The 2021 Merlin Rocket National Championships
Published 12:38 on 1 Sep 2021
The 2021 Merlin Rocket National Championships were held in North Berwick at East Lothian Yacht Club. Given the last 18 months, this was the first opportunity for a Champs in 2 years and the competition was strong.
Two Itchenor boats made the long journey up, Tim Saxton & Mary Henderson had been a form boat all season with the new pairing getting stronger and stronger each event, whilst Ben Saxton & George Yeoman teamed up again for the first time since they won the event in 2015.
It wasnt going to be plain sailing, with double National Champions Christian Birrell & Sam Breary looking for a three-peat, and recently crowned 49er Olympic Champion and multiple Merlin Champ Stu Bithell was back sailing with Tom Pygall and a host of other big names, including Andy Taxi Davies & Pip Kilsby, Taxi having just won the Solo nationals.
After a long week of challenging conditions, tight racing and a day called off to high winds, the one discard series had Itchenor showing well! Ben & George recovered from a tough start to the week to finish 3rd and Tim & Mary finished 5th (first boat who hadnt previously won the Champs). With only 2 boats, we couldnt quite get to the team prize but with Tom Ballentine & Rob Allen waiting in the wings for another champs we are looking good for the team prize in the future. Not bad for a club that has only a recent history in Merlins, and has had the recruitment drive impacted by Covid, but looks good for the future! Itchenor is definitely living up to the name of the little club that can!
Yachts and yachting report:
Last updated 12:38 on 1 September 2021