Greta Plowman, 99¾ not out!
“My wonderful grandmother Greta Plowman will turn 100 this May!
Back in the 1970’s she and my grandfather Piers built and then sailed their wooden Wayfarer ‘Sea Urchin’ (W1981) along the canals of England, the coast of Britain and as their confidence grew, the Friesian and Baltic coasts.
I grew up hearing stories about being quarantined in Gdynia harbour during the Solidarity strike; of Sea Urchin being stoved-in by a large cruiser in a tiny Dutch harbour; hitching a ride back to England on a Polish freighter; and of nearly sinking in Jack Sound, off Skomer, when wind against tide created ferocious overfalls! They were contemporaries and friends of the Dyes but mostly favoured a gentler style of cruising!
Greta may have aged since those adventures but this has not dimmed her sense of fun and adventure. In her 99th year she has just tried indoor climbing for the very first time. Sea Urchin (W1981), who incidentally is celebrating her 60th birthday this year, is still going strong too and is being sailed by the third and fourth generation of Plowmans.
I am looking for any Wayfarer Association members who may have known Greta as we are hoping to bring together friends from her past and we would very much like to recognise and incorporate her sailing achievements into her 100th birthday celebrations in May.
If anyone remembers her fondly and would like to attend please do get in touch [[email protected]]. Equally if you have anyone has any photos of her, Piers, or ‘Sea Urchin’ I would be hugely grateful if you would be willingly to share these.”
-Fay Kenworthy (Greta’s granddaughter)
Revised NoR for NC & Tr Series Races
Classified Ad Shenanigans
– Web Team
RYA Dinghy Show Promo Video
UKWA members will be aware that our AGM is to be held on Saturday 2nd March at the same venue, at 4pm. More details via the top menu, AGM button.
CraftInsure National Circuit and Travellers’ Series 2019 – amended Notice of Race
Many thanks to P& B who join our other supporters of the prize draw, CraftInsure, McNamara Sails, Hartley Boats and Allen Brothers. Remember, in order to have a chance of winning a prize you need to have competed in at least two of the National Circuit and Travellers’ Series events. If you compete in two events, your sail number will go in the hat; if you compete in three events, your sail number will go in the hat twice (increasing your chances of winning a prize) and so on.
Please support the Craftinsure National Circuit and Travellers’ Series in 2019; the racing is competitive and is held at terrific sailing venues, often with brilliant socials; and at the end of the season you could win a new genoa, or a year’s boat insurance, or some other great prizes.
Internationals Bookings Page Now Live
As usual, full details will be available here on the UKWA website as they become available. (The green/blue Internationals logo near the top of the front page will remain linked to the UKWA event page throughout the lead-up to this summer’s championship).
Ullswater Dates Confirmed
To help improve communication this year, we have set up a public Facebook page to keep everyone up to date. Please do follow us and share our page, linked here.
We would also like to use the FB page to share videos and pictures from the Gathering and helpful tips for new sailors. If you have anything from previous years we would love to display them. ...read more
The aim of the Gathering is to promote family sailing and get people of all ages onto the water. Sailing with us can be a springboard onto more adventurous sailing in less sheltered water, or simply an opportunity for fellowship in an outstandingly beautiful location with the wind (and perhaps a little rain) in your face.
Everything is optional, value for money is exceptional!
Please contact Mark and Julie at [email protected] for more information and to make your booking.
Twin Spinnaker Poles Video
The page currently lists 8 videos, all relevant to Wayfarer sailing.
2019 AGM documentation
The AGM itself is to be held during the RYA Dinghy Show, Room Palm Court 5, Alexandra Palace, London, on Saturday 2 March, doors open: 15.30 hrs, meeting begins: 16.00 hrs. Please do join us on the day, especially if you are attending the Dinghy Show. If you are a member and would like a hard copy posted to you (or if you know of such a person), please send an A4 large letter SAE to: Sarah Burgess, UKWA, PO Box 10687, Colchester, CO5 8XJ
Classified Ads – Caution
Also, if you have been contacted by someone with the email address [email protected] please do not reply – he is not a genuine buyer.
