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CraftInsure Merlin Rocket Vintage and Classic open meeting at Tamesis Club

by Tamesis Club 2 Jun 2022 13:47 PDT 21 May 2022
CraftInsure Merlin Rocket Vintage and Classic open meeting at Tamesis © TSC

Vintage Merlin sailing is a dichotomy of pride in appearance versus competitive racing, and this was apparent in the array of vintage Merlin Rockets lined up on the lawn at Tamesis for the CraftInsure Vintage & Classic Open on Saturday 21st May 2022.

The Concours d'elegance ranged in style from the Dinghy Show-polished Adur 7, Hullaballoo of Rob Cage, through the assorted weaponized Proctor 9B's to a rather sad-looking 607 Crescendo newly purchased and currently complete with duct tape around the bow.

On Saturday the wind sadly decided to show its flakiest side with Surrey v Middlesex holes shifting around all over the place.

With four races scheduled, battle duly commenced with local spoilsports Andy Harris, Matty Key, and Crescendo leading the way in race 1 with visitor Rob Cage, circuit supremo in second place.

For those following behind the ever-looming mid-fleet bunch would swallow you up at will and spit you out the back several times a race. Mid-fleet boats were changing places constantly as they took a mindful breath and climbed the ladder again.

Race 2 saw the polished hull of Hullabaloo slip away from the pack, chased by Crescendo but pipped for second by Stuart Jenkins & Nicola Scadden sailing 723 Cindy on handicap taking advantage of their metal mast. Both races were sailed in fitful conditions with strong gusts interspersed with patches of calm allowing the leading boat to gain the advantage by reaching the new wind first. As ever, the rich get richer.

For those further back and finding a notch of boatspeed it was rewarding to play the gaps and shifts back through the fleet but to only ever scrape at the heels of the leading boats in whatever order was exhausting.

After a fabulous barbecue lunch which had a massive thumbs up from all competitors, the afternoon racing got under way. In much the same conditions the results followed the morning sequence with another win for the local lads in Crescendo.

However, with four races there was still a chance for Rob Cage and he duly obliged by snaffling up the result in a last race of snakes and ladders that saw fortunes lost and found on every leg of each lap. Second place was Ollie Houseman & Harriet Sandall, with Chris Martin & Ian Pratt in third.

Congratulations to Rob & Hatty Cage first overall, Andy Harris & Matty key in second overall, and Ollie Houseman & Harriet Sandall in third.

The on-the-water competitive spirit was relaxed, and the breakfast and lunch were wonderful. There was no doubt everyone had a fabulous day and Tamesis, yet again, excelled in very positively demonstrating itself as a fun and friendly place to race.

The next event in the Merlin Rocket is Fishers Green on Sunday 28th May, followed by Draycote on 16th July. More information on

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stHullabalou1692Rob CageHatty CageThames SC‑21214
2ndCrescendo607Andrew HarrisMatty KeyTamesis131‑85
3rdLuka3560Ollie HousemanHarriet SandallChew Valley Lake3‑4328
4thLady Anne1978Joe McLaughlinSean RobertsTamesis4‑54412
5thCindy723Stuart JenkinsNicola ScaddanHampton SC/UTSC525‑6.512
6thBlonde on Blonde2805Chris Martinlan PrattThames SC67‑8316
7thChimp1357David BakerJim GreenTamesis7‑96518
8thBambusa847Peter MasonRichard MasonTamesis‑8676.519.5
9thMasquerade995Matthew Peregrine‑ JonesArthur Peregrine‑ JonesTamesis‑1089926
10thAvenger1004Ken DuffleMatt ValentineTamesis91010(DNS)29

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