Aspire 2017 National Championship - Pwllheli

16/03/2017 14:34:56
Ian Mackenzie


Merlin Rocket National Championships

Pwllheli - 2017

Introducing our 2017 Sponsor – Aspire Financial Services

Nationals Website, Entry & NoR now |OPEN 


What will Pwllheli offer:

·       ½ Price Entry (under 25s, older boats, first time entrants)

·       9-race series

·       World Class Race Management

·       Commodore’s Reception, Curry Night, Pasta Night & Pasty Night – all inclusive

·       Sunday Night Carvery/Ranelagh Night Dinner (informal) – optional

·       Ranelagh Champagne Race

·       “What we wore in the 70’s” Fancy Dress & Disco

·       Racing Rules Workshops

and lots more.

Plenty of info available on the website. More to follow in the next magazine. Any queries, suggestions, offers of sponsorship! Please feel free to contact me - [email protected]
Don't miss out on, "The Best Nationals Ever" 

22/03/2017 09:24:15
Ian Mackenzie
Yachts and Yachting News announcement.

Thank you to Alistair Mackay for the photo and Chris Gould for the artwork.

16/05/2017 09:49:23
Ian Mackenzie
Budget Accommodation - you and your crew, 6 nights for £62.50!!!
Camping, caravans and motorhomes welcome on Plas Heli camping field. 5 minutes walk from the club. No electric  but waste bins and portaloos provided.
If you want to go upmarket and have electric, book your place on the dinghy park NOW (5 spaces already gone).
Quote MERLIN17 in your booking to get 1 night free for bookings over 5 nights.
Campsite non-electric  - £12.50/night.
Dinghy Park with electric - £25.00/night.
Clubhouse will be open from 08.00.
Breakfast from 09.00.
So, 6 nights for £62.50 (non-electric). 6 nights for £125 (with electric)

18/05/2017 13:10:22
Swimming of Lymo
Ok decision made. Campsite now booked on the Plas Heli field which turns out to be conveniently located at the end of the spit.
Having done a reccy last weekend on some of the other options,  Lou and I are going to chance a beach of beach based glamping only a few 100 metres from the venue and dinghy park (and its a bargain).
Suitable over-sized tent now being sorted (brace yourself Go Outdoors), dining space for 10 and resistant to 40knot breeze and sea air the only requirements.
Thanks for sorting this out Ian. 

19/05/2017 18:24:50
Ian Mackenzie
Get your camping pitch booked now.
6 nights for the price of 5
In the field (5 mins walk) - £62.50
With electric (in the dinghy park) - £125
SEE THE Silver Tiller Photo's on Facebook 

20/05/2017 08:40:57
Ian, the email address for you keeps bouncing back as non-existent user.

Trying to send you the campsite details you requested.


20/05/2017 09:34:31
Ian Mackenzie
Hi Miles.
Please use [email protected]
Have you seen the photos on facebook?
Best wishes Ian 

23/05/2017 11:35:35
Ian Mackenzie
Nationals Entry Time
I know you are all out there. I know who has booked accommodation. I know who has already said they are coming (I've been taking names).
Entries List
Yes, we have started to update this. See the Champs website.
Discount Entry/Early Entry Discount
Stop prevaricating. Get your entry in NOW 

01/06/2017 14:17:19
Ian Mackenzie
The Final Countdown
Yes, only 30 days to get your discount entry in!
Carnac is gone, Saundersfoot is gone, you've long ago paid for Salcombe and for your accommodation.
So, now's the time to save yourself £30 and book the cheapest accommodation ever.
Short of a boat? Short of a crew?
See the Champs website.  For the right teams, we may be able to match you with a front of the fleet boat or source you a keen, fit and lightweight crew.

01/06/2017 14:35:25
Ian Mackenzie
In case you've missed it - this is Plas Heli.
Scroll down in the box on the right. Click on "Open in a new window" 
Don't miss the Aspire 2017 Merlin Nationals 

12/06/2017 17:57:10
Ian Mackenzie
Aspire Nationals Entries - 17 days left to get your entry discount
Check out Mr Parker - your entertainment for Ranelagh Night 
Make sure you book your "Pie and Puddings Supper" tickets on your Entry Form 

13/06/2017 12:09:59
Ian Mackenzie
Plas Heli camping field and motorhome pitches filling up. Get your booking in to avoid disappointment. Remember, MERLIN17 to get 6 nights for price of 5.

