Please select your home edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD
Product Feature
L-shape Dock Fender
L-shape Dock Fender

Wanderer Inland Championship at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club

by Tim Robertson 29 Apr 2016 06:57 BST 23-24 April 2016

Eleven Wanderers gathered at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club near Witney for the 2016 Inland Championships over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th April. The event was the first for our class at this venue and we shared the water over the weekend with 13 Wayfarers enjoying an open event of their own. It was great to see some new faces travelling to an event and also to welcome Jack Mann back into the Wanderer racing event fold after a break of a few years.

The Friday evening was cold, dark and wet as boats were dropped off in the dinghy park in preparation for the battles to come, but the forecast looked hopeful for a bright and breezy weekend.

On Saturday morning the crews were greeted at the club with bacon rolls and hot tea as boats were fettled ready for the 10:30 briefing and a start planned for 12:00, with three races on Saturday and 2 more on Sunday. A friendly race officer duly delivered the briefing and the 'knitting pattern' course woven amid the 11 identical blue buoys was noted, starting from a line just off the clubhouse. Wayfarers would go first and Wanderers 5 minutes later....which led in some races to an interesting situation with Wayfarers running through the Wanderer start line under spinnaker just as we were gathering for the start signal.

Getting afloat the breeze proved to be fresh, shifty and a little gusty, keeping the crews minds on the job as we prepared for race #1. The sun was bright and conditions were pretty much ideal for some tight Wanderer racing.

Race #1 saw a win for Dave Bardwell's W1004 Teazle, with Philip Meadowcroft's W1541 Black Mischief taking second and Tim Robertson's W1038 bagging third ahead of Paul Yeadon's W1626. I would like to be able to tell you more about the race but I was so taken up with battling Paul and Liz in W1626 that I can tell you nothing more than it was shifty, gusty and I hit the leeward mark in a close quarters rounding inside Paul and once I escaped his clutches had to do turns, managing to claw back to pip them to third as they got headed on the following beat. Matt Kelly and his young son in W1729 sailed a storming race to finish 5th despite not flying a spinnaker. All the boats made it round without any swimming and we took a break for lunch and a bowl of steaming vegetable soup with garlic bread.

Race #2 was sailed on the same course and should have been won by Paul and Liz in W1626 who had gone off like a scorched cat, with Matt Kelly close behind, as they were comfortably ahead of the fleet in the early laps. However a navigational error meant they had to sail back to a buoy and dropped back into the mid fleet as a result. This allowed Philip Meadowcroft in W1541 to sail clear for a dominant win, followed home at some distance by Dave Bardwell's W1004 and Paul Yeadon's recovering W1626. W1038 finished 4th after impeding W1004 at the windward mark, tacking inside the 3 boat length circle and forcing W1004 above close hauled to avoid him....more turns required. Matt Kelly in W1729 again scored well with another 5th after a good recovery from the earlier navigational issue.

Cake and coffee ashore then interrupted racing but Race #3 had Tim Robertson manage to avoid hitting anyone or any buoys and score a first win just ahead of Paul Yeadon's W1626, who was struggling with his rig settings in the light patches and had to recover following a coming together with W1004 at the leeward mark. Having lost places in the middle of the race W1541 had started to claw them back. By the last beat they were pretty much back to third and the crew was devising a cunning tactical plan to get to second. Alas this cunning plan was worthy of a certain Cpl Baldrick, and involved sailing to the wrong windward mark - so enamoured were they by the strong lifting gust they found themselves in. Back down to 5th was the result. W1038 almost threw it away as they were confused by the shortened course and finishing sequence for the Wayfarers. Thinking they had been finished, the crew celebrated prematurely and stopped racing to only let Paul past and then had to re-join battle to catch and re-pass Paul inside at the leeward mark to squeak a nervy win. Matt Kelly in W1729 scored his best result of the weekend with a strong 3rd followed by W1004 in 4th and W1541 in 5th.

At the end of day #1, with 3 races of 5 completed things were nicely balanced at the top of the score card with Dave Bardwell's W1004 leading on a total score of 7, Philip Meadowcroft W1541 and Tim Robertson W1038 drawn in second on 8, Paul Yeadon W1626 in 4th only a point adrift in 9, and Matt Kelly and his son W1729 holding 5th on 13 all to play for on day #2.

The club organised a fish and chip supper for competitors on Saturday evening, followed by a live band in the evening, though I can't tell you how good the band were as I retired to a Premier Inn in Witney for a long hot bath to loosen up my aching legs after a great days racing.

Day #2 was less sunny but pretty much as windy as Saturday had been, with two races planned, back to back in the morning to ensure the event was finished before the club racers got afloat in the afternoon. The course was altered slightly to account for a slight wind shift but remained broadly a beat to the top of the lake, a short reach to a wing mark, gybe and reach back across the lake before a long run down almost the entire length of the lake.

