As well as the usual strong attractions on the MR stand, this year's Dinghy Show will also have a sub-theme that has a great deal of relevance to the Class! 2018 is the year in which the centenary of Ian Proctor will be celebrated and as you would have read in the recent Class Mag, Proctor is right up there with Jack Holt as one of the founding figures of the combined Merlin Rocket dinghy. Ian was also one of that rarest of breeds, for his name is on both the City of Plymouth AND the Yachting World Trophies..
Of course, Ian Proctor played an even bigger part in the development of the class, with his designs bridging the era between the Holt River boats and their beamy cousins designed by the likes of Jones, Jackson, Callaghan and Morrison. The story of the Proctor metal mast has one foot in the Merlin camp, then there are the innovations and so much more.
As well as some examples of his iconic boats in the West corridor, there will be informative display boards and an illustrated talk at lunchtime up on the main stage. As I'm the one doing that you can be sure that the MRs will get plenty of positive coverage (on another forum, elsewhere, I was accused of being biased towards the Merlin Rocket class! Moi.....biased..... well that is one box ticked then!).
After the Show, attention will turn to a Gala event in June down at Bosham SC. The hope is to get as full a spread of Ian's designs as possible. It is my understanding that the Class will be getting a formal invite to the event in the hope that some of the stunning examples of both Ian's design and the beauty of the class can be on display.
If you have any great memories of Ian - as a designer or a sailor, pictures (I'm always keen to see these) - anecdotes or if you still sail one of his boats, then I'll be normally found hanging around the MR stand, though I'll also be visiting the Bosham Sailing Club stand on B19 as this will very much be the portal for the June event.
From that very first Nationals at Hayling in 1946, through to his untimely death there at the club in 1992, the Merlin Rocket class meant a lot to Ian, as indeed he meant to the class. It's a great opportunity to celebrate his memory and the legacy he left us and the sport in general
See you at the Show,