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Wayfarer National Championship at Arun Yacht Club

by Tim Townsend 21 Jun 2017 09:33 BST 16-18 June 2017

Fifty Wayfarer teams from Britain, Ireland and Denmark gathered at Arun YC, Littlehampton, for their National Championships over the weekend of 16th to 18th of June. The weather was fine and sunny and the wind forecast was favourable certainly for the first two days, although the forecast winds for Sunday were looking a little less promising.

Arun YC and its volunteers put on a fantastic event. Race officer, Tom Rusbridge, provided strong and stable leadership to his team on the committee and mark laying boats. The course was laid accurately each day providing an even start line, the opportunity to benefit from both sides of the beat and good down wind and spinnaker reaching legs.

Off the water, the social events were well supported too, with the live music on Friday and Saturday evenings a particular highlight (especially Chas Hammond and Richard Hartley's karaoke duet).

It was good to see the two major sponsors of the event, Hartley Boats and Craftinsure, represented not only in the promotional materials but also on the water, as Richard and Mark Hartley and Mark and Alex Lee also competed.

Friday brought the firmest winds, a solid (for the most part) 12 to 15 knots from the west. The practice race, on a windward leeward course, was won by Bill Whitney and John Shelton from Shoreham SC, and they went on to win the first points race as well. The second race was won by Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend, the pre-event favourites, from Rollesby Broad SC.

It wasn't all plain sailing for the other top competitors however, who were touted in our preview as being ones to watch. Len Jones and Peter Mitchell from Medway YC were leading the first race for a time until a brief swim put them into recovery mode. Andrew and Tom Wilson from Datchet water SC also suffered (as did others) in the second race as they plummeted from second place to the teens after a windshift caught them out. Another favoured team, Richard Stone and Catherine Gore from Medway YC, also had a day to forget and were lying in the late teens overall at the end of day one, well below their reasonable expectations.

Overnight leaders were McNamara/Townsend followed by Whitney/Shelton and Roger Challis and Mark Johnston from Waldringfield SC.

Saturday's winds were from a similar direction but lighter at 7 to 10 knots. Originally three races were scheduled but because of an increasingly light wind forecast for Sunday, a landslide vote at the briefing brought forward a fourth race. Four races were duly completed over a triangle and sausage course.

McNamara/Townsend won races three and four and consolidated their overnight lead. A remarkable transformation for Stone/Gore brought them the runners up spot in both of these races improving their overall position at a stroke. Whitney/Shelton and Wilson/Wilson and Challis/Johnston remained resolutely consistent. Other frontrunners fell by the wayside in a coalition of chaos. Jones/Mitchell collected a black flag in race four while a mid-series crisis saw the decline and fall of Dave Roberts and Mike Bryant from Bough Beech SC from the leading positions. Colin May and Sarah Wallis from Parkstone YC, on the other hand, started a series of top ten results which would improve their position overall.

The fifth race could be described as the pivotal one of the event. Whatever the polls were now saying about Jones/Mitchell's prospects of success, they defied the odds by leading from the start and winning the race by a country mile. Behind them, McNamara/Townsend were buried mid fleet at the end of the first beat. They didn't hesitate to press the button, however, and improved their position leg by leg to finish sixth, a discard for the moment, but a counter against future disaster. All was not well elsewhere, however. In trying to improve his overnight position, Class boatbuilder and sponsor, Richard Hartley contrived to "do a Nathan" [Outteridge] and fell off his boat during a tack. Hoping the incident was unrecorded, Richard was nevertheless warmly reminded of his folly at the prize-giving.

Race six was also won comfortably by Jones/Mitchell putting them back in contention, but normal service was resumed behind them as they were chased around the course by McNamara/Townsend and Stone/Gore. The Wilson's chances of overall victory were dealt a blow by collecting a black flag of their own.

Overnight party leaders were the Medway crew and others, first on the dance floor and leaders of a 50 person conga around the clubhouse which collected the race officer as it went by.

Overnight leaders on the water were McNamara/Townsend, Whitney/Shelton, Challis/Johnston and Jones/Mitchell. By now McNamara/Townsend were overwhelming favourites to retain their crown, but a last-minute slide on Sunday could still see them deposed.

Sunday morning came with desert heat, clear blue skies and muzzy heads for some. Undeterred, the fleet rigged and prepared to head to the battlefield. As feared, however, the weather gods were saying their piece. A gentle breeze was struggling to settle and the sea breeze was not kicking in. Some boats launched but was sent back while the rest of the fleet was held ashore. After waiting as long as he sensibly could, the race officer pulled the plug on proceedings, provisional results were made final and we could proceed to the prize-giving.

Wizards though they are (but not mutton headed old mugwumps) Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend were crowned the Wayfarer National Champions for 2017. According to the records, this is Michael's 19th time as Champion since 1986 ("You're joking, not another one", Brenda from Bristol was heard to exclaim) and Simon has been his crew for all but one of these. Congratulations to them, the deserved champions who succeed on conservative starting strategies and superior speed and boat handling skills around the course.

