Swarkestone SC Open
You are guaranteed a warm welcome with free camping onsite and an invite to join the social on Saturday Night. You are more than welcome to leave your boat on site should you wish to travel further afield....read more
UK National Championships at Medway Yacht Club
After two years without a championship, the Wayfarers held their Nationals 2021 at Medway YC, 5-8 August. It was not the event it should have been. The European Championships due to run alongside the Nationals had to be postponed because it was impossible for the Europeans to come and play with us. An understandably cautious approach to Covid risk which we have all gained during the last 18 months, also put paid to some other UK-based entries.
The big question was: would the passage of time result in a change of power base? Would anybody be able to come along and take the title from the reigning and perennial champions, Michael McNamara & Simon Townsend?...read more
There was some new and young blood in the fleet. Neil Collingridge, who is an old hand in the class, brought with him a fit young crew, Hamish, who hikes like a badger. Martyn Hare & Steve Perkins rocked up with a new boat buoyed by encouraging performances at Shoreham and Waldringfield. Sean & Helen Murray travelled up from Parkstone to try and wrest the Pert Platter from other married couples. There were also two wooden boats crewed by teenagers. This was great to see.
There were some past masters going after the title too. Andrew & Tom Wilson have come close to winning the championship in recent years and always have a great battle with Michael & Simon. Bill Whitney & John Shelton drove up from Shoreham, having performed exceptionally well in the International Championships in Ireland two years ago, just missing out on a place on the podium. Brian Lamb had sold his boat but couldn’t resist coming back for another go with longtime crew Sam Pygall. David Roberts & Mike Bryant were on the entry list and, again, likely to perform well across a range of conditions. Former UKWA chairman, Quentin Strauss, had also acquired a boat for the weekend crewed by class secretary, Sarah Burgess.
Any one of these would have a chance of a top placing if the cards fell right for them.
In addition to these there were some light wind specialists. Richard Stone (MYC Commodore) & Catherine Gore, and Chris Parish & Kerry Worsfold from the host club, had shown through the season that they could achieve good results in this company if the conditions favoured them.
Thursday dawned. Windy, windy, windy. The chosen racecourse was at the bottom end of Long Reach. There was plenty of water down there to set a good championship course but it seemed to be a day’s sail away. There was plenty of wind to speed the boats down to the race area and even more wind on the return.
The race officer said that we had up to 23 knots of wind that day with an interesting wind-over-tide chop. The sceptics thought it might have been more windy than reported. A practice race was followed by three points races. The Wilsons won the practice race and retained the Idlers Bucket (no bad luck conspiracy theorists there).
After the practice we went into three points races back-to-back, with a triangle/sausage format. The fleet was joined by Richard & Mark Hartley (Wayfarer class builders) who had arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning after a long drive from Tenby where they had competed in the Osprey National Championships earlier in the week.
The serious business was beginning. McNamara & Wilson, nip and tuck, Race after race. Other boats not far behind. Fantastic three sail reaches. The occasional capsize. There was excitement afoot.
Fast out of the blocks in race one were McNamara & Townsend, the Wilsons and Lamb & Pygall. The lead changed hands a few times but when the fat lady sang after three rounds they finished in that order. Behind them there were a few capsizes, notably for the Hartleys, who did well to recover to seventh, and the Murrays. Former MYC Commodore, Mark Penny, crewed by Sarah Mason, also had a swim as did Parish & Worsfold. Martyn Har & Steve Perkins led the silver fleet, while the best placed bronze fleet boat was sailed by Jonathan & Ashley Davis.
Race two was a repeat of the first race but with a twist. This time McNamara & Townsend and the Wilsons were joined by Mark & Alex Lee who sailed fast and smart to pick up third place. The Collingridges too were using that combination of youth and experience to start to put together a very consistent set of results.