International Rally update
UKWA Annual General Meeting 2019
Doors open: 15.30 hrs Meeting begins: 16.00 hrs.
Full agenda and other details have now been published. ...read more
We will be having our own stand during the Dinghy Show for the weekend in the West Corridor with demonstrations on reefing and putting up a boat tent both mornings and afternoons. Monica Schaefer, our Irish Rep and Marketing Officer, will be giving a presentation on the Class Association Stand at 12:30 on the Sunday.
Discounted tickets for the show may be purchased from the website linked via the adjacent RYA show logo. We would be delighted to see you there.
However, if you are unable to make the Show itself, you do not need to enter the Show to be able attend our AGM.
Please see the AGM section on this website for further details.
If you have not been receiving our monthly eNewsletter, please ensure the Secretary has your correct email address: email: [[email protected]]
Cruising Conference 2019
It’s a popular event – get your application in early!
Wayfarer Class Racing Review 2018
2018 has seen another good year of racing for the Wayfarer Class. The programme included class racing at several large and well established summer regattas as well as a wide ranging schedule of domestic championships and open meetings headlined by the 60th Anniversary National Championships which were hosted by Castle Cove SC during the first weekend of June. ...read more
The season began with the Inland Championships at Datchet SC at the beginning of April with a strong fleet enjoying close racing in ideal conditions on the Saturday. Unfortunately, there was no racing the following day because of a lack of wind and the event was won by Michael McNamara/Simon Townsend from Andrew/Tom Wilson.
The next big event was to be the Western Area Championships hosted by Shoreham SC but sadly the Club was unable to host the event because its new ramp was still in build and the decision was sensibly taken to reschedule the event. Locks SC/Tudor SC/Langstone SC kindly agreed to include the event as part of the Langstone Harbour Race Weekend over the August Bank Holiday later in the year.
As a consequence of the rescheduling of the Westerns the second big event on the UKWA Calendar was the National Championships where 40 boats including visitors from Ireland competed in some very close racing over three days. The weather wasn’t playing ball with the programme as the first two days badly affected by fog while desperately light winds on the final day curtailed the schedule. The race committee and host club worked very hard nonetheless to put on an excellent event. Cream generally rises to the top and the Championships were won (for the umpteenth time) by Michael McNamara/Simon Townsend with Len Jones/Pete Mitchell runners up.
Next up was the Eastern Area Championships hosted by Waldringfield SC at the end of July. This was another event affected by the wind conditions (too much this time) as little more than half the 17 entries actually raced and only 5 boats managed to complete the three races sailed. Nevertheless the fleet had an enjoyable weekend with a BBQ and social on the Saturday evening. The event was won convincingly by Andrew/Tom Wilson with Roger Challis/Mark Johnston pipping Brian Lamb/Sam Pygall to second place.
The end of August saw the rescheduled Western Area Championships but an appalling weather forecast (which proved to be spot on) on the Sunday deterred most travellers. Again no racing was possible on Sunday but good racing was enjoyed on Saturday. The event was won by Bill Whitney/John Shelton who shared the race wins with Paul Hughes/Tracey Villa who finished in second place.
The fleet progressed then to the Southern Area Championships hosted this year by Medway YC, and the largest turnout of the year outside the National Championships with over 20 boats competing. The weather gods were kind on both days allowing the full schedule of six races to be completed in winds of 12-20mph. The racing was dominated by Andrew/Tom Wilson who won from Bill Whitney/John Shelton.
All of the above events formed part of the Craftinsure sponsored National Circuit and Travellers Series along with open meetings at West Oxfordshire SC (combined with the class Junior Championships which were won by Sam Cannell) and at Swarkestone SC, a new venue for the class. The Series was brought to an end by the Finale at Bough Beech SC at the beginning of November.
