|Over the weekend of 13th and 14th October 2018 Hampton Sailing Club hosted their annual Merlin Rocket Open Weekend on the River Thames near Hampton Court. Visitors from Ranelagh SC, Thames SC, Upper Thames SC, Oulton Broad SC, Lymington Town SC & Chipstead SC bolstered the home fleet. |
Saturday saw twelve (13) Vintage Merlin Rockets compete in the last event of the season in the De May Series. The De May series is a National Merlin Event for boats and designs over thirty years old. The series has a handicap system to allow evenly matched racing for the wide variety of designs eligible to compete.
Competitors and visitors were given a traditional warm welcome from Hampton Sailing Club. The welcome was top off with a warm strong 15 - 20 knot wind from the South. It was an eventful and testing day for the mature craft being sailed, with some owners taking the opportunity to carry out buoyancy tests whilst still racing!
Race 1 - From the start racing was fierce. With boats changing positions constantly. After two laps four boats broke free of the pack. These four, John & Olivia Bell in 1201, Simon Girven & Claudia Wheeler in 1631; Alex Jackson & Susannah Bell in 1493 and Stuart Jenkins & Nicola Scaddan in 3560, continued to have close racing throughout. Alex & Susannah took first place with John & Olivia 2nd, Simon & Claudia 3rd and Stuart & Nicola 4th.
Race 2 - John Heath & Sophie Penwarden joined the fleet in John's newly refurbished NSM2 Avalanche (3341) for the start of the second race. Alex & Susannah in 1493 took an early lead chased by the rest of the fleet but were soon joined by John & Olivia. The lead two boats had very close racing with regular position changes, but it was Alex & Susannah who took line honours, however after handicap adjustments it was John & Olivia who were 1st and Alex & Susannah 2nd. A dacron main for Christmas for Alex one thinks! 3rd were Stuart & Nicola with Hywel Perkins & Lucy Penwarden in 4th.
Race 3 - It was all to be on the third race to decide the winner of the Vintage Open and the De May Vintage Series. Stuart Jenkins needed to be overall 3rd or better to beat Sel Shah to the De May Series title. It was nip and tuck from the start with John & Olivia and Alex & Susannah battling for first place. Stuart didn't start well but managed fight back to 4th. After 50 minutes the positions were settled John & Olivia were 1st. The retirement of Alex and the retirement of Hywel through gear failure, left Stuart & Nicola in 2nd, Kevin Anderson & Richard Page in 3rd.
1st 1201 Grand Teton - John & Olivia Bell
2nd 1493 Katy Lou - Alex Jackson & Susannah Bell
3rd 3560 Luka - Stuart Jenkins & Nicola Scaddan
4th 2056 Busy Bee – Kevin Anderson & Maddie Anderson / Phill Chambers / Richard Page
5th 3347 Elusive - Hywel Bowen-Perkins & Lucy Penwarden
De May Vintage Series 2018 Results:
Ben Marshall who jointly organises the Vintage De May Series with Mervyn Allen announced the prize winners for the De May Series 2018.
De May Trophy
1st 3088/3560 Stuart Jenkins & Nicola Scaddan - Hampton SC / Upper Thames SC
2nd 1596 Sel Shah & Sarah Prescott / Nicky Erskine-Tulloch - Thames SC
3rd 774 Martin Hunter & Margaretha Van Dam - Upper Thames SC
4th 578/1201 John & Olivia Bell - Hampton SC
Octagon Trophy - presented to the Vintage Wing by Hampton SC for the 1st Vintage Merlin crossing the finish line prior to handicap adjustment in the De May Series.
1st 3560 Stuart Jenkins & Nicola Scaddan - Hampton SC / Upper Thames SC
Most Improved Newcomer - 774 Margaretha Van Dam - Upper Thames SC
Boat in Most Original Condition – 2410 Ian Laing - Hollingworth SC
After the Prize Giving John Bell thanked John Hollands (Race Officer) and his Team of safety boat crews, bar staff and caterers for an excellent days racing.
Saturday night saw competitors and members Barn Dancing the night away. The beer flowed but not one 'Dark & Stormy' was consumed. A very well organised and enjoyable evening was had by all.
Sunday saw sixteen (16) Merlins take to the water for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller event. The very light breeze now came from the North as did the rain.
Spirits were not dampened and topped up with bacon rolls and tea, competitors prepared their boats for the racing.
Sail numbers ranged from 544 (1955 Proctor Mark VI Design) to 3766 (Winder Canterbury Tales Design). Racing was very close with positions changing regularly. Alex & Susannah led from the start in Races 1 & 2, winning both with ease. They showed the rest of the fleet how to sail in light airs. At the start of the third race any of the three crews could have been 2nd overall.