There were fewer dramas in this race but the O’Donnells had a little swim (I’ve written that before in previous reports, I am sure). Hare & Perkins repeated their first race performance as top silver fleet boat and the Davis’ were the best placed bronze fleet boat once again.
Quickly into race three and I am sure I am not imagining that the wind had increased a click or two. Once again McNamara & Townsend led for most of the race and seemed to be forging a comfortable lead. Behind them, Strauss & Burgess capsized on the first beat after a port and starboard incident with Lamb & Pygall, while the Davis’ capsized on the first run, unfortunately breaking a mast and putting paid to their weekend.
Other than these, all seemed to be serene until the first reach of the second triangle when the sky darkened and a squall hit the fleet. Suddenly there were centreboards all over the place and crews trying to remember the RYA approved method of righting a sailing dinghy. Some of these remembered correctly and righted their boats without losing too many places; others were not so successful (among them the class insurer who was seen standing on his rudder rather than the centreboard while his crew was doing his best to right the stricken vessel in the correct manner).
None of this seemed to affect McNamara & Townsend who calmly sailed to victory followed by the Hartleys who had bullied their boat into submission. There followed over the finish line a gaggle of boats in quick succession, led by the Collingridges in third who had lost only one place as a result of their swim at the gybe mark. Silver fleet was led home by Hare & Perkins in a fine sixth place while the bronze fleet leader was Brian & Charlotte White in a beautifully restored woodie.
As it happened, this was the last we would see of the Hartleys on the water as Richard had damaged his ribs in the first race capsize and was unable to continue. Stone & Gore were also casualties at this point as a result of injury.
Back to the club for free tea, cake, beer and a warm shower. Thursday evening’s entertainment was a curry and quiz evening. The curry was one of several excellent meals provided by the club caterers. Mark Penny supplied his usual hilarious and anarchic quiz including a picture round where even he struggled with the answers, and a round about cartoon cats (the result of the quiz is still subject to appeal). The winning team included a former French teacher who apparently incorrectly answered a question where “Paris” was the correct answer!
Overnight we had rain and wind and that’s what we woke to on Friday morning. Give the race team their due. They held the fleet ashore while they pottered off to the race area. Just as we had a report back from them to say that the wind speed was about 16 knots the sky darkened and the committee boat battened down its hatches before binning the day’s racing.
Probably a wise move, reinforced by Cowes Week similarly cancelling racing for all classes on the same day. This allowed visitors time to explore the local area including Chatham’s historic dockyard and the picturesque village of Upnor. Friday night was BBQ night with a steel band which was well supported by club members as well as by the competitors and supporters.
Saturday’s forecast was little better than Friday’s, 18-26 knots of breeze with rainy intervals. We woke to a misly sort of day and launched in not much wind and icy rain. As we slowly punched the incoming tide on our way to the race area the nav lights of a RIB appeared out of the gloom and gave us a tow. In terms of reaching the race area more quickly this was very welcome. In terms of the icy rain hitting my face at four times the speed it was before, I am not so sure.
The race team set up for the first race of the day (race four) in Pinup Reach and a triangle/sausage course was laid. The wind was nowhere near as strong as on Thursday, perhaps 10-16 knots from the south west, giving the lighter teams a chance. It was time for some of the teams to push the start line too hard and both the Lees and Strauss & Burgess picked up some alphabet scores.
At the front of the fleet it was business much as usual; the race was won by McNamara & Townsend with the Wilsons following them home. Whitney & Shelton had been close to the podium on Thursday and made the leap into the top three in this race. Sean & Helen Murray put their travails of Thursday behind them and were the best placed silver boat with a stunning fifth place while Alberto Quaglia & Peter Dilley came to the party by leading home the bronze fleet boats.
Race five followed soon after in similar conditions although the breeze softened slightly and clocked right during the race eventually turning the second reach into a close fetch. McNamara & Townsend and the Wilsons continued their personal tussle at the front and eventually finished in that order while the Collingridges came through to take third spot. The Murrays were the leading silver fleet boat once more while Quaglia & Dilley were getting in the groove for the bronze fleet boats.
