Results / SW Circuit

Salcombe Y.C.
27/04/2024 - 28/04/2024
Silver Tiller:
Multi-Day Silver Tiller:
Regional: SW

Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket Open Meeting 2024 by Tom Stewart, photos by Lucy Burn/SYC_Sailing_

27 April 2024 and the 70 competitors might have wondered why they had made the trip to the Southwest as they donned full sailing kit just to rig in Saturday’s rain squalls, but by the end of the weekend the Sun was shining and yet again Salcombe had delivered a fine weekend of Merlin racing.

This was Round 3 of the SW Series hosted by Salcombe Yacht Club with sponsors by CF by L and L.

Race one:

With 35 boats on the start line, the fairway in place, a first leg that might be a beat or a fetch to number 3 against the ebb, in 5 to 10 knots of breeze made getting a clear start critical. Tim Fells and Fran Gifford nailed it and led the fleet, hotly pursued by Chris Jennings and Pete Nicholson. Tim and Fran looking like a slick well-oiled team, slipped gently away down the run while the fleet behind them, looking for any advantage in pressure or direction got plenty of gybing practice, on the way to number 1. Tom Stewart and Rob Allen got the second beat right by going left (town side) and worked their way into second, but Tim and Fran looked out of reach until they hooked a mooring, after which the leaders had a great nip and tuck race including a tacking match to the finish. The first bell of the weekend went to Tim and Fran.  

Race Two:

Having had a warm-up followed by a long lunch break the fleet was keen for the second race to start. With a more obviously starboard-biased line, the fleet was mostly OCS, so we had another go at starting, this time under a black flag. Tom Gillard and Ollie Meadowcroft pulled the trigger to perfection and led up the first beat from Ollie’s parents, John and Katy, who rounded second. With the windward leeward 1,3,1,3, course in play again, the chasing bunch had tight racing with a whole load of place changing. Mary and Rupert Henderson-White sailed a blinder and looked comfortable in the leading pack and coped well with the change of tidal direction mid-race, scarcely putting a foot wrong, but it was the familiar faces of Christian Birrell and Sam Breary and Caroline Croft and Livvy Bell who worked their way into the podium place.


 Race 3:

Sunday morning looked like one of those Salcombe race team nightmares, no wind on the start line and a forecast that suggested you might consider 1 or 7 as the first mark. With enough water in the ria, they set 7,3,7,3,5,3. The big question was who would get the puff to get them off the line. The boats who risked the foul tide in the middle and town side initially led but on the Portlemouth side, Tim and Fran found a breeze of their own, hoisted their spinnaker, and slipped through, staying low and into The Bag with a monstrous and on this occasion unassailable lead. John and Katy Meadowcroft showed their class and their cool and were the second boat to exit the harbour. A whole bunch of the early leaders went to sit under Snapes before escaping on a zephyr and resuming the race. With the wind clocking West there was some interesting decision-making and plenty of place changing on the 7, 3 loops with two sail reaching, a bit of beating, and spinnaker skills all being tested. Tom and Ollie ground their way through the fleet eventually working up to second when the race was shortened at mark 3.

Race 4:

Two boats were in it for the win in the final grandstand shootout. The wind had swung to be blowing from the Southwest, straight up the harbour, and it was building! The ebb rushed the fleet to Mark 1 but the breeze was already beginning to falter as they rounded and parked in the tide, the pile-up was inevitable. Christian and Sam led with Tim and Fran well up, and Tom and Ollie scraped into the top 10 at the first mark. There were big decisions to be made on the run back, Portlemouth or the town side? The leaders stuck to the Portlemouth side to start with, but with the wind now coming in unpredictable gusts and lulls both looked good and bad at times and people found new and unexpected places to cross the estuary with some crossing multiple times. Tim and Fran kept their cool, approached the leeward mark from the Snape's side, and gained an advantage on those lured into the shorter Ditch End route with a puff. On the second beat, Salcombe switched on the turbulence with puffs, lulls, and dummy shifts all over the place. The protagonists managed to stay in the leading pack, but anything could happen. The wind switched off. The leaders crept up the Portlemouth shore until they firmly parked at Ditch End. Meanwhile, Will and Arthur Henderson with two lifetimes of local knowledge were making their way up the town side leading a pack hopeful of a dramatic recovery. Finally, the breeze filled back in, Tim and Fran reacted fast, gybed, and crossed from the forlorn ditch-enders to join Will and Arthur but Tom and Ollie covered the move and led around the last mark to sail a relaxed down tide beat to the finish and take the event, while Tim and Fran battled to 3rd behind Alex Jackson and Pippa Kilsby.

Thank you, Salcombe Yacht Club, for hosting us, the fleet look forward to returning in June for Salcombe Gin Merlin Rocket 2024 where 120 boats will be on the water.

The next event on the SW Series 2024 is at Starcross Yacht Club on 1st and 2nd June which is also a Craftinsure Silver Tiller Open Category event.


