As published in Y&Y
by Sam Pygall 7 Jul 11:09 BST30 June – 2 July 2023
Wayfarer Nationals at Dabchicks © Tim Wood
Supported by Craftinsure, McNamara Sails and Hartley Boats
The 2023 Wayfarer Nationals, generously sponsored by Craftinsure, McNamara Sails and Hartley Boats were held over the long weekend of the 30th June to the 2nd July at Dabchicks Sailing Club. Originally slated as the venue for the Wayfarer nationals during the Covid-impacted 2020 season where all the Wayfarer events were wiped out, this was a relatively new venue for the Wayfarer Nationals.
Based on recent results on the circuit, this promised to be a close series with many the top performing regular circuit teams in attendance alongside some fleet newcomers with unknown form and a decent amount of wind forecast for the totality of the weekend. These competitors included reigning International, European and National Champions Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend, the consistently strong team of Andrew and Tom Wilson, Shoreham circuit stalwarts Bill Whitney and John Shelton, former national champion Guy Marks, crewed by Katie Seddon, boat builder Richard and Mark Hartley and recent serial open meeting winners John Clementson and Mel Titmus,
Following a Thursday arrival for many of the fleet, the action began in earnest on the Friday with the practice race and two points races held back-to-back. With a fleet of 28 comprising home fleet entries and visiting contingents from Blackwater Sailing Club and Medway Yacht Club, a great competition was in prospect. The wind was in the 16-20 knot range presenting challenging conditions for crews. The fleet were also introduced to a short, steep wave pattern despite wind running over tide, likely caused by the shallowness of parts of the race arena. Front running teams from the get-go were McNamara/Townsend and the Wilsons, with McNamara and Townsend triumphing and earning the “Idler’s Bucket” prize for their practice race efforts. Circuit regulars and recent West Oxfordshire open meeting winners the O’Donnells came a cropper in the practice race, breaking their rudder blade and scuppering their championship.
The practice race formalities over, real championship action began in earnest. The Wilsons made an excellent start in the first race and led at first windward mark with McNamara and Townsend showing good pace in close pursuit. A very rare event transpired with McNamara and Townsend capsizing at a gybe mark, giving the opportunity for the Wilsons to extend their lead going into the second lap. However, McNamara/Townsend are not renowned fleet legends for nothing and recovered well, but then suffered further misfortune through McNamara departing the boat on second beat, before being recovered by super crew Simon Townsend.
The final downwind leg has several strong gusts that had even the Wilsons wobbling but surviving – but did resultin capsizes for front-running Whitney/Shelton team and the Hartleys, which let surprise package and dark horses Graham Hoy crewed by Rob Haigh into second place, and breakthrough team from 2022 Richard Bailey and Ian Curtis to 3rd. Demonstrating amazing powers of recovery despite the setbacks in the race, McNamara and Townsend came through into fourth place. Game on!
The second points race of the championship saw playing the shifts pay off versus any choices made to avoid the impact of the tide. McNamara and Townsend got these generally right and claimed the race win but the Wilsons confirmed their front-running performance by taking 2nd, with the Whitney/Shelton team also demonstrating their speed in the conditions with a podium position. After a hard first day, the fleet sailed back to the club for a BBQ and with the Wilsons leading overall, McNamara Townsend in second and new team Hoy and Haigh in 3rd.
Day 2 dawned with much the same wind strength as day 1 but with flatter water, presenting an opportunity for other teams to come to the fore. Demonstrating considerable starting skill and with the Ian Proctor trophy on the line in race three, the Wilsons made a clean getaway and led fleet inshore out of tide which paid off handsomely. Disaster struck McNamara and Townsend when they bent their tiller beyond a quick fix and needed to return to the club for a replacement. This left the Wilsons unchallenged, taking a dominant victory and cemented a strong overall position for the championship. The familiar front-running teams of Hoy/Haigh and Whitney/Shelton came home some way back in 2nd and 3rd.
With McNamara and Townsend continuing to be absent from the racing arena while fetching a replacement tiller, there was close racing at the front of the fleet in the fourth race. Local expert Will Powell crewed by Rob Gaskell demonstrated speed and skill, challenging the Wilsons at the front of the fleet. In addition, Jamie Wheatley and Stephen Wheatley from Aldeburgh Yacht club also came to the fore, leading round the windward mark but ultimately succumbed to John Clementson and Mel Timus who were finding some boat speed in the lighter conditions. With this win, their 3rd from 4 races, the Wilsons put themselves in a great position in the championship overall.
For race 5, McNamara/Townsend returned to the race arena, refreshed, energised and with a new tiller, and proceeded to show the fleet the way around the course. However, in the context of the championship, the Wilsons held off the considerable challenge from the Hartleys and Whitney/Shelton to take a valuable second place. With a formidable scoreline of 1,2,1,1,2 and with only a single discard over the entire series, the Wilsons were in the box seat for the overall championship with McNamara and Townsend now having to carry a DNF in their results. The fleet tucked into a well-deserved fish and chip supper laid on by the club and contemplated the final day of sailing which was forecast to provide no relief from a wind strength perspective.
The first race of final day and the sixth overall had tide under the fleet for the start, resulting in the only general recall of the week and subsequently rewarded with a U flag to keep the fleet disciplined. A clean second start saw circuit front runner regulars John Goudie and Sam Boniface win the pin end, demonstrate good speed upwind and round the windward mark first with a good lead. Goudie/Boniface then impressively held this on the subsequent downwind legs. By the second windward mark, the Wilsons had recovered to hold a small lead over McNamara/Townsend with Hartleys and Clementson/Titmus very close behind. Goudie/Boniface then overstood a mark and dropped behind this leading group which ended with McNamara/Townsend winning from the Hartleys and Clementson/Titmus. Although finishing 4th, the Wilsons had a good counter versus the other front runners in the overall standing.
For race seven, with several boats capsized, the race officer was unable to change the course to reflect a changing wind direction. Clearly showing continued good form on this last day of the championship, McNamara and Townsend got away at the start and built a lead over the fleet. The Wilsons made an uncharacteristic poor start but managed to squeeze past Hoy/Haigh and the Hartleys on the approach to the windward mark for the second time. They then held this to take a crucial 2nd place, with the Hartleys, also having a storming final day in terms of results, coming home 3rd.
Although the Wilsons were now confirmed as the overall champions with a race to spare, the final race was tightly contested to confirm the final standings, with the Bill Hodshon memorial trophy up for grabs for the race winners as an additional bonus. There was a new pairing at the front of the fleet in the form of the aforementioned Whitney and Shelton. Leveraging the strong local knowledge on board, this team took line honours from a charging McNamara and Townsend having overhauled local youngster Nick Evans who had had a storming first beat but was overhauled by these powerhouse teams. Powell and Gaskell took a 3rd in this last race to confirm a podium place overall.
As the final results were calculated, this results in a top 5 of:
- Andrew and Tom Wilson, 13 points
- Graham Hoy and Rob Haigh, 30 points
- Will Powell and Rob Gaskell, 31 points
- John Clementson and Mel Titmus, 37 points
- Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend, 39 points
Other prize winners included:
- First silver fleet – Graham Hoy and Rob Haigh
- First bronze fleet – Henry Townsend and Daisy Lee-Browne
- First female helm – Monica Schaefer
- Pork Pie Perpetual (First female crew) – Melanie Titmus
- Pert Platter (First Husband and Wife Team) – Brian and Liz McKenzie
- First Club Team – Blackwater Sailing Club
- Nipegegi Trophy (first Wayfarer with sail number below 10506) – Henry Townsend and Daisy Lee-Browne
- Dick Notley Trophy (first helm under 21) – Nick Evans
Andrew Wilson, a well-deserved winner of tough championship that presented a test of stamina, endurance and heavy weather boat handling took the opportunity to thank the race team led by Paul Jackson and Dabchicks Sailing Club for hosting the event. Andrew and Tom have won at many venues over recent years but this represented their first championship title together as father and son – a fantastic achievement. This win did represent some significant family history for the Wayfarer and the Wilson family. Andrew was a winning helm back in 1982 sailing with his brother Martin and Andrew’s father also a two-time Wayfarer national champion in 1974 and 1975. A tremendous family legacy in Wayfarer Racing!
The 2023 UKWA Craftinsure Travellers circuit continues later in the month at the Southern Area Championships at Shoreham Sailing Club (15-16 July 2023) and further events at Blackwater, Blithfield and Bough Beech to close out the 2023 Craftinsure Travellers series.
|Pos||Division||Boat Name||Sail No||Helm||Crew||Sailing Club||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||R7||R8||Pts|
|1st||Gold||Restless||11093||Andrew Wilson||Tom Wilson||Datchet Water SC||1||2||1||1||2||4||2||?9||13|
|2nd||Silver||Jay Jay||10925||Graham Hoy||Rob Haigh||Blackwater Sailing CLub||2||4||2||8||6||?10||4||4||30|
|3rd||Gold||Cologne||11334||Will Powell||Rob Gaskell||Tollesbury Sailing Club||6||5||4||2||?9||5||6||3||31|
|4th||Gold||No name||11101||John Clementson||Melanie Titmus||Chipstead SC||?7||7||7||3||5||3||5||7||37|
|5th||Gold||The Smuggler||11321||Michael Mcnamara||Simon Townsend||Rollesby Broad Sailing Club||4||1||(DNF)||DNC||1||1||1||2||39|
|6th||Gold||11323||Richard Hartley||Mark Hartley||Blithfield SC||13||(DNS)||5||6||3||2||3||12||44|
|7th||Gold||Big Dipper (MH)||10688||Bill Whitney||John Shelton||Shoreham Sailing Club||?22||3||3||11||4||14||10||1||46|
|8th||Silver||Pickle||11305||Martyn Hare||Dave Evans||Blackwater Sailing Club||12||9||?19||9||10||7||9||8||64|
|9th||Gold||Hitch?Hiker||10601||jamie wheatley||Stephen Wheatley||Aldeburgh Yacht Club||5||(DNS)||6||4||8||DNF||7||14||73|
|10th||Gold||Absolute Fiasco||11120||Guy Marks||Katy Seddon||Bough Beech Sailing Club||9||8||?16||7||12||13||12||13||74|
|11th||Gold||Happy Ever After!||11118||John Goudie||Sam Boniface||Wilsonian SC||?24||12||15||16||7||6||19||6||81|
|12th||Gold||Nutcracker||10828||Derek Lambert||Brian Sargeant||(DNF)||13||11||10||13||11||8||15||81|
|13th||Silver||Nomad||11183||Nick Evans||Bill Huntington?Whiteley||Blackwater Sailing Club||17||(DNF)||10||13||17||12||11||11||91|
|14th||Gold||Hercules Hound||10686||Brian McKenzie||Elizabeth McKenzie||Medway Yacht Club||14||(DNF)||8||14||14||16||13||18||97|
|15th||Silver||No Name||11356||Alan Hoy||William Sargeant||Blackwater Sailing Club||?18||11||13||12||11||17||16||17||97|
|16th||Gold||Oyster Catcher||10757||Quentin Strauss||Sarah Burgess||Medway YC||10||(DNF)||22||5||DNC||8||15||10||99|
|17th||Bronze||Finitor||1012||Henry Townsend||Daisy Lee?Browne||Medway Yacht Club||15||10||14||15||15||15||?17||16||100|
|18th||Gold||Coronation||11441||Mark Lee||George Buxton||MYC||8||(DNS)||DNC||DNC||DNC||9||14||5||123|
|19th||Bronze||Pelican||10621||Jeremy Feathestone||Martin Maloney||Marconi Sailing Club||23||14||23||18||18||18||18||(DNC)||132|
|20th||Gold||Intermezzo||11012||Tim Townsend||Jacqueline Townsend||Medway Yacht Club||11||6||9||(DNF)||DNC||DNS||DNC||DNC||142|
|21st||Gold||No name||11432||Richard Bailey||Ian Curtis||Rollesby Broad Sailing Club||3||(DNF)||12||DNC||DNC||DNF||DNC||DNC||160|
|22nd||Silver||The poacher||10648||Monica Schaefer||Patty Kuntz||Greystones SC||(DNF)||DNC||21||17||16||DNC||DNF||DNC||170|
|23rd||Gold||Muffin||10974||Richard Stone||Catherine Gore||Medway yacht club||16||(DNF)||18||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||179|
|24th||Silver||Last Orders||9770||Brian Lamb||Dave Royce||Dabchicks||21||(DNS)||17||DNF||DNC||DNF||DNC||DNC||183|
|25th||Silver||Loose Knots||10614||Mark Penny||Sarah Mason||Medway Yacht Club||19||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||193|
|26th||Gold||Guinness II||11282||Nigel O’Donnell||Belinda O’Donnell||Swarkestone SC||(DNF)||DNC||20||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||194|
|27th||Bronze||KNOT RUSHIN’||11405||Philip Clarabut||Camilla Hobart?Smith||Medway Yacht Club||20||(DNF)||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||194|
|28th||Gold||Huginn||11128||Tim Wood||James Shaw||Dabchicks SC ? West Mersea YC||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||203|