For race six the tide was ebbing and a course change was required. Still located at the top end of Pinup Reach and the bottom end of Gillingham Reach, this course area seemed to offer some strategic considerations which even the locals couldn’t grapple with. One local boat, however, sailed by Mark and Alex Lee, hit their straps at the start and sailed far left to lead at the windward mark. The Wilsons were well placed but McNamara & Townsend were a few places back.
By the end of the first triangle normal service had been resumed with McNamara & Townsend and the Wilsons vying for the lead and the Lees not far behind. Up the second beat, McNamara & Townsend tried to protect their position but allowed several boats to go further to the left. These boats were rewarded with more wind and a lift which others did not get. Those on the right looked enviously on.
As the river became shallower in the race area the race team was compelled to shorten course at the end of the run. McNamara & Townsend’s unbroken sequence of wins was brought to an end by the Wilsons who were followed home by David Roberts and Mike Bryant and then the Lees. A new face led home the silver fleet, Nick Harris & Luke Howells while Quaglia & Dilley kept a firm grip on the bronze fleet.
There followed a very pleasant planing reach through Hoo Creek back to the clubhouse where the fleet was greeted by more free beer, tea and cake. This was followed by the very enjoyable Championship dinner, a few toasts and speeches and the presentation of the Viking Trophy to Connie Foreman for a log she wrote of a family cruise in 2020. A sail number raffle allocated a few of the sponsors prizes from Craftinsure.
Sunday, the final day of the series, was looking to be key in settling the final positions. As with Saturday the forecast was not promising but unlike the previous day Sunday seemed to be delivering what it said on the tin, 20+ knots and bigger gusts with rain showers, some heavy. At the briefing, RO, Tom Rusbridge, said he was prepared to wait an hour to see if conditions would ease, but at 1000hrs he did the decent thing and brought an end to proceedings. There was time for an early prize-giving and for visitors to get packed away before the next heavy shower.
Through the generous sponsorship of Hartley Boats and McNamara Sails and another sail number raffle, a few lucky people went home with a new sail or a new boat cover. There were some new perpetual trophies this year. The splendid Nipegegi Trophy, presented by the Hodgson family to the best placed boat with a sail number below 10506 was won by Brian & Charlotte White, while Jacqueline Townsend received the Pork Pie Perpetual Trophy, presented by Colin May, to the best placed lady crew. The trophies for race wins went to Tom & Andrew Wilson and to Michael McNamara & Simon Townsend.
Michael & Simon were crowned UKWA National Champions 2021, retaining their title from 2019. The Wilsons were runners up while the Neil & Hamish Collingridge finished in third place.
There was time, of course, to thank the helpers and organisers: Tom Rusbridge and Jamie Blair and their team on the committee boat; support boat and mark laying teams; the beach master and his team; galley staff and the club steward; the event sponsors, Hartley Boats, Craftinsure, McNamara Sails, Shepherd Neame Brewery, Wayfarer Wines and the daily sponsors of tea and cakes; and the organising committee led by MYC Rear Commodore, Catherine Gore.
Martyn Hare & Steve Perkins were best placed in the silver fleet, while the bronze fleet was topped by Brian & Charlotte White.
The next event in the Craftinsure UKWA National Circuit and Travellers Series will be the open meeting at Swarkestone at the beginning of October. There is much going on before then, however, with Race Weeks and Regattas with Wayfarer racing at Chichester, Aldeburgh and Poole.