Going into the Finale Andrew/Tom Wilson held a narrow lead in both the NCS and the Travellers but could be caught in the NCS where a boat’s best three results from the eight designated Travellers events count provided at lease one fresh water and one salt water events are included. In the event Andrew and Tom had a difficult weekend in deepest Kent finishing 8th overall, their worst result of the year by a considerable margin. Michael McNamara/Simon Townsend won the open meeting and pipped Andrew and Tom for the NCS Cup by the narrowest of margins. Bill Whitney crewed by Lisa Whitney/John Shelton rounded off the podium. The Travellers Series Trophy was won by Andrew and Tom from Bill and Lisa/John with Brian Lamb/Sam Pygall finishing in third. Over 70 boats competed in at least one of the Travellers events and 14 boats competed in three or more and qualified for the NCS. As ever we are grateful to our sponsors, Craftinsure along with McNamara Sails and Hartley Boats who all generously support the end of season draw with prizes of free insurance, a new sail and an undercover as well as other goodies.
More detailed racing reports are available at wayfarer.org.uk/racing/race-results
The National Circuit and Travellers Series form only part of the UKWA racing programme. In addition to the events above, the Scottish Championships were hosted by Loch Lomond SC and won by Fergus Duncannon and David Sparkes. The Irish Inland Championships were won by Gordon Jess and Rachel Bevan at Culluan WSC. There was a good entry of Wayfarers at Poole Week in August, and the L’Escargot Trophy at Aldeburgh, and the Wayfarer fleets at Bourne End Week and the Medway Dinghy Regatta were also well supported. Hickling Broad SC hosted its inaugural Wayfarer open meeting at the beginning of September when a small fleet enjoyed good racing. Club racing is also important. The Wayfarer performs well on handicap (just look at the results of the Wayfarer sailed by Andrew/Tom Wilson in the SailJuice Winter Series in 2017/18) but there is also good quality one design racing every week at several clubs, not least Medway YC in Kent and Parkstone YC in Poole Harbour.
Abroad, a number of the UK based boats travelled to Assens in SE Denmark for the European Championships. Although numerically the fleet was modest, it was strong and included sailors with Olympic and America’s Cup experience, Olympic triallists and those with championship successes both in the Wayfarer and other classes. The event was sailed over four days which increased as the week went on. On the final couple of days only half the fleet ventured out to race because of the conditions but those who watched from the shore were treated to a masterclass in boat handling by the teams at the front. Eventually it became a shootout between Michael McNamara/Simon Townsend and Mogens Just/Anders Friis from Denmark (the reigning Wayfarer International Champions). McNamara/Townsend did enough to win but no doubt battle will be resumed between these two and the other top teams at the next International Championships which will be held at Greystones SC in Co. Wicklow, Ireland from 20th-26th July 2019.
What were the highlights of the racing year? Not the weather, that’s for sure. However, numbers competing in the Travellers Series have held up well and we have seen several sailors from other classes trying out a Wayfarer this year and then buying one and racing it keenly. The quality of the racing and the boat handling at the front end of the fleet was excellent again, but wherever you are in the pecking order you will find somebody to race against. Above all, the Wayfarer is a friendly class, with the people at the front prepared to willingly share their knowledge and experience throughout the fleet especially with those new to it and this seems to be a feature of the class not only on the circuit but at club level too. The socials are pretty good too.
Aside from the International Championships at Greystones SC in July 2019 there’s another busy racing programme for this terrific all-rounder. Find out more about the Wayfarer at wayfarer.org.uk
2019 Racing Calendar
The Wilsonian River Challenge is a new event and forms part of the Great British Sailing Challenge – essentially a year round extension of the SailJuice Winter Series, which has been running for the last decade. More details of the GBSC can be found here. We understand the Wilsonian River Challenge will take the place of the annual Medway Dinghy Regatta (which has been deleted from the Racing Calendar) and is likely to be well supported by Wayfarers because of the Wilsonian SC’s own Wayfarers and the fleet at nearby Medway YC.
The open meeting at Hickling Broad SC is a one day event which was run for the first time in 2018. If you are keen to compete in an open meeting and come from the Broads area or East Anglia or don’t feel you are ready yet for the National Circuit Series I would commend this event to you. In 2018 it was friendly, relaxed, and was sailed on a beautiful nature reserve – what’s not to like?
(The National Circuit and Travellers Series events are highlighted in yellow on the racing calendar).
