Merlin Rocket Championships 2017
12-18 August


Plas Heli and Pwllheli sailing club

Plas Heli

Plas Heli

Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club moved to its new home in July 2015 – the fifth home since being established in 1958.

Co-located with the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Event Centre in Plas Heli, the club occupies the upper floor of the new iconic building with its contemporary design and layout. Members and guests benefit from the superb Plas Heli facilities including restaurant, bar and the popular summer beach café bar with balconies and sea views.

The Welsh National Sailing Academy opened its doors in 2015 and for those who remember 2007, the old club house is still across the dinghy park so you will be able to rekindle fond memories. Why are we taking the fleet back to Pwllheli, here’s what Richard Anderton (Event Manager Fireball Worlds 2015) had to say:

Plas Heli

Plas Heli

“Bringing the Fireball worlds to the UK meant that we had to offer the international fleet a prestigious venue that could excel on event management, delivery, and value for money. Plas Heli stood out as being the best option. Having made the decision, the club were a pleasure to work with – Nothing was too much trouble, and their previous experience in organising large events shone through. Delivery lived up to expectation, Plas Heli ran a world class event – handling  day to day issues seamlessly and extending a very warm welcome to competitors and visitors alike.”

If you are still in doubt, ask Pat Blake. He learned to sail here.


Pwllheli town

The centre of Pwllheli is just a pleasant 10 minute stroll away from the club, along a very pedestrian and child friendly promenade lining the inside wall of the harbour. For Gold Fleet and the fitness conscious, at most this will be a 5 minute run and even quicker by bike. For Bronze Fleet sailors it will be a 2 minute drive into town.

The Lleyn Peninsula’s ‘capital’ fills many roles – seaside resort with fine blue banner beach, busy market town with art galleries and very popular sailing and watersports centre with one of the best modern marinas in the UK. Hafan Pwllheli gives access to the inviting sailing waters of Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea. See the wildlife – seals, seabirds and dolphins – on coastal cruises. Excellent leisure centre to keep the kids entertained, along with activity-packed Glasfryn Parc. Penarth Fawr medieval house nearby.




Snowdonia Activities



Please complete an entry form and return it with payment to Colin Brockbank, by post or email (details are on the form).

Before completing your entry form you may want to have a look at the fleet allocation below.

Entry is £180, with 50% discount for youth sailors (25 and under), older Merlin’s (3571 and older), and first time helms who have never competed before at our Nationals (as helm or crew).




Entries so far


Boat and crew matching service

Those not attending the Nationals but would be willing to lend their boat to a competent helm and crew, or those looking to borrow a boat, please contact

Also, if you are a crew looking for a helm, or a helm looking for a crew, please also get in touch and we’ll see if we can help.

For the right team, we have the offer of 2 potential front of the fleet boats. Interested? Contact me with your bids and I will put you in touch with the owners.

Short of a crew? Also contact me. We may be able to sort fit, active, lightweight and enthusiastic crews from the NSSA. Again, contact me as soon as possible and we will see what we can do.



This year we will again be running gold, silver and bronze fleets. All competitors race together for the championship in the normal way and this is for subsidiary trophies and prizes.

As a guide for which fleet to enter:

The Gold fleet will include those who;

  • have finished in the top 20 of any national championships (with an entry of more than 40)
  • have finished in the top 15 of any national championships (with an entry of less than 40)
  • have finished in the top 30 at any Salcombe Merlin week
  • have finished in the top 10 of a Merlin Rocket Open meeting in recent years
  • are considered a professional sailor

The Silver Fleet will include those who;

  • do not qualify for the Gold fleet
  • have finished between 21 – 30 in any national championship (with an entry of more than 40)
  • have finished between 16 – 30 in any national championship (with an entry of less than 40)
  • have finished between 31 – 70 at any Salcombe Merlin week
  • have finished in the top 30 of a Merlin Rocket Open meeting (with an entry of more than 40)

The Bronze Fleet will include those who;

  • do not qualify for the Gold or Silver fleet

You can select your preference of fleet but ultimately the decision is at the Organising Committee’s discretion.



Registration and scrutineering

Competitors briefing

Commodores Reception *

Late Registration

Race 1

Sunday Carvery (buy tickets on Entry Form or at Registration)

Races 2 & 3

Curry Night Supper*

Live Band (to be confirmed)

Race 4 & Crews’ Race

Italian Night Supper*

Fancy dress & disco. Theme: Dress as we were in the ‘70s

Races 5 & 6

Crew’s Union followed by disco

Fish and Chip Supper*

Race 7 – Ranelagh Trophy

Pie and Pudding Supper (2-course. Buy tickets on Entry Form or at Registration)

Champagne Prizegiving

Live Entertainment – Junior Parker (saxophonist and blues singer)

Races 8 & 9

Championship Prizegiving

Live band (tbc)

* 2 tickets for Commodore’s Reception, Curry, Pasta and Pasty Suppers included in Entry Fee. Additional tickets available at Registration.



It is with great pleasure that we introduce Alan and Sarah Woosey and Aspire Financial Services who will be our sponsors for 2017. Not only have Aspire provided welcome financial support for our Nationals but Alan (founder and owner of Aspire) is also looking forward to actively competing at Pwllheli. Not to be left out, Sarah has been providing valuable assistance with local advice and know-how. She already arranged accommodation for some of our fleet and is actively chasing down live bands for our evening festivities.

Having been introduced to Alan by Simon Potts, we are delighted to welcome Alan and Sarah into the Merlin fold.

In Alan’s words,

“I am looking forward to being reunited with many friends that I have sailed with for many years and have fond memories of the RS400 Nationals at Pwllheli in 2001.

As well as sailing the RS fleet, we also sail sports boat class particularly 1720s and SP3s but we have always had a leaning towards dinghy racing

For the first time I will be crewing in a Merlin Rocket with my friend Phil (Dirty Hands) and I’m sure it will be less stressful than down the last 15 years that I’ve sailed with Pottsy and on the odd occasion with Specky (Nick Craig).

I must say that I was pleased to have not been in the boat with Pottsy at last year’s sailing nationals when he had 3 collisions at the one mark!

It’s fabulous to be able to sponsor the 2017 Merlin Rocket Nationals at my home club Pwllheli and to be able to put something back into the sport that has given me lots of fun, challenges and smiles.”

For those of you who don’t recognise the name, Aspire is a Northwest based financial services company that provides advice to individuals and companies to help improve their financial plans. They are experts in their field and their aim is to build close working relationships with their clients to ensure they achieve financial goals through their journey in life.

Aspire have expanded across the UK with over 70 highly accomplished and experienced advisors. Coming from different financial backgrounds, their advisors have many different areas of expertise to ensure that they can deliver the whole solution to their clients; both individual and businesses, from pension planning to mortgage services.

Whilst delivering localised and personal advice for each individual, Aspire maintains excellent and consistent service to their clients. They are also dedicated to developing young talent, providing jobs and training across the UK within the financial service industry.

Find out more by visiting their website:


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