Five Maidenhead Albacores headed south this summer to take part in three events in Poole Bay and Swanage. Some excellent racing, great winds and sunshine ensured that we had a great time and the Maidenhead team brought home a collection of trophies.
Southern Area Championships Parkstone YC
Three Maidenhead boats took part in the Southern area championship hosted by Parkstone Yacht Club; Trevor and Ann Smith in Axolotl, Phil Tindall and Roy Box in Mirror Touch and John and Janet Woffinden in Blackadder.
With the National Championships round the corner in Swanage just a week later, this was a good opportunity to prepare and measure pace. Saturdays racing took place in Poole Bay in a force four wind, which later increased to four/gusting five. This provided some challenging racing, unfortunately it also proved to be testing on gear. Trevor and Ann had problems with their rudder not staying down and Phil and Roy had to head back to the club as their Centreboard snapped off. Amazingly, they were able to make the two mile trip back into Poole Harbour without assistance (or a centreboard) - an excellent demonstration of good seamanship.
With overnight repairs and a borrowed centreboard, Sunday presented very little wind and the fleet were held ashore. The race officer bravely decided that the sea breeze would fill in to provide suitable conditions in the bay, rather than take the option of racing within the harbour. Although the passage out to the race area was slow, with some boats needing a tow against the incoming tide, the wind did indeed fill in as expected resulting in a force 4 that allowed two short races to complete the series.
The event was won by national champions Orlando Gledhill and Jon Frary, locals Richard Gray and Bill Law took 2nd and ex Fireball world champion Andy Barker in a borrowed boat took 3rd. John and Janet were dead chuffed with 4th place.
Full results here: http://datastore.parkstoneyachtclub.com/Results/fireballalbacore.html
More Photos here: http://www.sailingscenes.co.uk/gallery.php?gid=134
National Championships Swanage
A week later the nationals were in Swanage. Trevor and Ann moved into their other boat Ozily Emiver as they had lent Axolotl to Alex Price with dad David crewing. Robin and Victoria Brooks also joined the Maidenhead team in Aquachip bring the Maidenhead entry to five boats.
The event was held over three days with a total of seven races in Swanage bay. The first race was on Friday and we were presented with a force 4, so the practice the previous week in Poole came in handy, however a late start is not a good way to start a championship. A couple of the Maidenhead boats were very late over the line (by several minutes) and ended up sailing their discard! (note to self: I must keep an eye on the time during pre-race warm up). The wind moderated for the second race which suited Trevor and Ann, they sailed a blinding race and finished 4th earning them their top ten pennant.
Three races were scheduled for Saturday, the day brought stronger winds of force 5 gusting 6, this gave some challenging conditions as it was combined with the strongest tides of the year that were very evident at the gybe mark. Six hours on the water proved too much for many crews with less than half the fleet finishing the third race of the day. Weight certainly helped in these conditions and John was thankful for all the hard training he had been putting in at the local pie shop over the winter. He and Janet posted two top ten places to join Trevor and Ann in the top 10 club.
On the final day we had a force 2-3 wind, a welcome rest from the conditions of the previous two days, but again with a strong tide out in the bay. The race was on between Trevor & Ann and John & Janet for the husband and wife trophy, both crews were also keen to get into the top 10 overall. In the first race both boats had good starts, but Trevor & Ann made best use of the tide and finished in 6th ahead of John & Janet in 9th narrowing the overall gap between them to just 1 point. So it was all down to the last race. Again both boats got good starts, Trevor & Ann managed to play the tide more effectively again and finished the race in 5th leapfrogging John & Janet to finish 8th overall and winning the Swansea Bay Trophy for Husband & Wife crews. John & Janet finished the last race in 9th to take 9th overall. They also retained the Presidents Handicap trophy that they won last year, awarded to the highest placed boat with the older Fairey hull shape.
Alex Price came home with the Junior Helm trophy in his first Albacore championship.
1st Barney Harris & David Byron, (6701)
2nd Orlando Gledhill & Jon Frary, 8086
3rd Chris Turner & Simon Maguire, 6918
8th Trevor & Ann Smith, 8000 Ozily Emiver Swansea Bay Trophy
9th John & Janet Woffinden, 6490 Blackadder Presidents Open Handicap Trophy
15th Phil Tindall & Roy Box, 7513 Mirror Touch
22nd Robin & Victoria Brooks, 6930 AquaChip
32nd Alex & David Price, (8061) Axolotl. Under 21 Cup
Full results here: http://www.albacore.org.uk/results/2007/Albacore%20Nats%202007%20Overall.htm
Photos here: http://fotoboat.thirdlight.com/index.tlx?albumid=106156
A few weeks later John and Janet returned to Swanage for the towns annual regatta. With the most numerous class entry of mono-hull boats getting their own start, it was hoped that the Albacores would get fleet status as they had done the previous year. However, with a number of local Albacores away for repair or crews seconded to race duty, the four Albacores (3 visitors and 1 local) were put into the handicap fleet along with similar speed boats including a Lark, N12, GP14 and a couple of Laser Stratos. With the Albacores being the fastest boats on handicap in the group, they would have to beat all of the other boats on the water to have a chance of winning on corrected time.
John and Janet got line honours in each race, but were unable to beat the Lark on corrected time, despite trying all sorts of tactics that included taking the entire fleet round the wrong mark (yes, it is that easy to miss a 6 foot high yellow toblerone shaped buoy!). Clearly all the winter pies were not helping now (note to self: must eat fewer pies).
After three races Blackadder came home with second place overall and was the first Albacore.
Swanage is a super place to sail, I would recommend the regatta to anyone who fancies a weekends dinghy sailing on the south coast. The Swanage Sailing Club members made us most welcome and the pies are lovely! Next year we hope to get a few more Maidenhead Albacores down there to reclaim fleet status, so why not come and join us. The regatta is held over the first weekend in August each year.