W198 Nipegegi – Round Britain 2019
Their vessel of choice is of course a Wayfarer and they are working very hard on their beloved MK1 ‘Nipegegi’ W198 over the winter, with the hope of her emerging in the spring like a new boat and ready for further trials before Will and Rich’s provisional start date of the 7th June 2019.
If you’d like to find more about the project check out their website at nipegegiroundbritain.com – it’s full of content detailing all aspects of the attempt, including their 1/5 round Britain summer trial and a link to their new tracking site containing the finalised round Britain route, which incidentally is also the outline of their logo.
While wishing Will and Rich every success with their circumnavigation, the UKWA wishes to emphasise the degree of difficulty envisaged in this trip and to remind non Wayfarer sailing people who may visit our website not to expect to be able to just buy a Wayfarer and do the same trip.
2018 Season Finale at Bough Beech SC
The Wayfarer Finale sailed at Bough Beech SC over the weekend of 10/11 November 2018 proved to be a fitting end to the UKWA’s racing programme for the year. Eighteen teams congregated in the dinghy park on Saturday morning just in time for rain to ease. The forecast was for a SSW breeze on both days, perfect for the orientation of the lake; at 16-25 mph on Saturday and 18-30 mph on Sunday. In the event the wind was lighter than forecast on both days although there were some juicy gusts on Sunday which troubled a few boats.
The open meeting was billed as the winner-takes-all shootout to decide the Craftinsure National Circuit Series between Andrew and Tom Wilson who had led the series for many months and Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend, the only crew with a chance of catching them. As usual, a strong fleet had assembled at Bough Beech and there were several boats looking to win the open meeting if not the overall series. Andrew and Tom did all they could. They led the fleet at the first mark in all four races. However, the gods conspired against them and eventually it was Michael and Simon who enjoyed a clean sweep of wins and with them victory in the open meeting and in the National Circuit Series. ...read more
Race 2, sailed after lunch in similar conditions, saw a race long battle royale between Andrew and Tom and Michael and Simon with the lead changing hands on several occasions. At the end of the race it was Michael and Simon who led by a short head. Third place in this race was taken by Bill Whitney and John Shelton. Competition was fierce throughout the fleet with several boats in close formation during the whole race and several calls for rights, especially at rounding marks.
The fleet dodged the showers on Saturday but there was heavy rain overnight and the forecast of stronger winds and showers on Sunday. Andrew and Tom could still win the event but needed to win the two final races. The wind appeared to be stronger than the previous day. A few teams dropped their rigs back a notch and everybody spent the day adjusting rig and vang tension to suit the gusts and lulls. Race 3 was another close one with Andrew and Tom and Michael and Simon vying for the lead. Once again Michael and Simon were leading when the fat lady sang, this time with Guy Marks and Mel Titmuss completing the podium. David Roberts and Tinu Cornish were the only casualties in this race after a collision, but fortunately no damage was done and they were able to compete in the final race.
With the event won, Race 4 was going to be for pride and the minor places. The race started in increasing winds with some new faces near the front including Mark and Jane Lee who were well placed until they came a cropper in the biggest rain squall of the day on the second beat. Andrew and Tom Wilson were also doing well until Andrew fell out of the boat taking his tiller extension with him (adding a DNF to their earlier OCS). Once again Michael and Simon took the lead to the finish although they were chased hard by Guy and Mel and Brian and Sam.
Michael and Simon therefore won the Bough Beech Finale and with it the National Circuit Series while Andrew and Tom consoled themselves by winning the Travellers Trophy. At the prize giving, Michael McNamara thanked Bough Beech SC for their hospitality and race management.
(This report complete with full table of results can be found on the Racing Results page)
Bough Beech Finale – interim summary
Full report now live…
Day 1 at the Bough Beech Finale
Top six at the end of the first day:
1st McNamara/Townsend, (2 points)
2nd Martin and Donna Rouse-Collen 8)
3rd Marks/Titmus (8)
4th Whitney/Shelton (9)
5th Brian Lamb/Sam Pygall (10)
6th Richard Stone/Catherine Gore (12)
The Wilsons are languishing in an unaccustomed 11th overall but two great results tomorrow could still see them in with a chance of victory.
