Thirty-three boats attended the 2006 Albacore Nationals at Torbay at the end of August, four of them from Maidenhead.Trevor and Ann Smith. John and Janet Woffinden, Robin and Victoria Brooks and Phil Tindall and me.
(photo: Border Photos)
Day one. As its four years since Phil and I last sailed on what Baldric described as the big blue wobbly thing with fish in it, we were a bit at sea to start with (sorry about that) and could only manage to finish 21st in the first race.
A better start in the second race saw us about halfway up the fleet on the second beat when I spotted it. DUCK I shouted. Phil dutifully ducked and then looked a bit confused as nothing happened. No I said, there is a dead duck in the water and we have just sailed over it. We both looked around but could not see anything. Phil looked at me as if he thought I had already spent too long at sea when the rudder jammed. Yes, thats right, the duck had become stuck between the rudder and the transom. By the time it was cleared we had lost several places and finished a lowly 24th.
Day two and the wind was a very healthy four to five with a slight to moderate sea. This is for us we said, we always go well in strong winds and we did. But so did all the others. In the first race we finished 25th and in the second race a much improved 15th. It seemed that we had found natural position in the middle of the fleet.
Race three and it got worse. We misread a course change as a race finish and relaxed. By the time we realised the mistake we were at the back of the fleet and finished 28th. But what a finish. With winds up to 22knots the final leg was a flat out planning reach for the best part of a mile. Scaaareey!. But we did win a bottle of wine as a consolation prize.
Day three and the final day. The wind has dropped to force two to three with a slight sea. We reverted to the old main sail as it was more suited to the conditions but could still only manage 18th in the first race. At the start of the second race, most of the fleet went to the left of the beat but we saw a gap in the line and went to the right to clear our air. Whats going on? We arrive at the windward mark a close fifth and by the wing mark we are fourth, just behind Trevor and Ann. At the start of the final beat we are a close seventh with the rest of the fleet nowhere. We chased the leaders to the left and we all completely missed a big wind shift that brought the fleet rushing in to the windward mark from the right. Ah well, we had our few moments of fame and eventually finished 14th.
The final results: First, and new National Champions, Orlando Gledhill and John Frary who discarded a third! Trevor and Ann were 11th, John and Janet 14th, Phil and me 21st and Robin and Victoria 25th. Team Maidenhead finished second in the team trophy competition. But there was some success; John and Janet won a nice piece of silver ware - the President's Open Handicap Trophy - awarded for results adjusted based on how old and knackered your boat is. John claims that this makes them the real national champions (on handicap) - we just smile and agree to humor him!
Full results can be found here.
More photos of the Nationals by Border Photos here.