As we head towards the Salcombe week draw for 2019, I feel a little sad that 57 boats will not get an entry and will not be able to join the excellent event.
For 2020, would it be possible to get more merlins sailing during the week? As the harbour limit is 60 boats per start, one option to increase the event capacity from 120 boats to 150 boats would be to have 5 flights instead of the current 4. Each flight would get a different lay day and would sail against each flight once. If it could be managed, the Friday could have 3 races allowing everybody to race in bronze, silver and gold flights with 50 boats in each. This would give the spectacle of the top guns going head to head on the water in the final race to claim the trophy. The final day could also be scheduled in a long morning allowing time to pack up / chill out / attend the prize giving.
So the reason for posting in the public forum is to see if we/you (the sailors) would be receptive of SYC trialing a tweak to the format for 2020 to allow more friends to take part, acknowledging the fact that you would only sail for 5 days instead of the current 6. Not that it's anything to do with me, but would other people be willing to try a tweak to the format?
I agree with your post but this has been done to death following last year and SYC have made it very clear that that they won't entertain expanding the number of starts, flights or entries. Maybe its time to look for another event to take the overflow? Maybe all 57 who don't get in should enter SYC Regatta? (not sure how that might got down!....)
Coming to the champs would go down well too.
We’ve now had 2 years of a new race format which is much more competitor friendly than we’ve had in the past and well worth coming to try out.
Last point - something similar was tried before and it solved the problem of over subscription - just not in the way you envisage!
Seriously the race format works as it is and everyone who gets to sail is happy with it as are SYC.
I understand that SYC don’t feel that they have the manpower to cope with 150 Merlin Rockets and they rely on volunteers to run the week.
So the message is if you’re not drawn on 31st - there’s plenty of accommodation in Looe!
Two points: I agree that 120 is probably the max that Salcombe can deal with, not just on the water but also the boat parking, car parking, club bar etc. We tried flights leading to gold and silver fleet when I was chairman and it got a big thumbs down from those who were there.
I attended the champs this year. I did not intend to go as I was sceptical of the format but I am pleased that I did as I was proved wrong. We had some fantastic racing and on the way in after a two race day we agreed that it worked well and was not nearly as punishing as we expected (even with over 135 years in our boat!). Everyone seemed to enjoy it - what more needs to be said.
And an afternote: big thanks to Ian and Angela Mackenzie for all their hard work, the PRO for some excellent calls and to the volunteers of Lyme Regis Sailing Club who made us so welcome. It was a great week.
I went to Looe in 2008, I tried to make it part of a family holiday and I'm not sure that was a great success, I enjoyed the champs week, my family less so, the rain didn't help!
Salcombe has always looked the better option for a family holiday with mum or dad racing a dinghy, I am however becoming increasingly convinced from the reports of attendees of the recent McKenzie organised champs that the champs is becoming an enjoyable family alternative to Salcombe week whilst still delivering the Blue Riband Event of the Merlin Class Calendrer .
If your unlucky on Friday then please do consider the Looe 2019 Champs and if something is putting you off then please do speak or e-mail Ian McKenzie, Chris Martin, Simon Potts or myself to explain what it is, between us we cover the entire fleet in terms of ability and experience and from newbie to world champ we really do value your opinion on how to improve our class champs.
I am waiting to hear the result of the draw tomorrow and that will decide whether we go to Salcombe or the Champs. However, in 2020 I will be going to Tenby and will probably give Salcombe a miss. Salcombe has become increasingly cliquey and there is less and less socialisation at the club in the evenings. The champs tends to find everyone at the club in the evening having a good time and Ian and Angela’s organisation is second to none.
My only gripe with Looe is that the beach is not dog friendly and there is little other space to sit and watch whilst entertaining them. Not great when you have a wife and 2 dogs not Sailing! The only accommodation we can find that will take 2 dogs is also way off in West Looe, but we are still looking.
Let’s hope people start to migrate from Salcombe to the Champs, it is a more social event now.
We had 4 boats from Wembley at Lyme and everyday they had big beaming smiles. Enjoyed every second of it.