14/06/2017 20:14:32
Ian Mackenzie
16 days left for Early Entry discount.
Gatemark tactics? Guidance on its way.
Watch the Forum for news on the Selden boom auction.

14/06/2017 21:13:11
Is there an online entry form, rather than print off and post?

15/06/2017 08:22:46
Ian Mackenzie
Hi Miles. If you download the entry form from the Champs site and edit it in Word you can then email it to Colin. His email is on the bottom of the form. Cheers Ian 

15/06/2017 10:40:08
Ian Mackenzie
For those of you looking for something a little more upmarket than Plas Heli's Green Fields and Dinghy Park facilities; here's another option offered by Mile James.

 Full 5 Star Facilities, Glamping, Camping and Touring: space and peace and quiet. Plus wetsuit drying facilities and the odd spare dinghy fitting.

Aimed at those who want peace and quiet, so suitable for those just wanting to rest and definitely not party after a days racing. 
Miles quite honestly admits he does not seek to please the budget market but you may feel you deserve this. 

15/06/2017 11:46:12
Ian Mackenzie
See Selden Boom Auction for details of how to take advantage of this great offer

16/06/2017 10:59:27
Ian Mackenzie
Gatemarks - what do I do? Check out the new Champs Site web page. NEWS. You will see a post with a link to an article on gatemark tactics. Sample course diagrams there too and in the magazine. See you at Pwllheli 

19/06/2017 18:53:42
Tim Male
Really really look forward to it. 
Thanks Ian, Angela and everyone else for organising it. Super effort so far :)

19/06/2017 21:50:09
Ian Mackenzie
Many thanks Tim. Our pleasure. Looking forwards to seeing you both there. Looking forward to seeing  everyone there. 11 days left for discounted entry.

21/06/2017 12:31:44
Ian Mackenzie
Shock News - 1984 Summer Wine wins Aspire 2017 Nationals
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
I meant 1984 Summer Wine Enters Aspire 2017 Nationals.
Although, knowing Tim and Bee I expect then to be aiming to win Bronze Fleet.
So, all you other old wooden boats, is that enough of a challenge?
If not, you can always take on Dan in his 21 year old, wooden Let It Ride.
Remember, boats up to 3571 get half price entry.
Where better to chance your arm in an older boat than Tremadog Bay. 227 Merlins held together by cascamite survived 1970.
This is the year to come and join us - the waves of Lyme await you in 2018.
Remember, Pwllheli - For the many, not for the few 

23/06/2017 12:26:31
Ian Mackenzie
Champs website - entries just updated.
Get yours in now to a avoid losing your early-entry discount - only 8 days left.
Great news - we have nominations for all 3 NSSA places. Welcome to the teams. They will all be offered Mk1 Winders for the event. So, plenty of Under-25 and Older Boat competition.
Come and join us. 

26/06/2017 08:49:38
Ian Mackenzie
Only 4 days left for Early Entry Discount 

26/06/2017 11:54:39
Ian Mackenzie
Welcome to all of our latest entrants. Check out the just updated list.
Delighted to see Julian and Tim back with us especially as that means we now have 1 x Summer Wine, 1 x Let It Ride, 1 x Thin Ice, several Mk 1 Winders promised and Miles' Born to be Wild (based on the 1996 Steppenwolf).
Want to dip your toes in a "gentle" Nationals? Now is YOUR time. 

29/06/2017 09:30:17
Ian Mackenzie
Early Entry Discount - only 2 days left.
You have been warned.

29/06/2017 12:06:22
Ian Mackenzie
Champs site Entries - latest list showing

30/06/2017 07:57:21
Ian Mackenzie
Final day for Early Entry discount

30/06/2017 19:43:20
Ian Mackenzie
Going to the Wire
Champs entries list just updated. 
How close can you cut it?
Colin's iPad on red-hot standby.
Get your entry in now - 4 hours 17 minute left!!!! 

12/07/2017 09:43:27
Ian Mackenzie
Crew Needed - Accommodation Available
If you would like to sit in the front of a brand new Merlin for this year's Nationals, please contact me with your details.
Sadly, one of our current entrants is now without his planned crew.
Let me know if you are interested  and I will fill in the details and put you in contact.

14/07/2017 14:22:44
Ian Mackenzie
Championship News  - Check out this link
 NoR Amendment 1 - Introduction of RYArbitration Process
Draft Sailing Instructions
Both documents now available to view on the "News" page of the Champs website 

16/07/2017 09:23:41
Ian Mackenzie
The Champagne is on ice. Courtesy of David and Sarah Winder. Don't miss your chance to be one of the 21 leading boats in the Ranelagh Race.