Race #4 saw the Wayfarers crossing the Wanderer start under spinnaker just as we were in the last 20 seconds of pre-start which got a little shouty for a while. With a northwesterly wind the port end of the startline was right up against the bank. Thus was lain a trap for those who decided to take advantage of the line bias and start at the port end, as tacking off to clear the bank would find you on port with a load of angry starboard tack boats bearing down on you. Thus was the fate that befell Mike Hamilton, who's tacking onto port caused a logjam involving 1541 and Jack Mann in 1744 to develop, there was also someone over at the starboard end to add to the excitement. Once untangled and under way Jack Mann showed well in W1744 eventually scoring a strong 3rd, while W1038 and W1626 continued their duelling. With tweaked settings W1626 was back up to speed to windward but twice suffering spinnaker problems at the leeward mark allowing W1038 to nip inside, squeak ahead on both occasions and secure another win. W1004 continued her strong weekend with a 4th and Matt Kelly with his son in W1729 continued his good showing with a 5th, despite having a capsize in the latter stages of the race.

A short break ashore allowed us to catch our breath before the final race, with things very finely balanced, W1038 on 9 points, W1626 and W1004 on 11, W1541 on 14 and W1729 on 18. (Before any discards).

Race #5 saw a tight start with boats bunched at the starboard end, Mike Hamilton showed at the front of the fleet for the first beat and at the windward mark was a close second behind W1038, with that pair clear of the pursuing bunch who all arrived at the windward mark together amid much shouting as some boats tried to force into the mark on port. Having been forced by a nasty windshift into taking the bandit line into the mark, W1626 had to do turns following a slight coming together with W1541. By the time the fleet had cleared the mark and set off in pursuit, W1038 had sailed clear and had a relaxed sail to win the last race and take the regatta. W992, sailing without a spinnaker battled hard but dropped back through the spinnaker boats to finish 6th, their best result of the weekend. W1626 overcame their earlier spinnaker problems and took second from W1541 in 3rd and W1004 in 4th with the improving Jack Mann in W1744 taking 5th.

Overall Results:

PosSail noOwnerR1R2R3R4R5Pts
71502 ‑9787729
111662 111111(DNS)DNS45

Thank you to all at West Oxfordshire sailing club and the Wayfarer sailors for welcoming us at this event which hopefully will become a regular in the Wanderer calendar from now on.

Related Articles

Wanderer Nationals at Whitstable
A moderate breeze fills in on boths days for the fleet Ten Wanderers gathered at Whitstable during the last week of August and the first weekend of September. Wanderer East, a series of cruises up the Swale and over to the island of Sheppey was held during the week. Posted on 7 Sep 2023
Wanderers at Whitstable
Including the traditional muddying of the mainsail top The seven boats entered for the Whitstable Wanderer open meeting were greeted by a bright and breezy morning. Unfortunately two boats had previously withdrawn owing to Covid. Posted on 28 Jun 2022
Wanderer Inlands at Cotswold SC
Sailors from as far afield as Essex and Kent make the trip to Cirencester The Wanderer fleet once again gathered at the delightful Cotswold Sailing Club with some arriving on the Friday night, but the majority opting to arrive on the Saturday morning, travelling from as far afield as Essex and Kent. Posted on 23 May 2022
West Oxfordshire Wanderer Open
It's not usually this windy here they claimed. Hmmmm... It's not usually this windy here they claimed. Hmmmm. Posted on 29 Apr 2022
Wanderer Class renew Craftinsure partnership
Craftinsure has been delighted to see scheme numbers continue to grow The Wanderer Class Owners Association has agreed to renew their partnership scheme with Craftinsure for 2021. Posted on 25 Feb 2021
Tips for sailing with a young crew
What is different when racing with kids between the age of 6 and 12 Here are some top tips on sailing with young people. The guide covers boat set up, jobs for the crew, sailing techniques, kit and incentives. It is written from the experience of several people who have sailed with kids between the age of 6 and 12. Posted on 25 Oct 2019
Wanderer National Championships
Wind would have been nice Nine Wanderers gathered at Bewl Valley in Kent on 14th/15th September for their 2019 national championships, hosted by Bewl Sailing Association. The forecast for both days was not promising at all. Posted on 17 Sep 2019
Wanderers at Whitstable
Sunny and breezy after the Kentish monsoons 15th of July dawned a sunny but breezy day, which was a relief after the Kentish monsoons that had lashed the county during the previous week. Posted on 17 Jun 2019
Wanderer Inlands at West Oxfordshire
Best excuse ever for accusation of being over the start line The end of April should be the beginning of summer. Not so 27/28 April when the Wanderer fleet gathered for their Inlands at West Oxfordshire SC; sharing the water with a Wayfarer open meeting. Posted on 5 May 2019
Wanderer Inlands at Bewl
Eleven Wanderers make the trip Admirably hosted by members of the Bewl Sailing Association, eleven Wanderers made the trip, including one each from the Reigate and the Sheppey Sea Cadets over the weekend of 15th & 16th September. Posted on 21 Sep 2018