On the (very sunny) weekend of 16th - 17th July, a small but very dedicated group of Merlin Rocket teams headed down to Mumbles Yacht Club on the beautiful Gower Peninsular in South Wales for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller. It’s pretty rare to go to new venue, so we were all very excited to see a new place and sail on a new stretch of water.
Saturday afternoon greeted us with beaming warm sunshine and not so much breeze, but some lovely fluffy cumulus building over the land, which did thankfully bring a lovely stable sea breeze. Three races were run by the fabulous race team, and the course was kept quite small to keep the small fleet together. Despite the low turnout, racing was very close, and regular place changing happened throughout all of the races. In the first race, Andy ‘Taxi’ Davis and Pip Kilsby took the bullet, closely followed by Ian Sharps & Alex Warren and Ian Dobson & Lottie Fildes in third. However, the first two were a little eager pulling the trigger and Ian & Lottie took the win, having spotted the individual recall flag and gone back at the start, with Dave Hayes & Will Crocker in 2nd and Carl & Sam Whitehill in 3rd.
Race two had a slight increase in wind strength, and the same brilliant tight racing. Ian & Lottie took line honours from Ian & Alex, with Taxi & Pip in 3rd.
A lovely stable 8-10 knots built for race 3, and again the top 4 were really pushing each other throughout the course. Ian & Lottie had a good battle with Taxi & Pip and the lead changed several times throughout. Ian & Lottie showed some pretty snazzy team racing manoeuvres at the bottom of the last downwind, and took the bullet. Three bullets for the Rockatross Team had them looking pretty strong overnight.
Now, I have to say, Mumbles is one of the best places I have been to in years. Beautiful coastline, great town, beautiful beaches, good coffee & ice cream, loads of fantastic eateries, easy to get to, and a promenade all the way around the bay from Swansea. The locals are fun and really welcoming, and invited us to join an (outdoor COVID friendly) party on the sailing club roof terrace on Saturday evening. What a fantastic night. There was live music by a modern day ‘Nick The Fish’ who played great tunes with a loop pedal and a guitar and had people dancing (socially distanced) on tables. Who needs Cafe Mambo when you’ve got Cafe Mumbles?
Sunday morning arrived with amazing sunshine and blistering heat. The 11.30 scheduled start time allowed families to pack in a beach morning and some sailors to enjoy a beautiful bike ride before they launched. The PRO was keen for us to get on the water, and there was some more lovely fluffy cumulus building over the land. However, the sea breeze was not to be today, so we all enjoyed a really lovely swim from the boats with coach Sharps giving some open water swimming tips. There was even reports of a pod of dolphins.
So the non-sailing on Sunday made Ian Dobson & Lottie Fildes victorious in Rockatross (with a 1, 1, 1), Dave Hayes and Will Crocker in 2nd and Andy Davis and Pippa Kilsby in 3rd.
I literally can’t tell you how great Mumbles was - I really hope that they welcome the Merlin Rockets back again soon, with some more numbers, as they had put an awful lot of effort into running a great event in a fantastic location. I’m afraid those who didn’t come missed out. Thank you so much to Mumbles Yacht Club and all the volunteers. Please let us come back soon, and we will bring more friends!
Report Pippa Kilsby
Lots of photos available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/jinxsi/albums/72157719606797600/with/51319504491/