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Bottle Boat Championship at Waldringfield Sailing Club

by Roger Stollery on 10 Oct 8 October 2017

Plenty of wind and sun gave 16 competitors a spectacular day's racing for BOTTLE boats on the river Deben at Waldringfield Sailing Club. With the southerly wind against the ebb tide there was spray everywhere, generated by the speed on the offwind legs with the powerful bottle & plastic cup bows planing through the waves.

After the first few races nearly all these unusual one-designs changed into their small swing rigs to improve their tacking and manoeuvrability, whilst still producing fantastic speeds off the wind.

Everyone enjoyed this, particularly one quarter of the fleet, who were aged between 4 and 10 years old and yet coped well with a little parental help at times, changing batteries, rigs and mending these simple boats, which are mostly made from recycled materials.

After a group photo, the racing began around the simple windward leeward course parallel to the beach. Initially against the southerly wind and the top of the flood tide, this gave almost perfect conditions, which got even better when the tide turned. This spectacle was greatly enjoyed by many family supporters, club members and villagers, who always love to watch this event.

The morning racing

The first two races were won by Graham Viney followed by Mike Pert and Bernard Kufluk all in big rigs. In Race 3 which was won by the latter, Keith Parrott was the first to appreciate the strength of the increasing wind and changed to his small rig. This immediately allowed him to improve his usual finishing position to gain 5th place. It gave him an even better performance in Race 4 when he came 2nd ahead of the overpowered big rig powered boats that were showing their rudders in the air in the strongest gusts. Even more delighted was seven-year-old Oliver Stollery, who won the race after also having his rig changed.

The last race before lunch saw Alan Viney get a win, still in his big rig and absolutely flying downwind. In second place was Rob Vice, who had been struggling all morning to get his boat going during these initial races.

The barbecue

The competitors and the new WSC members were treated to a barbecue laid on by Kim Mayhew and time to mend broken gear, change rigs and get ready before the afternoon racing. Graham headed the lunchtime leaderboard with 11 from Mike 12 and Bernard 14 points.

The afternoon racing

Wayfarer sailor, Mike came out strongly to win Race 6 followed by Marblehead sailor, Rob and Keith Parrott. Bernard took Race 7 and then allowed Rob to collect a string of four first places only interrupted by Mike winning Race 10. Mike also won Races 13, 14 and 16, but allowed Bernard to take Race 15. In these last races there were more juniors sailing than grown-ups! The Championship was all down to the last race, as Bernard only had to come 3rd to beat Mike. However he sailed into a well publicised mooring line that dropped him down to 5th, whilst Mike finished first ahead of the two boys, Oliver and Arthur.

The priz egiving

WSC Commodore, Bob Whitehouse gave away the Junior Championship prizes first, with Oliver with 61 points taking the junior BOTTLE trophy. Second was Arthur Sturmer with 79 points, his brother William 120 and fourth Nathan Stollery with 180.

Mike took the main BOTTLE trophy with 30 points, with Bernard second with 31 and Graham third with 47. Remarkably, two youngsters took the next two places with Oliver fourth and Arthur fifth.

Mike thanked the race team, which included Sarah Stollery in the rescue boat and scorer Linda Stollery and particularly Roger for having created the idea, designed and built the boats, organised the event and run the event on the day!

Overall Results:

1st Mike Pert, WSC 30pts
2nd Bernard Kufluk WSC 31pts
3rd Graham Viney Guildford 47pts
4th Oliver Stollery (J) Guildford 61pts
5th Arthur Sturmer (J) WSC 79pts
6th Rob Vice Clapham 90pts
7th Alan Viney Guildford 101pts
8th Keith Parrott Frensham Pond 102pts
9th William Sturmer (J) WSC 120pts
10th Graham Whitehead Frensham Pond 158pts
11th Steve Hill Frensham Pond 171pts
12th Howard Fraser WSC 171pts
13th Nathan Stollery (J) Guildford 180pts
14th John Fish WSC 192pts
15th Noel Fraser WSC 193pts
16th Matthew Lake WSC 213pts

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