Results / Midland Circuit, Classic and Vintage

Midland S.C.
17/03/2024 - 17/03/2024
Silver Tiller:
Multi-Day Silver Tiller:
Vintage: Yes
Regional: M
Classic: Yes

HD Sails Midland Circuit Report - James Goodfellow

A fleet of 22 Merlin Rockets gathered to attend the first HD Sails Midland Circuit, combined with Classic and Vintage open meeting providing an excellent turn out of Merlin Rockets from across the eras.

With an early rain fall topped off with a road closure right next to the club entrance some additional laps of the reservoir were undertaken by visiting sailors, however on arrival Midland SC provided a warm welcome with a bacon sandwich and cup of tea.

The forecast was for a steady 9 gusting 15 knots with a wind direction from the south west.

Race 1

The race officer set a good start line and the fleet got away on the first attempt with one gun sounding after the start for an individual recall.  A couple of boats towards the port end of the line had space and speed to tack onto port and subsequently the rest of the fleet followed.  Matt Biggs and Beka Jones had instant speed and rounded first.  Steven and Gillian Leney and Rob Kennaugh and Andrew Prosser were in hot pursuit.  Richard Adams was also busy breaking his main halyard which added to the morning’s entertainment.

As you would expect Edgbaston reservoir was littered with gusts and lulls, headers and lifts resulting in a whole array of place swapping over the course of five laps, with the exception of Matt and Beka who maintained their lead to the finish.  My (James Goodfellow) crew Rick Cornes did a fine job talking me up the beats and we managed to sniff out a little bit of pressure and slipped past Rob and Andrew and Steven and Gillian to take second place with Rob and Andrew finishing strongly in third and Steven and Gillian in fourth. A worthy mention also going to Mark McKeever and Lauren Morgan having a very solid race coming in fifth.

Race 2

The next race was held after lunch and the Race Officer opted for a course change to keep everyone on their toes, once again the Race Officer set a good line and the fleet got away cleanly, with an almost identical start the whole fleet tacked onto port and headed up the middle of the reservoir, with Nigel Hudson and Josh Oates being the exception, heading hard left.  Matt and Beka Jones were first around the windward mark with Nigel and Josh rounding second followed by Richard Adams and Jason Larner in third and myself and Rick in fourth. 

Nigel and Josh unfortunately suffered spinnaker issues on the first hoist letting the fleet through.

Matt and Beka held onto first with Richard and Jason in a convincing second with myself and Rick finishing in third fending off Colin Anderson and Sean Anderson who had an excellent race showing some pace downwind taking fourth ahead of Rob Kennaugh and Andrew Prosser in fifth.

Race 3

The race officer opted to stick with the same course and the fleet once again got off cleanly, this time myself and Rick Cornes started well and found a nice lane to tack onto port leading up the reservoir.  Myself and Rick rounded first with Richard and Jason in second and Matt and Beka in third, Matt and Beka found some pressure and slipped inside Richard at the gybe mark taking them into second.  The first lap was a tightly fought affair with Matt and Beka taking the lead upwind on the second lap with Richard and Jason moving up to second and Rob and Andrew storming through into third, it was at this point that myself and Rick opted for an early shower.  Matt and Beka took another win, Richard and Jason took second with Rob and Andrew in third.   Steven and Gillian had a good race and finished fourth.  Colin and Sean were clearly getting to grips with the conditions and had another solid race in fifth 

Overall Matt and Beka were deserved winners with Richard Adams & Jason Larner in second and myself and Rick Cornes in 3rd.

Many thanks to Midland sailing club for hosting a very enjoyable open meeting.

The next HD Sails Midland Circuit event is at Burton Sailing Club on 13th April. The next Classic and Vintage event is at Ranelagh Sailing Club on 7th April which is also a combined Thames Series event supported by Craftinsure.

Combined Classic and Vintage Report - Martin Smith


A road closure outside Midland Sailing clubs entrance forced most competitors to take a diversionary route past City hospital situated on Dudley Road, this road which was subject to repairs more closely resembles the surface of the moon such were the craters and provided the first challenge in protecting one’s boat from damage at this event.

Six classic or vintage Merlin Rockets of various ages and designs were in the process of rigging when I arrived with my boat taking the total to seven. 3567 Fat Boy Slim is a MK1 Winder built in 1999 qualifying her for the Classic series, the hull is the same shape as the day she came out of the mould and apart from the retro fit of a one string raking system and twin carbon self launching spinnaker pole system the rest of the boat is pretty much as was the case in 1999, indeed many of the fittings are from the original build.

We rigged with Merlin 852 to one side of us, a stunning example of the class from 1958 beautifully varnished and properly “blinged” with carbon spars and a multitude of modern blocks and fittings. To the other side was 3547 a wooden boat from 1997 with a bright yellow interior and striking orange numbers on her sail.

As this was also part of the HD Sails Midland Circuit the seven Classic and Vintage Merlin Rockets would be on the same course as the 15 that are classified as modern boats. A total of 22 boats launched for the first race with 3547 sailed by Peter & Tim Male finishing a creditable 11th with two 37xx and one 36xx boats behind them, the best vintage finisher came in race 2 with Guy Browne and Greg Martin bringing home 2681 in 13thplace with a 36xx and several 35xx boats behind them, this shows once again how the classic and vintage boats can mix it with much younger boats.

