This event was supported by the CVRDA (Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association) and the MROA (Merlin Rocket Owners Association) with the Merlin results counting towards the DeMay Trophy.
Sailors came from as far a field as the South coast, London, Somerset, Derbyshire, and Norfolk, with 4 boats from Banbury sailing Club.
16 boats took part, 7 of them Merlin’s which included ‘Kate’ No1, and ‘Gently’ No 16 (Jack Holts own original Merlin recently restored By Chris Barlow and Mervyn Allen), built in 1945 and 1946 respectively, 3 Classic boats from the 60’s and 2 slightly wider 1970’s boats, the newest being ‘Nitro’ No.2972 built in 1975. The rest of the fleet was made up of 2 Moths, 1 Mirror, 1 GP14, an Enterprise, an Albacore, a Wayfarer, a Jollyboat, and a very unusual Toy.
We had pleasant sunny weather but unfortunately an Easterly breeze which blows across the reservoir. This was very patchy and fluky with many shifts and some strong gusts making the sailing extremely challenging.
The racing was dominated by the Moths of Ian Marshall and Lyndon Beasley who took 1st and 2nd place respectively. Excellent work by Philip and Amy Wilson in their Enterprise earned them 4th place overall while close competition between the Merlins made exciting racing for the DeMay Trophy. Richard and Alex Pausey in the beautiful ‘Robin Hood’ were 1st Merlin and 3rd overall winning the Banbury Plaque, and Nick Crickmore in ‘Nitro’ was a very worthy 2nd with the help of local crew Andy Darby. They were 5th overall. Top Banbury boat was Merlin ‘Ten-Sixty-Six’ sailed by Tim Bury and Pat Kuenzler ending up 7th overall and 3rd in the DeMay competition.
Merlin No.1 ‘Kate’ helmed by Mervyn Allen with Lora Stock unfortunately had to retire at the end of the first race due to a cracked rudder pintel, and after a late arrival the Jollyboat of Chris Wood and Clare Nicholson only competed in the last race.
Many made a weekend of it by camping at the club. They enjoyed evening entertainment with a Bavarian theme. The Oompah band got the place rocking and everyone involved with lots of fooling around. Ian’s knobbly knees and Andy’s ape dance were highlights! We all had hoarse throats and ringing ears for the rest of the weekend. It was great fun!
On Sunday 5 visiting boats and Merlin 1066 joined in the regular club races to round off the weekend. These old boats can still be competitive as 1066 was on fine form and comfortably beat a modern Merlin Rocket, with carbon fibre rig, sailed by a great rival in the club racing.
Thank you to all visitors and PDO Dave Glanville and duty team for helping to make this such a great event. Special thanks to Pat Kuenzler for organising it, and providing the excellent lunch, with the invaluable help of Myrtle Darby in the galley, maintaining Banbury’s reputation for good food!
Many thanks to Pat and Tim and all at Banbury for a welcoming and friendly weekend.
Here are the results