Wayfarer Open (The Finale) at Bough Beech SC (preview)
With apologies to John Clare for ruining his perfectly good poem about Autumn! ...read more
I love the fitful gusts that shakes
the clubhouse all the day
And from the mossy elm tree takes
The faded leaf away
Twirling it by the dinghy park
With thousands others past the Solo and the Lark
I love to see the shaking twig
Dance till the shut of eve
The sparrow on the Wayfarer rig
Whose chirps would make believe
That springtime was now flirting by
In summers lap with flowers to lie
I love to see the cottage smoke
Curl upwards through the naked trees
The sailors huddled in their coats
On dull November days like these
Through mist and rain crews rig their boats
And wish they’d had their porridge oats
I love to see the noisy start
As flapping sails become white wings
The fleet spreads itself apart
The leaders trim and ease their strings
The also-rans swim where they fall
The patient race team wait for all.
After a sailing season which has spanned Spring to Autumn, the Craftinsure Wayfarer Class National Circuit and Travellers Series comes to a head at Bough Beech SC this weekend (10/11 November) as the sailors wait to see who will be crowned National Circuit (best three results from eight including one fresh water and one salt water event) and Travellers Series (best results of eight events) champions for 2018.
As the poem suggests, Bough Beech usually delivers the full range of autumnal weather with at least one windy (or v windy) day. Rarely do we get anything as straightforward as a whole weekend of mellow fruitfulness. This means that we usually get a day for the crews who enjoy the light and flukes and a day for crews who are strong and brave.
The racing will be close as always but when the boats are packed away during the Sunday dusk for their journeys home, the fleet will gather in the warmth of the clubhouse for three prize givings; for the open meeting itself; for the National Circuit and Travellers Series; and for the prize draw (this year’s prizes include a new genoa from McNamara Sails, an undercover from Hartley Boats and insurance from Craftinsure – all our generous sponsors).
Who has podium potential? The Travellers Series seems pretty much stitched up but the Circuit Series could go down to the wire although Andrew and Tom Wilson from Datchet (current Southern and Eastern Area Champions) are in the box seat at present. Others to watch include Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend (current European, Inland and National Champions), locals Guy Marks (National Champion in 2015) and Mel Titmus, Bill Whitney and John Shelton from Shoreham (perennially at or near the top and current Western Area Champions), John Clementson from Chipstead (multiple Graduate Champion and former Mirror Champion) and Brian Lamb and Sam Pygall from Wilsonian (former National Circuit and Travellers Series winners). My guess is that the winners will come from one of these.
There are some wild cards too including Martin and Donna Collen from Upper Thames, making a return to the fleet after a summer racing their cruiser, Richard Stone and Catherine Gore from Medway, who will pray hard for light breezes and Brian and Liz McKenzie also from Medway who proved to be good all-rounders at the European Championships earlier in the year.
–Tim Townsend (and John Clare)
Bough Beech SC Craftinsure NCS Season Finale
(The document should begin downloading automatically if you click on the blue linked text).
Craftinsure National Circuit Round 7 at Swarkstone SC (report)
A small but select fleet of Wayfarers sailors met at Swarkestone SC, just south of Derby, for their inaugural Wayfarer Open Meeting over the weekend of 6/7 October 2018. This was also event seven of the Craftinsure National Circuit and Travellers Series.
The wind was cold and from the North (not the best direction for the lake). It was also very wet, both the journey and rigging the boat. The good news is that the wind was not as venomous as forecast and the welcome was warm.
The course to be sailed was an upside down W with a shortish beat in the best wind on the lake from the start and included a long reach along the south shore where judicious use of the spinnaker would sometimes pay off.
Three races were sailed on Saturday afternoon, all won by the Wilsons. Brian Lamb/Sam Pygall lay second overnight with Mike and Carl Weighill in third. Second to fifth places were close overnight, so all was to play for with two races scheduled for Sunday.
