Wayfarer Inland Championship at Datchet Water Sailing Club
by Tim Townsend 18 Apr 18:48 BST9-10 April 2022
Nobody ever said that winning sailing races is easy but if you look at the bare results from the Wayfarer Inland Championships sailed at Datchet on the weekend before Easter you would be forgiven for thinking that with three wins and two second places counting it was a bit of a walk in the park for Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend. It wasn’t.
Twelve boats came to the start area on Saturday morning for a mainly sunny series of four races in 8-14 knots of breeze coming broadly from the west. Although the pressure was, for the most part, solid, the wind oscillated all day, 10 or 15 degrees either side of the mean, more so as the wind softened towards the end of the afternoon. Originally only three races were scheduled but the forecast for Sunday was less encouraging so the RO wanted to get an extra race in the bank. Sharing the water with a large fleet of Flying Fifteens meant that the Wayfarers sailed one race before lunch and then three back to back. We also raced over the unusual course of sausage, triangle, sausage (and I’m still looking for buoy No3 on the course sheet!). All in all, there was plenty to think about during the racing.
So off we all went, on the T of Toot, looking for the windward mark in Race 1. Actually, not all. Paul Hughes and Jeremy Rose hadn’t gone far before they realised their pre-season checks hadn’t prevented a halyard from jamming in a mast sheave forcing an immediate DNF and the rest of the day sorting out a solution. The Hartleys went one better returning to the shore before the start with Mark hanging on to one shroud which had detached itself from the chainplates. The lunch gap between Races 1 and 2 was long enough for the Hartleys to resolve their issue and their DNC became a discard.
Leading at the first mark, in probably the strongest wind of the day, were Andrew and Tom Wilson. Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend were second and at this point John Goudie and Sam Boniface were third. Tim and Jacqueline Townsend gained some places on a windy three sail race during the second lap and finished comfortably in third place at the end of the race. Meanwhile, Michael and Simon battled past Andrew and Tom on lap three but didn’t recognise the shorten course signal. They started another beat and were sailing in the wrong direction just long enough for Andrew and Tom to retake the lead and win the race.
For Race 2 the fleet was almost back to full complement. Once again Andrew and Tom led at the first mark and this time held sway around the course to take their second gun. Michael and Simon were runners up once again while John and Sam got the better of Richard and Mark Hartley (it was nice to see them back in a Wayfarer) to complete the podium.
By Race 3 the wind was fluctuating quite significantly in strength and direction. Andrew and Tom led at the windward mark once more with Tim and Jacqueline in second place and holding up the rest of the fleet. The Townsends didn’t delay Michael and Simon for long though and they were soon in pursuit of Andrew and Tom, eventually passing them to take the win. Tim and Jacqueline finished third with Richard and Mark enjoying a second successive fourth place finish.
Race 4 was held in the lightest winds of the day. On this occasion it was Michael and Simon who led from start to finish while Andrew and Tom followed them round for second place. Behind them there was a battle royal going on between Richard and Mark, Mark Lee and George, and Tim and Jacqueline for third place. They eventually finished in that order.
Overnight, Michael and Simon led on count back from Andrew and Tom, both with two wins and two seconds. Tim and Jacqueline held third place overall from Richard and Mark, again on count back. John and Sam, after their third place in Race 2, sat a couple of points further back and in a challenging position for the following day.
As promised the fleet enjoyed a meal and sociable evening at The Ostrich Inn, Colnbrook. Things must have changed there for the better in recent centuries, because Richard and Mark Hartley survived an overnight stay there (which they may not have done in the C17th!).
Sunday dawned with no wind at all and we waited 90 minutes for it to fill in. When it did, it came from the south, at least as shifty as the day before, but now at no more than 6-9 knots.
Race 5 got under way with Paul and Jeremy back on the water with a new mast head sheave and a new halyard. John and Sam were fast out of the blocks, picked the shifts on the first beat and led all the way round. Behind them Mark Lee (now crewed by Sam Pygall) was going very fast and pressuring both John and Sam and Andrew and Tom. It was the Wilsons who finished second with Mark and Sam completing the podium. Meanwhile Michael and Simon were struggling to pick the shifts on the beats (I sympathise) and were stuck in mid fleet, finishing in an uncharacteristic fifth. Andrew and Tom were now in the box seat for the overall win.
Buoyed by their result in Race 5, it was Mark and Sam who shot off the start line in the final Race and led at the first mark. John and Sam were still sailing fast and smart and these two, together with Michael and Simon, pulled away from the rest of the fleet. Mark and Sam continued to lead until well into the second lap before they were overtaken by Michael and Simon who slowly increased their lead over the rest of the race to win by about 30 seconds. Mark and Sam sailed faultlessly to take the gun for second, while John and Sam continued their good form with third.
Winners overall by virtue only of their last race win were Michael and Simon. Runners up were Andrew and Tom whose fourth place in the last race became their discard. Third overall with the best results of anybody on Sunday were John and Sam.
Next up for the UK Wayfarer fleet is the Western Championships at West Oxfordshire SC on 23/24 April.
|1st||10648||Michael McNamara||Simon Townsend||Rollesby Broad SC||2||2||1||1||?5||1||7|
|2nd||11093||Andrew Wilson||Tom Wilson||Datchet Water SC||1||1||2||2||2||?4||8|
|3rd||11118||John Goudie||Sam Boniface||Wilsonian SC||5||3||5||?9||1||3||17|
|4th||11323||Richard Hartley||Mark Hartley||Blithfield SC||(DNS)||4||4||3||4||6||21|
|5th||11211||Mark Lee||George/Sam Pygall||Medway YC||?8||6||7||4||3||2||22|
|6th||11012||Tim Townsend||Jacqueline Townsend||Medway YC||3||5||3||5||6||?7||22|
|7th||11223||Nick Harris||Luke Howells||Datchet Water SC||4||?10||6||8||8||9||35|
|8th||11282||Nigel O’Donnell||Belinda O’Donnell||Swarkestone SC||?9||8||9||6||7||5||35|
|9th||10828||Derek Lambert||Sue Risbridger||Datchet Water SC||7||7||8||7||?10||8||37|
|10th||11311||Tom Morris||Greg Morris||Datchet Water SC||6||9||10||10||?11||10||45|
|11th||11129||Paul Hughes||Jeremy Rose||Arun YC||(DNF)||DNC||DNC||DNC||9||11||59|
|12th||9416||Conrad Payne||Adelle||Datchet Water SC||10||11||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||DNC||60|