Salcombe Gin Merlin Open 24

Salcombe Yacht Club


SYC Salcombe Gin Merlin Open 24

Merlin Rocket Fleet (from ticket)

Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Rating system: PY, Entries: 36, Scoring system: Appendix A
Rank Sail number Made for Crew Name Club R1 R2 R3 R4 Total Nett
1st 3759 Thomas Gillard Ollie Meadowcroft Sheffield Viking (4.0) 1.0 2.0 1.0 8.0 4.0
2nd 3764 Tim Fells Frances Gifford Salcombe YC 1.0 (7.0) 1.0 3.0 12.0 5.0
3rd 3812 Tom Stewart Rob Allen Salcombe 2.0 (6.0) 6.0 5.0 19.0 13.0
4th 3820 Caroline Croft Livvy Bell Hampton 7.0 3.0 (10.0) 4.0 24.0 14.0
5th 3795 Alex Jackson Pip Kilsby Shoreham 6.0 11.0 (12.0) 2.0 31.0 19.0
6th 3788 Christian Birrell Sam Brearey Parkstone (11.0) 2.0 8.0 9.0 30.0 19.0
7th 3726 Will Henderson Arthur Henderson Salcombe YC (8.0) 8.0 3.0 8.0 27.0 19.0
8th 3803 Chris Gould Sophie Mackley Shoreham 16.0 4.0 (17.0) 6.0 43.0 26.0
9th 3807 Tim Saxton Holly McArthur Itchenor 10.0 10.0 (16.0) 7.0 43.0 27.0
10th 3687 Matthew Greenfield Hannah Greenfield Chew Valley SC 5.0 9.0 (15.0) 14.0 43.0 28.0
11th 3775 Chris Jennings Pete Nicholson Burghfield 3.0 (13.0) 13.0 13.0 42.0 29.0
12th 3802 Simon Potts Richard Parslow Burghfield 14.0 (16.0) 5.0 12.0 47.0 31.0
13th 3746 James Wells Anna Aylward RYA (13.0) 12.0 11.0 11.0 47.0 34.0
14th 3683 Tom Ballantine Maddy Anderson Brighlingsea 18.0 17.0 4.0 (22.0) 61.0 39.0
15th 3714 Rob Henderson Alice Markham Hayling Island (20.0) 15.0 7.0 18.0 60.0 40.0
16th 3666 John Meadowcroft Katy Meadowcroft Salcombe YC (22.0) 18.0 9.0 15.0 64.0 42.0
17th 3782 Ed Chapman Matt Currell Lymington 9.0 20.0 (23.0) 16.0 68.0 45.0
18th 3796 William Warren Megan Pascoe Shoreham (17.0) 14.0 14.0 17.0 62.0 45.0
19th 3751 Mary Henderson-White Rupert Henderson-White Brighlingsea 21.0 5.0 22.0 (26.0) 74.0 48.0
20th 3799 Paul Rayson Chris Hill Salcombe YC (27.0) 21.0 19.0 10.0 77.0 50.0
21st 3709 Jack Norton Dave Royse Ranelagh 12.0 19.0 21.0 (37.0 DNC) 89.0 52.0
22nd 3779 David Lee Angela Bridges Starcross 15.0 23.0 20.0 (37.0 DNC) 95.0 58.0
23rd 3769 Graham Cranford-Smith Helen Hilditch Salcombe YC 19.0 22.0 18.0 (23.0) 82.0 59.0
24th 3578 Godfrey Clark Bill Nokes Fishers Green (30.0) 25.0 24.0 19.0 98.0 68.0
25th 3747 Clive Eplett Nigel Hufton Frencham Pond 23.0 26.0 (27.0) 20.0 96.0 69.0
26th 3641 Mark Waterhouse Isobel Stewart Salcombe (25.0) 24.0 25.0 21.0 95.0 70.0
27th 3781 David Hall Emilie Hood Blackwater 24.0 27.0 26.0 (32.0 DNF) 109.0 77.0
28th 3692 Steve Conroy Anna Rayson Fishers Green 28.0 (29.0) 28.0 24.0 109.0 80.0
29th 3725 Andrew Squire Tristram Squire Salcombe YC (29.0) 28.0 29.0 28.0 114.0 85.0
30th 3770 JONATHAN STEWARD Blake Fishers Green 31.0 (35.0 RET) 31.0 25.0 122.0 87.0
31st 3482 Richard Burton Peter Burton Medley (35.0) 33.0 32.0 27.0 127.0 92.0
32nd 3813 Stephen Harling Eleanor Thomas Starcross (32.0) 30.0 30.0 32.0 F/way 124.0 92.0
33rd 3740 Patrick Blake Jilly Blake Shoreham 26.0 32.0 (37.0 DNC) 37.0 DNC 132.0 95.0
34th 3663 Nick Yannakoyorgos Matteo Mancini Fishers Green (34.0) 31.0 33.0 32.0 DNF 130.0 96.0
35th 3621 Simon Evans Laura Evans Salcombe 33.0 (37.0 DNC) 34.0 37.0 DNC 141.0 104.0

Owners Association

Developed & Supported by YorkSoft Ltd


Merlin Rocket Owners Association