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Wanderer Open at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Shelagh O'Riordon & Ed Lamb 3 Jun 2015 08:27 BST 30-31 May 2015
Wanderers at Whitstable © Alex Cheshire

Last weekend we arrived in Whitstable for the Wanderer Open. We had travelled about 1 mile and it turned out no-one had travelled much further! For various reasons we had no visiting boats, although Mike and Lesley Bennett had travelled, but not raced due to illness (get well soon, Lesley!). However, 8 Whitstable boats rigged (some for the first time this year) for a great day's racing on Saturday and a complete blow out on Sunday. Ian Hay and Kate Ahern got advice on rigging their boat but there was much debate about whether their somewhat undersized jib was actually meant to be on a Wanderer!

Race 1 started in bright sunshine and a force 3/4 westerly. It can't be said we were all on the start at the gun but most of us were over the line within 30 seconds! Gavin Barr and Mark Skipper, and Paul Yeadon and Liz North, were soon zooming off into the distance and I can't say we saw much of them after that! After a hard fight Paul and Liz crossed the line first with Gavin/Mark second.

Back in the fleet the competition was on! Mark Fagg and Ian Hender started well but had spinnaker problems. Patrick Duffy and son Freddy (who lowered the average age by about 20 years!) also sailed well. We followed fighting to keep away from Paul Cross and Dave Bardwell and the 2 Richards (Maltby and Gaskell)! Ian and Kate sailed with huge smiles on their faces but their dodgy jib let them down! It was close at the end with 3 boats crossing the line within seconds of each other in a dying wind.

Frustration for Race Officer John Boorman who set a new course, only for the wind to fill back in from the original direction. It was good to catch up for a chat with the 2 lead boats as we never saw them on the course! We finally got going, but annoyingly that was the last we saw of Paul/Liz. We could at least see Gavin and Mark's transom for the first upwind leg! Maybe his switch to centre-main caused the occasional tangle! Mark and Ian had their spinnaker working well and got away from the rest of us for 3rd place. Paul/Dave also sailed extremely well to take 4th. We crossed the line in 5th (again) but at least we weren't whisky flagged (although Ed thought going in for tea early looked like a great option).

It's worth noting that Mark Fagg has a reputation for injuring his crew (I have bruises from last week's sail) but did he really need to knock poor Ian over the side with a small communication error and a big gybe on landing?

It was pretty clear that there would be no sailing on Sunday but, ever hopeful, we all turned up to find a big sign saying "No racing: force 5-6 gusting 7-8". So Paul Cross quickly organised the prize giving. Paul Yeadon and Liz North consolidated their recent Nationals win to take 1st, with Gavin and Mark 2nd, and Mark Fagg and Ian Hender 3rd. The fight for the first non-spinnaker boat was close with Patrick/Freddy, Paul/Dave and Ed and I all on 10 points! As prize-master, Paul decided (for some dubious but possibly correct reason) to give it to himself!

It was great to get back out in the Wanderer fleet- they aren't the fastest boats but at least you can sit in them not on them and the racing was great. And we do have fun! Thanks to Whitstable Yacht Club for a great weekend, and to Alex Cheshire for some super pictures. More of her photos can be found here.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2Nt Pts
11626Paul YeadonLiz North112
21282Gavin BarrMark Skipper224
3989Mark FaggIan Hender336
41099Paul CrossDave Bardwell6410
5602Patrick DuffyFrederick Duffy4610
61566Shelagh O'RiordanEdmund Lamb5510
74282Richard MaltbyRichard Gaskell7714
8593Ian HayKate Ahern8816

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