Merlins + Salcombe = Merlin Rocket Week

The coming weekend will see 240 Merlin sailors plus family and friends descend on Salcombe YC for Merlin Rocket Week 8 - 13 July 2018

The event is once again generously sponsored by Sharp’s Doom Bar, who will keep the sailors refreshed, together with new Merlin class sponsor Magic Marine who are providing prizes throughout the fleet.

The forecast a few days out looks like high pressure will dominate for the majority of the week. Sunshine will be in abundance and winds will be in the Easterly quadrant and building over the first few days.

So long as they remain in the E to ENE direction, this will give good breeze all the way down through the town, where spectators can expect lots of action, particularly as the wind builds.

Hopefully the wind will not slip around to the dreaded SE where the race track can become a lottery.

Who to look out for . . . First up on Sunday morning with be Red v Green.

Pick of the bunch must be Mike and Jane Calvert who are Salcombe specialists. Another previous winner, William Warren is back with a brand new boat and crew, Maddy Anderson, and will be super competitive.

We also expect big things from Caroline Croft and Matt Lulham-Robinson who have been sailing beautifully on the circuit.

We can add to these talents the expert skills of multi-champion Roger and Jane Gilbert and the Top Gun Olly Turner and super crew Holly Scott.

If this wasn’t competitive enough there is also local young star Peter Ballantine sailing Speed Machine with Rob Allen.

Last but not least we have the wild card surprise newcomer. Another multi-champion team, Mike Budd and long term crew Greabo, are throwing their hats in the ring for the first time with a new boat.

And of course defending champions Tim Fells and Fran Gifford in Green flight.

They will be up against Chris’s Gould and Kilsby and Matt Biggs/Beka Jones, both teams at the top of their games out on the ST circuit and proven winners in Salcombe.

A wild card coming from Green fleet will be the super talented Jason Andrews who has teamed up with I14 god Zeb Elliot in the hope of reprising their 2017 Lark Masters win in Salcombe.

Sunday afternoon will see the first outing of our favourites for the title, which we believe will again be Andy Davis and Alex Warren.

Taxi and Alex are in Blue Fleet and will be challenged hard by Christian Birrell who has been on fire around the ST circuit and now has enough Salcombe experience under his belt to understand the playbook.

Blue looks quite tasty as it also features four-time winner Dave Winder who together with son Oli look to be a real force, Tim Saxton and Jodie Green who won at Aldeburgh and the ‘sister act’ Jenny Dodds and Pippa Kilsby who have the speed and experience to challenge for honours.

Black fleet is going to be interesting with a battle royal likely between three top teams.

Two times winner and perennial front runner Simon Blake, this year crewed by Phil Dalby, returns with the Superfast Jellyfish.

We also expect Simon and Ali Potts to be right back in the action if they can manage their mobile nursing duties and for Alex Jackson and Mark Oakey to be fighting for race wins in their new ship.

And sometime during the week, someone will have avoided all the many opportunities to get it wrong, will think “this is going rather well” and will go on to be crowned the 2018 champions.

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