Contact me if you need a crew of a boat.

18/07/2017 21:21:28
Ellie Sharps
How do we go about booking / finding out more about the on site camping?  Apologies if being dappy but cant find a link to it? 

19/07/2017 07:30:07
Ian Mackenzie
Hi Ellie.
You can use this link
If booking camping, ignore Motorhome Reg and specify camping.
Better still, call them on 01758 613343.
Please see my post of 16 May above for more info or check out the FAQ article in the Merlin Summer mag.
Remember to quote MERLIN17 to get 6 nights for the price of 5.

04/08/2017 10:47:34
Ian Mackenzie
Pwllheli Scrutineering - welcome to Roger Mee, our Scrutineer for this year.
Please check out the following link - where you will find an updated "Dummies Guide"
The process for this year will be pretty much as for the last 5 years but you might like to double check the following:
  • If you have had a new/replacement mast since original boat certification, please check out the guidance on Mast Datum Point (lower band) to sheerline checks (730mm – 630mm).
  • If you have had spinnaker pole launchers fitted, please check the max projection from the “front of the mast” – it must not exceed 2320mm.

04/08/2017 15:57:39
Ian Mackenzie
Bronze fleet helm urgently needs enthusiastic crew who is just happy to be a part of the Nationals and enjoy a great week's sailing at Pwllheli.
Please let me have the names of any  potential volunteers.
Call 07932435290 or email [email protected] 

08/08/2017 10:18:57
Is the entry list up to date?

08/08/2017 12:31:56
Ian Mackenzie
Latest News
Check out the latest entrants on the Champs site - we now have Carl and Sam with their 1990 Jon Turner, Canterbury Tales 3449. The weather forecast is looking more benign that in living memory, well at least since Lyme in 2012. Come and join the fun. You will be in good company with your older boat.
Watch out for late, breaking news on the social front - Wednesday will be National Rum Day!!!
We will take entries on the day of Registration but PLEASE can you give me a heads up if you are coming so that I can get the admin organised.

09/08/2017 16:40:58
Ian Mackenzie
The weather in Pwllheli is fantastic.
Wall to wall sunshine. Tropical blue seas. Champagne F4.
Only problem is 220 Toppers!
Not to worry - The Merlin Race Office is now open. Championship glassware all present and correct. Tomorrow we make up the Registration Packs.
See you in the dinghy park.

10/08/2017 17:26:11
Ian Mackenzie
Registration Packs all sorted. SIs printed and ready for display.
Errant Topper sailors repelled.
Looking forward to the first boats arriving tomorrow.
What pies do you want for Thursday? All reasonable suggestions considered. No promises on final choice. If you have an dietary requirements, please let us know at Registration.

11/08/2017 12:58:52
Ian Mackenzie
First boat just arrived.
The Nationals have started

11/08/2017 14:54:30
What time is scrutineering due to begin?

11/08/2017 19:20:21
Ian Mackenzie
Hi All.
4 boats here now.
Expecting more late arrivals overnight.
Old Clubhouse showers and toilets available all night.
Breakfast served from 08.00.
Scrutineering starts 09.00.
Full on, wall to wall sun booked for tomorrow 

17/08/2017 10:28:30
Ian Mackenzie
Sorry Guys and Gals, if you are not here you are missing an absolutely fantastic Nats.
Winder Thursday Schedule 
Todays first warning signal at 10.55. Looking to do 3 x 50 min races.
 Second race today will be for the Winder Ranelagh Champagne.
Fleet just leaving the beach right now.

17/08/2017 12:09:14
Dave C
Hi Ian,
Thanks for the updates, those of us who have friends and family racing are hungry for news! 

17/08/2017 12:48:14
Ian Mackenzie
HD Sails Day 5
Today's first race results on the Results page.
Second race just started 

17/08/2017 15:27:23
Ian Mackenzie
Results for Races 6 - 8 now available.
Overall results also on the Results page. 
vrsport video for today being edited as we speak. Expect coverage early tonight.
Winder champagne prize giving should be quite a lively event. 

17/08/2017 15:54:14
Ian Mackenzie
 Watch this space.
Protest lodged re Race 6 - currently going to arbitration

18/08/2017 00:37:44
Ian Mackenzie
Protest dismissed. Results as posted stand. Daily write up on Results page, "Overall Results". Anticipate Warning Signal tomorrow 10.55. Will advise actual conditions in the morning. Currently blowing a Hooley. Just finished the Winder Ranelagh Party. Great jazz/blues saxophonist Andrew Parker. Must stop enjoying ourselves!