(A version of this report with full results table is on the Racing Results page linked here)
Easterns Champs at Waldringfield 10/11 July (Report)
After a long delay and more cups of tea than the average Wayfarer sailor can cope with, our PRO somewhat reluctantly ventured out in the committee boat to test the conditions. Us locals, seeing the concerned faces of our visitors, said something to the effect of “Don’t worry he won’t take us out in this – he’ll be back soon enough” which was a good way of guaranteeing the postponement flag came down as we were called to the start area towards the Tips. So the only race on Saturday got away at the first time of asking into a fickle fair tide beat followed by some painfully slow reaches and runs back against the tide where you could just about get the spinnaker to set but it certainly paid to sail extra distance to tuck in out of the tide. As it happens it was a good decision to take us racing – a two way tussle for the lead took place between Mike MacNamara and Simon Townsend and Andrew and Tom Wilson with the former eventually prevailing to set the (perhaps predictable) form book for the weekend. That was it as far as sailing on Saturday was concerned, but a good barbecue under the gazebos to avoid the rain, followed by some fine local Adnams kept visitors from pitching their tents until it was probably rather darker than they might have earlier planned.
Fortunately Sunday dawned beautiful – wall to wall sunshine was back and some nice clouds bubbling up inland as a sign that the sea breeze was coming. As the morning progressed the sunshine disappeared again but not before a reasonable SE breeze had filled in – maybe 10 knots but shifter than a shifty thing as Waldringfield is famed for.
Races 2 and 3 saw some very difficult beats against the tide to a Pink windward mark in the Galleons area but oh how the wind seemed to head and die as we tacked out from the bank towards the mark in the stronger tide leaving us stranded in the middle….well that’s what it felt like to us, but somehow Mike Mac and Simon seemed to sniggle their way around the mark unhindered in each race and so pull out a decent lead to take 2 more bullets. The beats were very tricky indeed – sometimes (in fact most of the times) it paid nicely to short tack up the Waldringfield shore but then just occasionally (and often enough to tempt some of us) taking a lift out into the adverse tide paid dividends provided the wind gods looked favourably and gave you a nice big header to tack on. Whatever the Wilsons bagged two more seconds but were chased hard by Roger Challis and Mark Johnston in race 2 and Neil Collingridge and Anne Spalding in race 3. The mental torment of playing snakes and ladders was mercifully relieved by the PRO giving us a short break ashore for some lunch before heading out for one final race.
Mike Mac and Simon had wrapped things up nicely by now with 3 firsts and clearly not enough time to get more than race in before the cut off to get us home to watch the football – we should have not bothered of course! But Mike and Simon, as successful as they are, sail for the sheer fun of it and so led off the fleet for a final race around a slightly wonky trapezoid incorporating Waldringfield’s half submerged island. The Deben was wonderfully full, as was the sun which had come back out to play and we didn’t have to do all that tiresome short tacking as by now the tide was on the turn. This time Mike and Simon and Neil and Anne pulled out a good sized lead on the rest of the fleet (some of whom parked up on the aforementioned half submerged island) but try as they might Neil and Anne couldn’t find a way past. Rarely more than a few boat lengths apart and after some hectic gybing antics going into the final leeward, Mike and Simon held on to make it a clean sweep of victories for the weekend. We tried but it wasn’t enough!
So that was that. Tea and prizegiving – Mike and Simon went off with armfuls of excellent silverware which dates right back to the Wayfarer’s early days in the late 50’s. Andrew and Tom Wilson secured second overall and Neil and Anne were third and won the first Waldringfield boat trophy. Matthew Lake and Rachel Parkinson won the prize for first classic Wayfarer and Liz Feibusch and Will Cleverley took home the trophy for first female helm. Mike Mac, who’s funnily enough pretty good at it by now, gave the traditional winners’ “Thank-you” speech to the various people from Waldringfield and the Club who pulled together for another excellent event.
Next up are the Wayfarer Europeans and Nationals at Medway Yacht Club in mid-August. The fleet always gets a cracking welcome at this long-time Wayfarer stronghold and there’s plenty of optimism than numbers of entries will continue to rise as the fleet emerges from its enforced hibernation.