The fleet enjoyed a very good meal, free beer and live music in the clubhouse on Saturday evening before dispersing to their various camper vans, motorhomes and hotels. ...read more
Sunday dawned as a frosty crisp morning with mist rolling over the water, picture perfect but not so good for the sailing. The wind direction was from the west, a much better direction for the lake.
As the mist cleared so did any trace of the wind, leaving a mirror finish. With two races forecast the postponement flag was raised in the hope that the wind would return in time to complete the schedule.
A light but patchy westerly finally settled in and a shorter course was skilfully set by the race officers. Racing got underway, the decision when and when not to raise the kite in fluky conditions proved paramount.
Positions swapped at the front and gave Bill and Lisa a win in race 4 with Brian and Sam in second and the Wilsons in an out of character third.
By the start of the last race, the wind had shifted slightly south and a course change was made again. The Wilsons had the trophy in the bag, but the remaining podium places were open to three boats.
The new wind direction meant more shifty conditions, and anticipating direction changes on the approach to marks proved critical.
In the end Brian and Sam pipped the Whitneys to end up second overall and the Whitneys managed fourth and finished third overall.
Andrew Wilson thanked the race team for doing their best in difficult circumstances and on behalf of the visitors thanked Swarkestone for their warm welcome.
They walked away with the brand New Swarkestone S.C. Trophy (with lid!) and their name will be the first to be engraved for this new Wayfarer open.
Nobody left empty-handed, however due to the generosity of our sponsors. Hartley Boats donations included a buoyancy aid and jacket amongst other goodies. Craftinsure donated a host of burgees and waterproof bags. A raffle was held and everyone had a prize.
-Nigel O’Donnell and Tim Townsend
(N.B – version with results is on Racing Results page)
International Rally, September 2018 (report)
Report by Merrin Froggett:-
Wayfarer sailors from eight nations gathered in Norfolk last week for the Wayfarer International Rally 2018. Organiser and UK Wayfarer International Committee representative, Ralph Roberts, saw his target of 100 participants exceeded as 114 people took to the water in the fleet of 40 Wayfarers, one Norfolk half-decker and a cruiser making this the biggest ever Wayfarer International Rally.
It was a fitting climax to the season in which the centenary of designer Ian Proctor is being celebrated coinciding with the 60th anniversary of his design for the Wayfarer.
Sailors from USA, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and France joined with those from Ireland and the UK to experience the wetland habitat of the Norfolk Broads. The fleet relished the challenges presented by sailing twisting, narrow and reed lined rivers, tidal flows, low bridges, river traffic and sudden wind gusts between trees and buildings. ...read more
The event was based at Clippesby Hall and boats were berthed at Thurne. A selection of destinations each day ensured that the fleet dispersed but that the UKWA members and the visitors could enjoy sailing in company and sharing insights and experiences. Westerly winds made for fast passages to Hickling Broad and Horsey Mere but required determination (or a motor) for the return.
Some boats went down to Stokesby and swept back on the flood tide. Many snaked up the River Ant to How Hill visiting the wherry Hathor or went for a spin on Barton Broad. A succession of destination broads and villages along the River Bure made for shorter trips and cultural visits while most people visited Ludham Village and enjoyed the heritage of Hunter’s Yard at some time.
Norfolk pubs were particularly popular with the overseas visitors looking for authentic experiences and warm beer.
Off the water, a hog roast and a talk by a Broads Authority ranger kicked off the week which was followed by music making led by the Danish delegation. Michael McNamara came to demonstrate how to get the most out of your cruising boat and then hosted two evenings at his sail loft making up and finishing a Wayfarer genoa each time.
An evening of foot tapping music was provided by the Shanty Buoys from Lowestoft and the week ended with a dinner at Dunstan Hall, Norwich to which transport was provided by two Routemaster buses.
We were delighted to be joined by Ian Proctor’s son Roger, who spoke about his father and his remarkable lifetime designing boats and also presented special centenary awards to three Wayfarers who have made the Wayfarer Class or the International Wayfarer organisation and rallies the success they are today.
Southern Area Championship at Medway Yacht Club
For a good championship, you need some help from nature and fortunately, the weather was fair on the river Medway over the weekend of the 8-9th September for the Wayfarer Southern Area Championships hosted by the Medway Yacht Club and forming part of the Craftinsure National Circuit and Travellers Series.
Few boats had registered by the preceding week but by the Saturday morning, 22 had entered the event with a strong competitive fleet with missing only the current European and National Champion, Michael McNamara who was already committed to a local Wayfarer Rally in Norfolk.
Saturday dawned with bright skies and a WSW wind of between 10-18mph. Jamie Blair, the Race Officer and his team set a course in Long Reach past the site of the old and now demolished Kingsnorth Power Station. ...read more
The first start had to be stopped at 4 minutes as the wind flicked left giving excessive port bias to the line, but at the second attempt the fleet got under way in good order with the race being won by Andrew and Tom Wilson (Datchet), with Bill Whitney and John Shelton (Shoreham) and John Clementson and Paul Grace (Chipstead) second and third respectively. This race showed the eventual outcome of the championships as these three competitors had a most consistent set of results over the six race series to their credit. Simon Winn, by far the most senior racer in the fleet was going well despite the brisk conditions but capsized and with increasing winds, wisely did not compete further. All credit to him for entering the regatta in such windy conditions.
Race 2 got off to a clean start with Tim and Jacqueline Townsend (MYC) leading the way for most of the race but they were just unable to hold onto the lead at the end being overhauled by the Wilsons and Bill Whitney to finish a fine third. The windward marks were laid close to the Kingsnorth Jetty and it proved difficult to decide whether to go left into the strongly ebbing tide and get a clear wind or right and face disturbed wind from the obstruction of the jetty. As usual, the top boats made the correct calls.
For race 3, the Race Officer set a triangle/sausage course with Bill Whitney getting a win. John Goudie (Wilsonians) had an excellent race battling for line honours until the final mark, when he tripped over. Despite this setback, he and his crew showed that it is possible to right a Mark 4 Wayfarer in double quick time as they still managed to finish 14th.
The beat home after racing was long against a strong ebbing tide and we were all glad to return to the MYC for free beer sponsored by Shepherd Neame followed by a champagne reception hosted by Len Jones, unable to race following a hip operation the week before. The MYC gave an excellent dinner in the evening with a quiz compèred by the MYC Commodore, Mark Penny, where the wide ranging set of questions particularly on Kent topics proved a bit challenging for some of the visitors.
For Sunday, the wind was fresher, averaging 15-20mph. The RO set the course in Pinup Reach again giving good windward/leeward courses with no particular bias to the windward leg; reading wind shifts was important as ever. For race 4, there was a strong flood tide running and unsurprisingly, half the fleet were over the line and there was a general recall. With the U flag displayed, the fleet were more disciplined and got away cleanly at the second attempt. The Wilsons won the race but the run proved to be important as going straight up the course led to big gains and inverted the race positions for many of the competitors. Race 5 was again won by the Wilsons showing great consistency with John Clementson a fine second. The requirement to sail through the line on each lap caught out a number of competitors over the weekend including this author to his annoyance.
The wind increased for the final race and this was won convincingly by Guy Marks and Mel Titmuss (Bough Beech). There was then an easier sail home through Hoo Creek for a late lunch, boat packing and the prize giving. The Wilsons were the overall winners followed by Whitney/Shelton and Clementson/Grace. The best placed home boat was sailed by Richard Stone and Catherine Gore in sixth place overall
Thanks were expressed by the competitors for the excellent Race Management team headed by Jamie Blair before the drive home to rest weary limbs and backs.
Thanks to all the travellers and local boats for participating in an excellent weekend of sailing.
This area championship at Medway Yacht Club was the sixth in the eight boat Craftinsure Wayfarer National Circuit and Travellers Series. Leaders at this stage are the Wilsons with Whitney/Shelton in second place and Marks/Titmuss in third. With two events left the Wilsons will be difficult to overhaul but lurking outside the top ten at this stage is one team which could come into the reckoning if the stars are aligned.
The next event in the National Circuit Series will be the open meeting at Swarkestone Sailing Club, Derby (a new venue for the Wayfarers) on 6-7 October 2018.
(results table on Racing Results page)