18/08/2017 06:59:08
Ian Mackenzie
Day 5 video footage here

18/08/2017 07:30:18
Ian Mackenzie
Direct link here:

18/08/2017 13:00:07
Ian Mackenzie
The boys and girls are back ashore.
9 race series - complete.
What a blast.
See vrsport video late tonight.
Results to follow shortly. 

18/08/2017 13:06:11
Dave C
Hi Ian,
Thanks for all the posts and getting the results out promptly.... its way too stressful following this remotely!
I hope the sailors bought you lots of beers for all your hard work.


19/08/2017 10:33:49
Ian Mackenzie
David, many thanks, we had a ball. Caroline will tell you all. See you in Lyme 2018?
For everyone else, here is the final video for this year - awesome, epic, amazing. And that's just the comments from our entrants. The best dinghy IN THE WORLD
Huge thanks due to a cast of 100's - Chris and the Committee for allowing and supporting us in modifying the fomat, Peter and Sue Saxton for their cross fleet perspective and massive practical experience allowing us to implement the changes effectively, their race team for running the race track flawlessly, Bob Lowe and Neil Williams (plus all their on and off water teams for looking after us afloat and ashore), the NSSA teams who fitted in seamlessly and demonstrated massive maturity and ability on the water, to Lou and Huw Pearce for being the go-to people for getting the word out to you back at home, our fleet who put up with some fairly challenging conditions and a pretty difficult set of weather patterns always arriving in the dinghy park smiling, cheerful and enthusiastic.
And we must not forget our sponsors without whose funding and support we COULD NOT RUN a champs. Please, if you see them, give a word of thanks (and some custom if you can) to Aspire, Selden, Rooster, Winder, HD Sails, DinghyTec and, if you are in Pwllheli, the excellent family-run chandlery and boatyard Firmhelm.
Special congratulation, of course, to our Aspire National Champions, Nick and Alan, but everyone leaves Pwllheli a winner.
Bye for now. 

19/08/2017 19:42:46
Big thanks to Ian and Angela for organising a fantastic champs 

Race organisation was excellent , communications were similarly excellent and Pwllheli club laid on great food and friendly service 

The venue is wonderful with the backdrop of snowdonia national park  and that with big winds and waves made for absolutely champagne stuff

Just great   Thanks 

20/08/2017 16:11:12
Chris Kilsby
Truly the best sea sailing I've ever done. Great courses, amazing race management and brilliantly organised. Thanks to all who sponsored and supported in making this such a great week. 
To those who chose to have a year out - you really missed a great one. Really hope to see you all at Lyme next year, which I'm sure will be similarly epic! 

20/08/2017 18:06:30
Mark and Lou
Well said Colin and Chris, one of the best sailing champs to date.  
Off the water Ian and Angela did a fantastic job making sure we were all well looked after, with plenty of meals included in the entry - perfect for us campers!
On the water Peter Saxton and his team put on some super courses and the new format kept the racing nice and close.
Well worth the journey, and looking forward to Lyme next year, hopefully without the jellyfish. 
Mark and Lou 

20/08/2017 19:50:06
Couldn't agree more!  
Absolutely the best sailing championships I have ever done! The racing was mega with really quick turnarounds between races.  Peter Saxton & his team were fantastic.
Thank you to Ian & Angela for the awesome organisation.
I can't wait until next year already!  

20/08/2017 20:39:12
ian Mackenzie
Hi All. Thanks for the kind words. I must mention that it was Bob Lowe, then Commodore of PSC, who suggested and then approached Peter and Sue on our behalf.
Pip, rest assured, we have already started planning 2018. Watch this space. Get booking your accommodation.

22/08/2017 14:16:15
Ian Mackenzie
And here's some photo's to prove we had sun at Pwllheli
Should make some great birthday or Christmas presents 

06/09/2017 11:05:57
Ian Mackenzie
No, I still haven't given up talking about Pwllheli
33 years of Merlin history in 10 minutes
And just in case you thought old Merlins couldn't hack it at the Nationals - Tim and Bee came 26th and fully justified their promotion to Silver fleet.


Your Name
YouTube Clip
Paste the link provided by youtube under the "Share" button, looks like this ""
Type a Number under 26: