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)