 minutes to
separate the boats.
There was our usual evening social with the curry provided by a local takeaway and kindly organised
by Nicky Page.
On to the Sunday. The forecast was for extremely light winds all morning. This proved to be correct
and therefore racing was postponed to allow the wind to fill in. Hoping for it to happen, a couple
more visitors arrived from neighbouring Tamesis SC. At 12:10 we got afloat for a 12:15 start and as
we launched the wind appeared. It remained however much lighter and more fitful than Saturday,
sometimes enough to fill a spinnaker, sometimes not. Phil and Livvy made the best of the
conditions, finding the fingers of wind running down the river, and led the first race, with Stuart
Jenkins following them round, crewed by Nicola Scadden. There was quite a bit of place changing in
the fleet behind before Ollie and Egle worked their way through to 3 rd .
After a great lunch of meat or veg lasagne, we took to the water in just a little more breeze for race
2 which was led for 4 laps by Simon Girven with Richard Parslow crewing before Phil and Livvy got by
to take the win, with Joe McLaughlin and Sean Roberts finishing 3 rd . There was quite a game of
snakes and ladders behind with the fleet quite closely bunched and many place changes.
Race 3 followed after a very short break in just a little more wind though still somewhat changeable
in strength and direction. Rob and Hattie came through to win after being well down the fleet on
the first lap. Joe and Sean finished 2 nd after swapping places a couple of times with Phil and Livvy
who came 3 rd . There was excitement at the leeward mark in this race as Richard Page managed a
bizarre capsize. Gybing into the mark he crossed the boat and pulled on the mainsheet to find the
wind had completely disappeared and the boat tumbled over on top of him.
At the prizegiving Richard got a special mention and some goodies from our sponsors, Craftinsure,
who generously supplied prizes for the first 3 places on both days.
So concluded a weekend of warm sunshine in which somewhat against expectations, 3 races were
held on both days with enough wind to get us all round the course and keep us interested!
Last updated 8:39am on 4 December 2023