Where should I start this report? Should I begin by saying that I missed the racing on Saturday because I was in a persistently precipitating Portsmouth (and wondering whether the weather was just as lovely on the Kent/Surrey border)? Or should I commence by saying that when I phoned a crew member of one of the competing boats to ask her to send me the overnight results I was greeted not with the usual cheery “hello” but with an anguished “we were robbed!!” I was intrigued and needed to know more. ...read more
Having arrived early on Sunday and rigged the boat I managed to piece together Saturday’s action over a cup of tea in the clubhouse.
Saturday started off misty and progressed through grey and dull to cold and wet. The wind was not as forecast, being light with large holes and very shifty (and from the wrong direction), giving the RO, Barry Wolfenden, and his team a nightmare to set a course and a start line. Nevertheless, two races were completed, with the boats coming ashore after the second of those in near darkness. Michael McNamara, who has competed at Bough Beech very many times over the years, later described the conditions to me as “the most fluky Bough Beech ever” (and, as you will read later in this report, who am I to disagree).
John Shelton, crewing for Bill Whitney, told me that they had been at or near the front of race one throughout but it all went a bit pear shaped in the latter stages as the Wilsons came through to win from Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend with Martin and Donna Rouse-Collen (making their annual trip south from leafy Buckinghamshire to autumnal, and equally leafy, Edenbridge) completing the podium.
Catherine Gore, crewing for Richard Stone (who finished a lowly 10th in race one), painted a much more emotive picture of race two. They had shot off the start line like an arthritic tortoise and used their famed light air skills to race through the gathering gloom and rain. They led from gun to gun…no, wait! They were robbed at the finish by McNamara/Townsend who complained of being bitterly cold, but with a 2,1 after two races were actually sailing hot. Guy Marks and Mel Titmus finished third in this race.
Teams came ashore and warmed up before visiting a local pub for supper. Leaders overnight were McNamara/Townsend followed by the Wilsons and the Rouse-Collens.
Not famed for our light wind boat speed nor a fan of random wind holes, I didn’t feel I’d missed too much on Saturday. Sunday, by comparison, was bright and the sun gave a bit of warmth to the air temperature. The wind, however, was still light, shifty and full of holes.
After an immaculately observed two minutes silence on the water at 11.00, race three got under way. Leaders at the windward mark were lightweight locals, Guy Marks and Mel Titmus. They gave a fantastic demonstration in the conditions, winning the race by a country mile. Behind them the fleet was stacking up. There appeared to be four boats fighting for second and third but as they started the short final beat to the finish line they were joined by another half a dozen. The Wilsons and Brian Lamb/Sam Pygall who had been vying for second place eventually finished 7th and 8th. Meanwhile, Messrs Consistency (McNamara/Townsend) eked out a valuable second place while Whitney/Shelton came third. John Goudie and Sam Boniface appeared to gain half a dozen places or more during the last two legs of the race and finished in an encouraging fourth after a distinctly average Saturday.
Going into race four, the event was almost done and dusted but Marks/Titmus could still beat McNamara/Townsend on count back if they won this final race. Nobody else could win overall. Whitney/Shelton and the Townsends (showing an uncharacteristic amount of nous) started at the leeward end of the line and led to the left. This paid in spades. Whitney/Shelton were first at the windward mark and sailed away to win the race. The Townsends, on the other hand, and not far behind, found a hole in the wind (I just knew it would happen), were buried and then lost more places later in the race as they exonerated a rule infringement. C’est la vie. McNamara/Townsend pulled through to second once more while Stone/Gore completed a very up-and-down weekend by coming third.
When the computer had done its thing, the results of the final event of the UK Wayfarer National Circuit and Travellers Series 2019 sponsored by Craftinsure were revealed. There were four different winners in four races but, as so often happens, consistency was the key. Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend will have their names engraved on the Bough Beech open meeting trophy once more. A win in the final race promoted Bill Whitney and John Shelton from fifth overnight to second, while the Wilsons dropped to third. Michael McNamara gave his annual address to the assembled Wayfarer sailors thanking the club for its race management and hospitality.
There was still time to hand out the trophies and glassware to the winners of the National Circuit and Travellers Series. The end of season prize draw was also held with the winners of that leaving with wonderful and generous prizes from Craftinsure, Hartley Boats, McNamara Sails, Allen Brothers and Pinnell & Bax.
It would be remiss to finish this report without mentioning Simon Winn, a long term member of both Medway YC and Bough Beech SC (and a former Commodore of the UK Wayfarer Association) who at 88 years young was competing in his final Wayfarer event. Several people who have known him throughout his thirty year association with the Class spoke about his contribution at the prize giving. His Wayfarer is for sale so it was ironic that his sail number should be drawn for a year’s free Wayfarer insurance! After a bit of a redraw, Simon left the event as the winner of a new sailing holdall. It is not just a truism to say that sailing is a sport for life.
(results table to follow)