Inland Champs 2006

A record entry of 62 Merlin Rockets turned out at Blithfield SC, Staffordshire for the 2006 Inland Championship on 23rd and 24th September. Racing was managed by race officer John Andrews and his excellent team. Three races ran seamlessly on the Saturday in a moderate breeze. Fortunately, the protest by one competitor against the top 2/3rds of the fleet in race 1 was quickly dismissed, allowing all to relax and enjoy the evening’s atmosphere. The Saturday night pig roast and buffet was a sell-out affair with 200 tickets being foraged out by the assembled masses.

The evening carried on with an excellent Jazz Band grooving away and really giving the party an excellent vibe. Visiting Cookham SC members Marcus Robb and Alex Jones also put in a stint on the trombone and double-bass respectively. The band later commented that the crowd was one of the friendliest and lively parties that they have entertained. The bar was kept extremely busy all night, and was typically two deep, the 3 barrels of guest ale were emptied by 8:30!! Fortunately, reserve stocks of alternative beer were available, but by the early morning the bar had been virtually drunk dry, which just illustrates how hard these Merlin sailors can party as well as sail!

62 Merlin Rockets thunder across Blithfield Reservoir

Sunday dawned gloomy and rainy, with a falling wind. An excellent call by the race officer postponed the first races for 2 hours, allowing the two final races to be set in a light breeze, which held until the final competitors came ashore.

It was so nice to see that a non-commercial club, such as Blithfield can pull together to run an event to such a high standard that would put so many professional outfits to shame – many thanks to all involved.

Oh yes, almost forgot. Richard Whitworth and Ellie Bremer, sailing 3670 Filthy/Gorgeous, are the 2006 Merlin Rocket Inland Champions, with close racing taking the decider down to the final race.

Special thanks to our sponsors; Dunoon Mugs, Florette, Speed Sails and the Burton Bridge Brewery.

Report: Tim Male
Photos: Don Stokes
See also:
    full results
    more photos

A local artist, Sheila Godfrey, did a painting of the racing. The actual size of the framed print is 18" x 10" (the frame 1.25" flat pine) The prints are open-ended, (not limited edition) and cost is £55 plus £6.95 P+P. To order, please contact her on 01283 840771/ 07989 568582 (delivery is approx 3-4 weeks).