Once all the boats were rigged the Burnham hospitality kicked in with free bacon rolls and coffee together with the sponsored polo tops being handed out before the briefing. Then to the racing…
Conditions could be described as ‘fresh’ with a gusty force 5/6 over a strong tide, the result being waves – which took a few by surprise. The tide initially took Charles by surprise in the first start as he popped out of the blocks just a little early while Mervyn Wright was having the other problem – trying to get back to the start! The waves on the first triangle contradicted the customary river tactic of running to the shore to get out of the tide on the reach back to the leeward mark, instead the waves in the middle of the river paid handsomely and fun was had by all after the first lap. There was some confusion over the number of laps – the PRO had displayed correctly but with flags so the chandlery was busy that night! The first three were Greg Wells, Chris Waples then Steve Goacher being crewed by Tim Harper.
After a delay while the mark layers went to locate more ground tackle, the course was lengthened considerably to take advantage of the perfect easterly breeze for a long beat. That change in the length together with a different style of wave as the course took on more of the river, allowed for other boats to come to the fore. There were numerous place changes throughout and a real bunching at the end of lap 3. The Race Officer had put up No 4 (it was No 3 for the first race), so a few had to regroup quickly to keep their positions. The race finished – Steve Goacher in first place, then Hamish McKay with Greg Wells third. A glorious two mile run back to the marina through the moorings and the oncoming racing one design fleets on the river, kept everyone amused.
The customary beer from the back of the car for all, then off to more drinks (it just happened to coincide with Justin’s brother hosting a drinks’ party for the RCYC one design boat celebrating their 80th year) followed by supper at the Club. At some point in the evening Peter Bannister took it upon himself to toast the Class so fun was had by all.
The wind was a just a little less maybe force 4/5, and from a different direction, so the water was flatter – would this change the boats at the top? Hamish MacKay, crewed by Andrew Lawson, took full advantage of another long beat. Who was it that said Burnham couldn’t have a beat with a Southerly? The River Crouch actually meets the River Roach that runs North to South, so perfect! MacKay and Goacher had a close battle, with Steve just taking line honours and Charles Apthorp coming third.
Edwin Buckley, the PRO, moved the course around a bit for this race, creating different angles of attack. McKay and Goacher again rounded 1&2 at the first rounding of the windward mark and repeated as in Race 3 with a gybe set only to turn directly into a strong current. Charles and Justin sneaked off to the east shore and stole a march, leaving MacKay and Goacher desperately trying to soak down to the shore. By the third lap on the last run, Goacher with 100 yds to go, sneaked ahead leaving Charles 2nd and Justin 3rd.
At this point the tide turned. For many this had gone unnoticed or the possible effects unnoticed. The River Roach takes on a different approach on an ebb tide, and by the second lap, those led by Justin almost caught the leading pack – if they had been nearer to begin with it might have helped some might say! The final places were the very consistent boats of Goacher from MacKay with Charles in 3rd.
To conclude, although a seemingly low turn-out, the boats came from eight clubs, the racing was very tight and of high quality and good fun, with a excellent ‘crac’ ashore. What did everyone miss? A brilliant weekend of championship racing in challenging conditions on an interesting stretch of water that rewarded thought – another time more boats could and should come along…
The final positions were:-
- Steve Goacher & Tim Harper – Southern Champions
- Hamish MacKay & Andrew Lawson
- Charles Apthorp & Alan Green
Top girl was Amanda Waples crewing Justin coming 6th.
A huge mention and thank you to the sponsors of the polo shirts, Phil Evans Sailing Services, Goacher Sails, Waples Wines, and Allen Brothers (who also provided hats for all, and the spot prizes too).
Click here for the full results
Steve and Phil cleaned up at the Southerns… Greg and Mark second… both with a race to spare!!!
See the flash report on the BIFFA website.
Race Report – Sunday June 12th:-
Did you know that “Mumford” is from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word for “I’ve just looked out of the window and it’s raining – so, Mark, I’m not sailing!!! Go have some breakfast!!…”
Yes – it was a grey, dismal, rainy 7knot day when we all arrived at Datchet this morning. Mind you – it was chilly, cold too – just 10 degrees……June??? In fact, it didn’t stop raining from the time I crossed Reigate Hill until I crossed it again in the other direction going home. I had forecast Force 3 gusting 5 and there was simply no sign of it. It was beginning to seem that Tony Mumford had the right idea. We had five boats on the slipway, and Roger and Tony looked at the joy of it, and headed for home. Then there were four….
