News 11th April

Sailing is now truly under way, and we start with the sailing reports from our active fleet correspondents:

International Dragons
The intrepid Burnham Dragons took to the water once again this weekend, showing the rest of the club that there is a river out there, albeit not a very warm one at the moment!

One of our fleet was in for repairs, so Dan very kindly (foolishly?) agreed to race with David. 15 knots of breeze from the south provided possibly the best sailing conditions of the season to date. At the start, it was Chip Cole and team in "Anarchy" that leapt off the line with an early lead, followed closely by David Smith in "Dax". Peter Marchant ("Beauty and the Beast") snuck along the shore, avoiding the tide, but it was "Dax" that just edged ahead as they approached St Peter’s flats.

This was to be only the beginning!  .. Martin Makey’s "Ganador" popped a kite from high up in the middle of the river, and powered down to meet the fleet ... Chip took his moment perfectly and pushed up "Dax" into the dirty air of the 3 sailed opponent. At Greenward, it was "Anarchy", "Ganador" and "Dax", all within a couple of yards of each other.

As the beat unfolded, "Dax" managed to get ahead, only to fall foul of a very slow luffing competition with "Anarchy" which only served to allow the competition through both boats!  .. lesson learnt here!  Paul Taylor (helming "Pageboy") decided to take full advantage of the inside shift, tacking up the western shore of the Roach, but in his haste appeared to forget about the spit called Branklet! .. it would appear that echo sounders aren’t much use for spits!

At Roach it was now Chip Cole in "Anarchy", followed by Ian Gray ("Integrity"), then "Beauty and the Beast", then "Ganador".

At the leeward mark David and Dan (having combined efforts) managed to sneak back to 2nd place with an overlap at the leeward mark … just 63 yards to the east of the RBYC clubhouse.  There was clearly a difference in interpretation of the rules, and as a result "Dax" was forced to bail out the wrong side of the mark to avoid making a very big and expensive mess of 3 boats.

At the top mark again, "Integrity" had slipped through to take the lead. In a fit of madness, "Anarchy" decided to take the western shore downwind out of the tide, remembering as soon as they had fully committed themselves that this has never paid dividends in the history of man.

To add to PT’s disappointment, his spinnaker, having not been unattached from any of its 3 corners all day, decided to twist itself into an origami animal and refused to budge.

At the leeward mark, Ian Gray had edged ahead, and the positions remained static to the finish: Integrity, Beauty and the Beast, Ganador, Anarchy, Dax, Hands Off, Pageboy

Very very close racing, and our dynamic trio once again showing moments of brilliance .. but we just need to do that at the finish of the race!

RS Elites
We have four Elites in the water so far and three of them competed in the first race of the season, held in ideal weather conditions.

The crew of the brand new "Anduril" (Adrian Olsen / Michael Lovell) were keen to see how she would perform, pitched against two of the best boats in Burnham, "Serious Moonlight" (Richard Bavin) and "Oink Squeal" (David Wood). "Anduril" was going to have her work cut-out.

A short time into the race it was discovered on "Anduril" that a far too short a runner for the gib sheet prevented it being anywhere near fully let off, which caused a few problems in the windy conditions.

All three boats enjoyed a great race, nip and tuck throughout, with the winner being "Oink Squeal" followed by "Serious Moonlight" and "Anduril".  There was, however, only 30 seconds between the first and last boat.  Pretty serious One Design racing at its best!

We look forward to getting the rest of the fleet in the water for what promises to be good year.

News 4th April

Our new Dragon fleet got its first real taste of competitive sailing in the RCYC Easter Regatta, with all three entered in a strong class of 14 boats, with visitors from other rivers and indeed from foreign parts.

The racing started on Good Friday, in what was reported as the wettest and coldest conditions the Dragons had faced in a long while. We finished 2nd and 4th in this baptismal race – a sign of good things to come.

On Saturday the weather we have come to expect from an early Easter continued, with lightening winds and a roaring tide, with the result that the scheduled three races became two. In the first of these we produced a winner – Chip Cole in “Anarchy”, with 4th place going to Dan Wastnage in “Sabbatical”. Just to show it was no fluke, in the next race Dan took the honours.

Easter Sunday saw three races, and try though our valiant sailors did, the years of experience in the Dragon fleet in the fickle conditions (to say nothing of the effects of the celebrations of the previous day? -Ed) kept our boats out of the winning positions.

Overall a good result for the RBYC Dragons, with “Anarchy” (Chip Cole, Nicola Hastwell and Simon Holland-Brown) on the podium in third place, and “Sabbatical” coming in 5th after a tie break for 4th.  The full results can be seen here.

Although it is a little early in the year for the RB racing fleets, while all this excitement was going on we had the annual competition amongst the cruiser/racers for the Williwaw Trophy.

There were three entrants: “Tifano”, “Double Trouble” and “Glorious Fools”. All entrants were competing under IRC and NHC handicaps. All courses were upriver in response to wind direction and to try to keep clear of the Dragon and Squib fleets which were holding regattas from the RCYC.
The first race on Saturday morning was in a light south-easterly. The finishing order on adjusted times was:

IRC NHC
Tifano 2 3
Glorious Fools 1 1
Double Trouble 3 2
The conditions for the Saturday afternoon race were even lighter, with “Tifano” and “Double Trouble” struggling to get over the start line against the tide. “Glorious Fools” did better by keeping close to the North shore initially. “Tifano” sagely decided to retire before drifting too far towards continental Europe. “Double Trouble” started to make some headway by going over to the South shore but it was still heavy going against the tide for both remaining boats. In the end discretion triumphed over valour, and both boats retired.

The conditions were better on Sunday morning, with a still light but filling WNW wind. The course was again upriver but carefully keeping clear of the Dragons and Squibs who were doing similar courses. “Glorious Fools” unfortunately couldn't make it to the start line so it was a closely fought duel between “Tifano” and “Double Trouble”, the latter narrowly winning on adjusted time under both handicap systems.

The overall IRC series winner and Williwaw Trophy winner was “Double Trouble” – but only after a tie-break with “Tifano”.

Congratulations to Duncan Hayley and the crew of “Double Trouble” who collected the Williwaw Trophy in the bar, along with the trophy for NHC winner. Thanks to the crews of all three boats for competing in less than thrilling or comfortable conditions!