NB – results table included with this report on Racing Results page (linked here)
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Southern Area Championship at Shoreham Sailing Club – Report
A premium selection of Wayfarers arrived at Shoreham, expecting the usual huge waves. These included Michael McNamara/Simon Townsend and Andrew Wilson, fresh from their tussle at the Westerns at Arun YC.
Owing to an unexplained broken toe incident, Andrew’s usual crew, son Tom, was replaced by his brother Martin, on a transfer from the RS400 fleet. Other contenders arrived from Swarkestone, Maldon and Bough Beech, with local Shoreham boys Bill Whitney/John Shelton joining the fray.
Saturday turned out to be a damp squib, with a light easterly, and a humongous 6.6 metre tide, which was bound to upset things. Race officer Megan Pascoe took us well out to sea, and in the first race, McNamara/Townsend hit the front, followed by Whitney/Shelton and the Wilsons, and the order remained until the last reach, when the Shoreham crew attempted a high-scoring windward bag spinnaker launch, which inevitably ended in tears, allowing the Wilsons through to second place.
With the wind dropping and a big shift out to sea, the same trio were seen to be at the front, but on arriving at the first leeward mark, the wind dropped, and a frantic and gripping drift against the tide ensued. The Wilsons maintained their lead, and an impressive drifting performance by Martyn Hare/Steve Perkins from Blackwater SC took them past McNamara to claim second place. The race committee had by that time filled their bucket with sufficient mackerel, so the fleet was towed back into the harbour....read more
With the prospect of four races on Sunday, the crews stocked up on bangers and mash from the elite catering crew, and Ivan kept the bar stocked. You can never have enough carbs.
The diet obviously awakened the Shoreham weather god from his slumber, and Sunday dawned with a brisk north-easterly 4 gusting 5 – that’s more like Wayfarer weather!
In the first race of the day, a good tussle was had up the beat, with the Wilsons rounding first, choosing to wait until there was consensus on hoisting the kite. McNamara started the invidious trend from second place, forcing the rest of the fleet to give it a go – we were racing after all. With the gusts and waves, it was a tough business, but McNamara pulled through, followed by the Wilsons and Whitney/Shelton.
The wind moderated slightly for race four, and the Wilsons hit the front and extended their lead throughout the race, coming in ahead of McNamara/ Townsend, while the Shoreham heavies were trying another unusual high-risk move, involving a spinnaker, the leeward mark, and another boat which may or may not have been on port (or maybe starboard), which let a delighted Dave Roberts/Mike Bryant from Bough Beech through to snag third place at the last minute.
The wind backed to the left, and after the marks had been efficiently moved by the race team, it was away, and again the Wilsons showed impressive speed to stay ahead for the bulk of the race. Could this at last have been Andrew’s chance to beat his nemesis? Well, probably not by going to the wing mark, instead of down the last run, and McNamara lived up to his boat name by poaching the win, and sealing the championship. Third place was a tussle between Roberts and Whitney with the latter stealing the biscuits at the last mark.
Not vintage Shoreham conditions, but the racing was great, and the race committee, helped out by William Warren and Chris Handel, was a well-oiled machine. Not forgetting thanks to the rescue boat crews and onshore trolley dollies, who all added to a successful event.
- 1st 10648 The Poacher Michael McNamara/Simon Townsend (Rollesby Broad SC) 5pts
- 2nd 11093 Restless Andrew Wilson/Martin Wilson (Datchet Water SC) 6pts
- 3rd 10688 Big Dipper Bill Whitney/John Shelton (Shoreham SC) 13pts
2021 Western Area Championship – Report
When I was a nipper, every racing day was a champagne sailing day. The warming sun always shone and was high in the sky. The water sparkled. The sea breeze checked in like clockwork. It may be that is just a rose tinted memory. However, in times of need, I would sail in less than perfect conditions if I must.