Let's hope you find dog friendly place. They can play with me ( I'm the treasurers dog )
Thanks for the replies, I guess it has indirectly answered the question - we've had a tweaked format at the champs for 2 years and it has been favourably received by all. I went to Pwllheli and it was excellent, but unfortunately couldn't make Lyme and unlikely to make Looe either.
So, by tweaking the nationals format and making a great event better, the attendance has increased, even though some were sceptical. I'm sure that aim of both the MROA and SYC is the same - increase participation... so.....
I've been given no sane reason why the Salcombe format is sacrasant (car parking and bar depth are not good enough reasons!)
We've tried gold/silver (I was there, it was rubbish!), but, personally, would be delighted to try something else (anything) in 2020.
Yours hopefully / have fun on the water wherever you're sailing!!
Tim, you and many others should try the champs. The wooden boats can hold their own and the new format really did keep racing tight throughout the fleet.
Ian & Angela, LRSC and the MROA did a fantastic job. A lot of hard work and effort went into organising it and it paid off! With the 1pm starts, a good PRO and the new format the racing didn't take all day, so allowed for family and social time. Liz was ashore non sailing, but there was plenty for her to do, and we both had a really great holiday.
Thank you to all involved. I recommend you give it a go.
Speaking from the very bottom of the Salcombe waiting list....
What are the dates for Looe?
Re Salcombe it will be a shame to miss it but we will go for the SYC regatta in August - so hopefully this does not clash with Looe!
For the record my Merlin week plan would be 6 flights of 25 = 150. 3 races a day at 1000, 1245 and 1530. The final one all safety to be conducted by competitors in the 1000 race. SYC race teams to run the bid for all races. Target race time of 100 minutes.
Friday is gold silver and bronze. I like Tim’s plan too but I don’t think the competition works if we lose a days sailing to bad weather, although I accept that would be rare.
Interestingly if Salcombe were a French town, eg Carnac, the council would empty Batson in order to provide space for the competition. In the UK we don’t do this.
Anyway I get an extra week of skiing or maybe go to Looe. Let’s see.
Hi John and everyone. The Aspire Merlin Rocket Nationals in Looe will run 17-23 Aug 2019. The planning has already started and more information will be posted in due course.
I am keen to do the nationals next year. But one of the reasons Salcombe works better than a nationals as a summer holiday is the amount of time I get to go racing and spend with family and friends off the water.
It’s a lot easier to sell half a day on the water at Salcombe Week to the better half than 9-5 on the water for the whole week at the nationals
We have not spent that long on the water since 2014, we are well aware of this issue and have done out utmost to prevent such a situation arising.
The scheduled start time of 13:00 means you get the mornings to do pretty much as you please. We aim to have the fleet ashore by 16:00-1700. Obviously if we lose races we might have to bring the start forward, or if a forecast indicates that we need to get the race(s) in early we may also do this. But the point is that we have learned from previous championships how long the average sailor wants to spend on the water. And that is what we plan to do.
So - no excuses :)
is there consideration of a separate prize for Vintage boats at Looe? How many boats would be needed for a separate start / format for 'classics'?
I am sure this has been tried before and I'm guessing the response will be that this has been tried in the past and there were not enough entries and if so perhaps you could enlighten me as to how long ago? It used to be a fairly succesful format in FF and there seem to be lots of old merlins being bought / sold / renovated but I am not sure if / where they are being sailed?
Jeremy the problem with old wooden Merlins at the champs is that the combination of a bit of breeze and some waves imposes quite a demand on the structural integrity of the hull, and from experience 20 year old Cascamite is not up to it. Also the boatspeed differential does seem to be greater in waves than on flat water (e.g. Salcombe). However, I may be tempted to come next year with Heaven Sent, Looe is a good venue having been to 3 of the previous 4 champs we have held there.
I think I can sell that to emily for next year
Ha ha ha
Jeremy - I dont think this has been tried for a considerable time. Probably the last "big" effort was for the Hayling champs 2006 which was the 60th championships. This "big" effort resulted in 3 boats if I recall.
On offer was a lap less and racing over 4 days.
Hi Jeremy and everyone. Apologies for not joining in earlier but I was concentrating on getting the Champs website and entry up and running. You will not be surprised to hear me say that we would welcome ALL Merlins at the Nationals.
I wish Salcombe YC and all the lucky entrants a great week but I think we can offer you something at Looe too.