Wanderer Open at Whitstable Yacht Club, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August.
SYNOPSIS AND RESULTS
No races could be sailed on Saturday 19 August due to adverse conditions (F6 W). Racing was postponed to the following day for which a cruise through Whitstable bay and the Swale to the Shipwright’s Arms, Faversham creek, was scheduled. In accordance with the NOR, which stated “one race shall be completed to constitute a series”, a course was set for a single race with the start line off the club and a finish line to the north of the entrance to Faversham creek. To avoid the shallows of Whitstable flats and the oyster beds, the first leg of the course was 2.5 miles NE to round Pollard Spit buoy, which marks the entrance to the Swale, turning SW for the second leg through the Swale channel to the finish line off Faversham Spit buoy, a distance altogether (in straight lines) of 6.5 nautical miles.
This was a weekend of two contrasting days. The first day, scheduled for races, was blown out by a horrible SW near gale. The second, scheduled for a cruise, provided near perfect conditions for a combined race and cruise day. Saturday saw ten Wanderers (8 WYC boats, and 2 visitors) confronted by a fierce wind, steep, angry waves and a general consensus not to race. Paul and Liz entered the club race to be the only double hander to finish, despite the committee boat dragging its anchor and the leeward mark fast disappearing towards the wind farm.
The Wanderers however are a happy band and 23 Wandering brothers and sisters later reconvened at the club for a greatly appreciated barbecue. Saturday evening was excellent with Richard, Gavin and Ian providing the entertainment. We had poems, funny nautical songs, especially Gavin’s Saga one, and Ian told a shaggy cod story.
Conditions on Sunday could not have been better from everyone’s perspective. The day went brilliantly. It was great having ten Wanderers out and everyone being so helpful and encouraging to each other. Two boats decided to follow the course but not to race. Nick and Keith expecting Storm Gert conditions came with a reduced mainsail. Sailing upwind in lighter airs was a challenge, but they covered Tankerton as well as Whitstable Bay and, despite missing the reception party at the Shipwright’s, returned safely despite the diversion - not long after the RNLI had checked their wellbeing.
Richard’s pedagogic predisposition took over as he gave visiting crewmen, Joanathan Jefferies, who has recently become a Wanderer owner and John Renouf, chairman of the Wanderer Class Owners Association, a Wanderer Swale sailing taster session in “Giggle”.
Apart from the welcome sight of the Shipwright’s, the run back with the rest of the fleet, spinnakers flying, completed the champagne sailing experience for our guests. The race itself produced one of the most thrilling finishes of Wanderer long distance sailing. After six and a half miles - Shelagh made it ten miles with all the tacking - the front three boats were sailing brilliantly and it was any man’s or woman’s race to win. Gavin and Mark sailing “Thistle” (1282) had made a great port tack start at the pin end, kept as far to windward on the first leg, rounded ahead the Pollard Spit, and mid Swale led the fleet past Sand End buoy. Nick and Mike in “Too late the Hero” (1604) had “Thistle” and “Surprise” (1626) sailed by Paul and Liz in their sights. But in the very shifting and gusty conditions of the narrowing Swale, “Thistle” and “Surprise” (1626) closed on the finish while “Too late the Hero”, having tacked to take a shorter course, lost out to a header. “Surprise” (Paul and Liz) now began to overhaul “Thistle” (Gavin and Mark). Paul got to windward of Gavin and was able to tack first for the line. It was a photo finish (thanks to Laurna Carney) with Paul and Liz a superb first, and everyone a winner.
For all of this, a big Thank You to everyone who made the success and fun of the weekend possible: John Boorman, our Race Officer and with Laura Carney, our photographer, also our RIB cruise escort, to Andrea for registration, to Wizz and Jo for the superb Bar-B-Q and everyone involved at WYC.
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