After a period of over 18 months since the last UKWA Wayfarer travellers event, Covid restrictions had eased enough to allow the Western Area Championships 2021 (and Craftinsure National Circuit and Travellers event) at Arun YC on the 22nd and 23rd of May to go ahead. A number of boats had contacted the organising Club and indicated an intention to complete. After all the time waiting however it was the weather which did not play ball. With a forecast of 40+ knots on Friday and 30+ knots on Sunday, a window of opportunity appeared on Saturday and Arun YC put the word out that the event would proceed as planned....read more
In the event, the drive from East Kent to Littlehampton was wet and windy but by the time we arrived at the Club the wind was dropping even if the air was still more than damp. The Club decided to proceed with the open meeting as a one day event, sailing four races back-to-back. The weather put paid to a full attendance of boats and only seven hardy teams, from seven different clubs, signed on. The fleet was strong, however, including two of the top three boats from the International Championships in 2019.
To be fair, rigging the boat was a tad chilly. The welcome we received from the Club was warm enough, however. Rigging and struggling into rarely used sailing kit was followed by a socially distanced briefing and then off we toddled to take part in the four races off the West Sussex coast.
The wind was broadly westerly in direction. It shifted as much as 15 degrees either side of a mean which meant that the race team had to reset the course between each race, but they did that as quickly as they could so hanging around between races was kept to a minimum. The wind strength varied between 5 and 20+ knots during the day but typically was 10 to 15 knots. We had rain, we had icy rain, and we had a sky which ranged in colour from grey to leaden. I don’t remember seeing any sun and the water didn’t sparkle. The conditions were a challenge as they changed all the time. At the windward mark in one race the wind was so soft the boats were hardly moving. On the other hand, at times we were able to have a blasting three sail reach, planing across the waves.
With a small fleet, general recalls were never going to happen. In fact there was only one overenthusiastic dunderhead who was OCS in any of the races; but that is all right, I enjoy peeling off back to the start line and playing catch up.
In each race, the fleet effectively split itself in two parts. Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend and Andrew and Tom Wilson were generally at the front while the rest of the fleet raced as a separate group, a respectful distance behind the leaders. David Roberts and Mike Bryant and the Townsends did manage to keep up with the leading pair from time to time but were unable to sustain the same pace as the leaders for a whole race.
Michael and Simon won races 1 and 2 with the Wilsons runners up in each. In race 3, the Wilsons led at the first windward mark and maintained their lead throughout setting up a winner takes all final race. In the event, Michael and Simon led at the first mark of race 4 and maintained their lead until Andrew and Tom capsized at the final gybe mark, thereby securing the win they needed to take the event overall.
David and Mike pipped the Townsends for third place overall. Locals, Paul Hughes and Mark Nicholls, finished fifth on count back from John Goudie and Sam Boniface. The fleet was propped up by Nigel and Belinda O’Donnell who capsized during race 2 and retired with dignity to the bar.
Apart from those who towed their boats to Littlehampton behind their country cottages and planned to stay overnight, the rest of us went home after the prize-giving and fish and chip supper. Many thanks to David Robinson and all at Arun YC for putting on the event in difficult circumstances. Thanks also to Paisley Thompson and her team for setting good courses and running the racing so efficiently. Congratulations to Michael and Simon for becoming the Wayfarer Western Area Champions once again.
In the end, it wasn’t champagne sailing as I remember it, but it was racing, close racing at that, and it was good to be back.
1st, Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend, 10648 (RBSC) 3pts
2nd, Andrew and Tom Wilson, 11093 (DWSC) 5pts
3rd, David Roberts and Mike Bryant, 10673 (BBSC) 9pts
4th, Tim and Jacqueline Townsend, 11012 (MYC) 11pts
5th, Paul Hughes and Mark Nicholls, 11129 (AYC) 15pts
6th, John Goudie and Sam Boniface, 11118 (WSC) 15pts
7th, Nigel and Belinda O’Donnell, 11282 (SSC) 22pts