Three of our star teams – Helen and Vice Cap’n ‘Aaansford, The Stensons, and Mervyn and James were all at the Southerns at Parkstone – so our numbers were severely depleted. (More of the Southerns in a moment…) So we headed off for the start area in miserable little breeze, water dripping down necks, etc – and then…. the breeze kicked in !!! The gusts were plentiful at the far end of the lake – the club anemometer recorded 22knots, but we were thinking we had a bit more down there. The stable breeze was F3-F4 and South Easterly. Sharing the water with 14 Musto skiffs, we had an unusual course. A brilliant beat, right the length of the reservoir at the far end, then a left handed course. Unfortunately the placement of the wing mark (for race one) was such that we got two runs and a two sail reach. Not optimal, but then PRO’ing from Osmo on a shifty day can be difficult…
We had a short 25 second line and even then it got quite busy. John Basford was teamed with the Admiral and made a great start at the pin, with Howard and Richard just in front, pushing them up – a few inches between them and many polite requests for room at pretty high volume…. Steve and Simon, and Andy teamed with Dave Freeman went right and did pretty well out of that. Steve and Simon were extremely concerned about a mainsail crease from the second batten pocket, but it didn’t seem to slow them down much. At the top mark, it was Andy/Dave, Howard/Richard, John/Mike, Steve/Simon – all pretty close. The reach was something of a run, and bagging to starboard we held sequence around the wing mark and barrelled off down a pretty good blaster of a two sail reach. Gaps changed, but I don’t think positions did…. Howard/Richard closed on Andy/Dave at the bottom mark. Up the beat then, Andy and Dave went more left, and Howard and Richard went for the wall. The breeze over there was a horrible quality – right dead under the flight path. However, it curled along the wall and saw Howard and Richard pull out a short lead by the top mark. Into the sausage leg, a run again, then the breeze was kind and a little more distance went in between the two – then… in a puff of spray they were gone. In beat three, the wall was again the side to go – more ghastly aircraft swirls, but yet the correct route. The reach was still a run, but the two sail fizzer to the finish was great – a proper honker in fabulous breeze – Howard and Richard were about a leg ahead by this time and well away with it. “A horizon job”, as Howard says…. Andy and Dave were second, well ahead of Steve and Simon – with John and Mike fourth.
It was pretty miserable out there, and we were all wet and cold. Steve and Simon were the first to head for the bar. The PRO wisely decided to shift the wing mark for the new breeze, but it took a while. Andy and Dave were the next to shiver and cave in as we flopped around waiting for the start signal. Howard, Richard, John and Mike all grinned gamely at each other to signal how very much we were enjoying it…. and sadly still no start signal. The PRO was very kindly waiting for the 15s to reappear, but of course they were headed for burger and chips…. Suddenly John and Mike uttered the terrible words, “we’re going back” and instantly common sense kicked in. So the fleet headed for shore….
We made up for all this in the Bar, of course – and suddenly Vice Cap’n ‘Anson appeared and all victorious. Much to tell us about he Southern Championships. 34 entries and Helen and John got a creditable 22nd. Setting aside Mervyn forgetting his tally – they all had a great first day. 18-22 knots of breeze and fabulous rolling waves. Day Two was a clanger – blown out completely in 30 knots plus, so the fleet headed for home. Charles got two firsts and a third in the magic boat. A very encouraging boost for him going into the Hayling Championship. He’s a great friend to our fleet, and we’d all cross our fingers for him at Hayling but we’re all shivering too much. John thinks that Steve Goacher and Phil Evans were fourth. Other points – Helen and John were using a new red P&B spinnaker which John says is just fabulous – very full on, but tall shoulders and can be carried much higher. Looking forward to seeing that on the Lake soon. The Stensons got a cracked mast I think, so will turn up with a shiny new stick pretty soon…. Don’t know why our fleet doesn’t just put in a bulk order with Selden….
Tony – on balance, you did the right thing….. perhaps ‘Mumford’ is from the Greek for “Smart man in a tent…”