All set for the Wayfarer Western Area Championships
by Tim Townsend on 17 Apr
22-23 April 2017
A convivial weekend of social and sailing activity for the Wayfarers at West Oxon © Laura Hutchins
This coming weekend, 22 and 23 April, West Oxfordshire Sailing Club hosts the Wayfarer Western Area Championships which is also the first event of the CraftInsure National Circuit and Travellers Series.
There have been fleeting glimpses of Wayfarers racing over the winter months and early spring but this is the first opportunity to see who's hot and who's not as the travellers oil their wheel bearings and hitch up for what promises to be another super-competitive domestic season. Several of the teams which finished in the top eight in last year's National Circuit Series have indicated they will be competing at Oxford, and together with good local boats and other quick visitors, the five scheduled races of the Western Area Championships are likely to be competitive. Add in a fish and chip supper on Saturday night, a live band and cheap beer, what's not to like?
Like a rugby trial in the amateur days there are teams which will probably be at the front of the fleet and teams which will possibly be there. Who are they?
- Andrew Wilson from Datchet Water SC, who with crew Tom or Sue, won two of the National Circuit events in 2016, including the West Oxfordshire SC Wayfarer Open Meeting and finished third overall in the Travellers Series.
- Brian Lamb and Sam Pygall from Wilsonian SC, who finished fourth overall in the National Circuit in 2016; they have been regulars at the front of the Wayfarer fleet for several years and are already going fast in 2017 in their new boat, having won the Bough Beech Icicle from a fleet of over 60.
- Paul Hughes, from Arun YC, who was the surprise package in 2016, finishing 7th overall on the National Circuit and who will be flying the flag for his home club which hosts the class National Championships in June.
- Nigel and Belinda O'Donnell, from Swarkestone SC near Derby who recently finished in the top ten overall at the Blithfield Barrell. They also have a new boat, and if they're not in the first few by close of play on Saturday, they will be near the front of the queue for the dance floor!
Yet to Declare:
- Sue Burton, Rob Hoare, Les Burton and George Edmundson are the local sailors to watch, all of whom finished in the top eight overall at the WOSC Wayfarer Open Meeting in 2016.
- Mike Weighill, who is part of the growing Wayfarer fleet at Swarkestone SC.
- Len Jones representing Medway YC, who, with Jamie Lea as crew has twice been runner up at the National Championships in recent years. Len was also runner up on the National Circuit in 2016 and won the Inland Championships and Season Finale at Bough Beech SC.
- Bill Whitney and John Shelton, who are also regulars on the circuit, finishing fifth overall last year and achieving a couple of podium places while doing so. They also finished just outside the top ten at the World Championships in 2016.
- John Goudie, another fast helm from Wilsonian SC, with a new boat last season who is regularly near the front of the fleet and had good results at the World Championships in 2016.
- Michael McNamara who, with crew Simon Townsend, is the reigning National and European Champion in the class and finished a close second at the World Championships in 2016. They were the winners of the National Circuit in 2016, just pipping Len Jones to the post. If they turn up at the weekend, they will be hard to beat; the organisers very much hope they will attend because they currently hold all the perpetual trophies for the Western Area Championships!
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