Rule 14 of the racing rules of sailing states; A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably practical. However, a right of way boat, or one sailing within the room or mark room to which she is entitled, need not act to avoid contact until it is clear that the other boat is not keeping clear or giving room or mark room.

So, it was with Rule 14 in mind and more importantly no desire to damage the stunning 852 that two teams went for a swim in race 3 and effectively ended their races so what happened?

As is so often the case at leeward marks something akin to a raft developed the lead boats started to slow down as the keenly fought mid-pack started to bunch behind them stealing their wind slowing them further, shouts of “water” & “NO WATER!” could be heard. Then the rear of the fleet stated to do to the mid fleet the same that they had just done to the frontrunners. The rear fleet split with some boats going the long way round and a couple trying their luck on the shorter inside route!   Calls of “don’t go there 852, you have no rights” were followed by more calls of “water” & “No Water” from other teams.

At this point the wind thought it would like to get involved and through in a sizeable gust from a random direction! Boats started to accelerate with the gaps between them disappearing and whatever gap 852 might previously have thought they could squeeze through disappearing in an instant, the result of this was boats making rapid course changes to prevent bow & transom interactions or bow & gunwale interactions which I think by and large were avoided at this point. In avoiding 852 & 3705 the unfortunate helm of 3567 was ejected from his boat by the boom which had conspired with the gust to gybe the boat, 852 now had an even smaller area in which to manoeuvre as the previous clear water ahead all be it to the wrong side of mark 6 was now occupied by the mast of 3567, 852 joined in with the unintended gybe antics and duly capsized.

On surfacing some 10 yards behind 3567 I was quite impressed that it had got that far before capsizing and was even more impressed that the boats behind managed to avoid not just myself but also both 852 & 3567 whilst managing to get around the mark!

The wind now decided to play its next trick on 852 & 3567 and promptly switched off making the recovery of these boats and the subsequent removal of the water from within them a far harder task, eventually 852 retired whilst 3567 managed to complete the race.

Sadly there were a couple of collisions during the event which is the first time that this has happened in one of these combined events and isn’t something we are keen to see a repeat of, however its worth noting that the two wooden boats involved came off with less damage than the other parties, indeed the one wooden boat received no damage and the other the sort of damage to her gunwale that could easily happen at one of your own club races.

It just goes to show that owners of older boats have nothing to fear and much to enjoy in the form of close competitive racing by participating in the combined Midland, Classic & Vintage Circuit events.

22 Merlins competed in the Midland Series Event.

1st Classic Merlin 3547 Pete Male and Tim Male in 13th overall

1st Vintage Merlin 2681 Guy Browne and Greg Martin in 16th overall 

The next event at combined Classic & Vintage is at Ranelagh Sailing Club on April 7th and is part of the Thames Series.  

Midland ResultS

# Helm Crew Club Score Race 1
Race 2
Race 3
1st Matt Biggs Beka Jones Bartley 2 -1 1 1
2nd Richard Adams Jason Larner Midland SC 4 RET 2 2
3rd James Goodfellow Richard Cornes Netly 5 2 3 RET
4th Rob Kennaugh Andrew Prosser Midland SC 6 3 -5 3
5th Steven Leney Gillian Leney Blithfield 8 4 -6 4
6th Colin Anderson Sean Anderson Bartley 9 -6 4 5
7th Mark McKeever Lauren Morgan Midland SC 14 5 DNC 9
8th Mark Reddington Louis Fowler Bartley 14 8 -9 6
9th Howard Eeles Justin Gem Bartley 15 -14 7 8
10th Paul Hollis Sarah Duval Bartley 15 7 8 -10
11th Nigel Hudson Josh Oates Bartley 16 9 -10 7
12th G. Wright P. Mason Blithfield 22 -12 11 11
13th Peter Male Tim Male Blithfield 23 11 -12 12
14th Evan Base Louise Hassall Midland SC 28 -15 15 13
15th Martin Smith Karen Bestow Redditch 29 13 -17 16
16th Guy Browne Greg Martin Trent Valley 30 17 13 RET
17th Mike Colles Sophie Forbes Midland SC 30 -20 16 14
18th David Lucas Robyn Taylor Trimpley 31 16 -18 15
19th Julian Harms George Bender Midland SC 33 10 DNC DNC
20th Atwell Merry Llangorse 35 21 14 RET
21st Richard Burton Mariella Burton Moore Medley SC 41 18 RET DNC
22nd Dan Barrett Rachael Taylor Midland SC 42 19 RET RET


Rank Sail Number Boat Name Helm Crew Club R1  R2 R3
1 3547 Moodance Assasin Peter Male Tim Males Blithfield SC 1 1 1
2 3530 Sir Topaz Mike Colles Sophie Forbes Midland SC 4 2 2
3 3567 Fat Boy Slim Martin Smith Karen Beston Redditch SC 2 3 3
4 3517 Shooting Star Dan Barrett Rachel Taylor Midland SC 3 5 DNF 5 DNF
Rank Sail Number Boat Name Helm Crew Club R1  R2 R3
1 2681 Atomic Mustard Guy Browne Greg Martin Trent Valley SC 1 1 4 DNF
2 852 Chouchou Paul Atwell Lyndall Merry Llangorse SC 3 2 4 DNF
3 2037 Lady Hyperion Richard Burton Marbella Burton-Moore Medley SC 2 4 DNF 4 DNS


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