In his victory speech, Michael thanked the organising committee and host club for their hard work in putting on such a good championship. They will be a hard act to follow.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Wayfarer nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoFleetHelmCrewBoat NameClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st10648GoldMichael McNamaraSimon TownsendThe PoacherRollesby Broad3111‑628
2nd10688GoldBill WhitneyJohn SheltonBig DipperShoreham16‑764421
3rd10992GoldRoger ChallisMark JohnstonRevivalWalderingfield62373‑1621
4th11067GoldLen JonesPete MitchellRumoursMedway8124(BFD)1126
5th11093GoldAndrew WilsonTom WilsonRestlessDatchet Water285314(BFD)32
6th10768GoldColin MaySarah WallisPork Pie ChaserParkstone4‑208821032
7th11050GoldGuy MarksMelanie TitmusAbsolute FiascoBough Beech75‑21107635
8th10974GoldRichard StoneCatherine Gore Medway‑21172212336
9th10936GoldBarry WolfendenAlan RitchieIndiaBough Beech936415(BFD)37
10th10673GoldDavid RobertsMike BryantLBVBough Beech54‑171713948
11th11170GoldBrian LambSam PygallWhizoWilsonian127913‑171253
12th10947GoldStewart ColtartPeter Dilly Catriona ColtartQuicksilverMedway201011‑2151359
13th11124GoldMeilke FrankJens RiberLangiHo Bugt Sejlklub16‑21121191159
14th10918GoldRichard HartleyMark HartleyJust chanceRYA‑28922520561
15th11012GoldTim TownsendJacqueline TownsendIntermezzoMedway1014‑191519866
16th10686GoldBrian McKenzieElizabeth McKenzieHurcules HoundMedway15111614‑321571
17th11152SilverMonica SchaeferMiriam McCarthyLakkaGreystones13‑38252621792
18th7110GoldTrevor FisherEmily WattAppleEast Down422210911(BFD)94
19th11119SilverBen DaviesOlivia DaviesSecond ChanceAldeburgh19‑301320291798
20th11118GoldJohn GoudieJohn HewatHappy Ever AfterWilsonian11‑292319271999
21st10828SilverDerek LambertSue RisbridgerNutcrackerDatchet Water(RET)1814371024103
22nd10906GoldIan ClarkeJeremy ShintonPapillonBartley‑271320252322103
23rd10616GoldMark LeeAlex LeeRisky BusinessBroxbourne1416321625(BFD)103
24th10614SilverMark PennyGail PennyLoose KnotsMedway18242922‑3518111
25th10018SilverJohn TurnerElain VoganAnamcaraRamor3225301216(BFD)115
26th11204SilverMike ShallowJudith ShallowKite RunnerOrford‑312815293020122
27th10803SilverJonathan ChristieSimon HarringtonNo Strings AttachedAldeburgh22‑3424272628127
28th11183SilverMike WeighillCarl MartinNomadSwarkstone30151835‑3730128
29th10706SilverMike PearceSteve AshPlane WhiteBlackwater2533‑37301823129
30th11129SilverPaul HughesMark NichollsYOLOArun‑361927332229130
31st11189SilverNigel O'DonnellBalinda O'DonnellGuinnessSwarkstone23272632‑3825133
32nd10935SilverMargie CrawfordRobin AndersonMistral IIEast Down3323‑35233421134
33rd11000SilverWilliam CleverleyLiz FeibuschCassieOrford29‑4034392414140
34th10596SilverGordon JessRachel BevanHart‑BeatEast Down‑353528183326140
35th10601GoldJamie WheatleyHector WheatleyHitch‑HikerAldeburgh1732‑42313627143
36th10798SilverPeter RedshawJanette RedshawCair‑vieAldeburgh3426‑41242831143
37th10716SilverChas HammondMandy HammondZigZagShoreham2636312831(BFD)152
38th11167SilverKenneth UnderhillMark PerritonWhataripperAldeburgh244240(BFD)4032178
39th10710SilverGiles Vincent‑WrightStuart HallQuiverRoyal Harwich(DNC)DNC33348BFD179
40th404SilverRodney HallJanet HallSink the PinkEast Down3731‑44384133180
41st28BronzeChris TylerMark TylerChreselenEmsworth Slipper39373636‑4235183
42nd10916SilverPhilip PowellMike BoardSapphireParkstone38‑4438413934190
43rd10939BronzeDavid NixonPaddy MurphyBlack BeautyGreystones40413940‑4438198
44th376BronzeSimon NichollsAndy RiggMoody BlueArun4139‑43424337202
45th11117BronzeRobert BoughtonEd KerrWanderlustRedsmere434345(RET)4536212
46th11107SilverTony Geary   (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC260
46th10963SilverElise BeketEvert BeketDoeiDoeiVremdijck(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC260
46th34 Anthony Hinton RedskinAldeburgh(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC260
46th1162BronzeKate MellorJohn MellorAeowenNotts County(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC260
46th7038BronzeDavid Doran WexfordWexford(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC260
46th8598BronzeJeremy NormanChris CodlingGandalfYorkshire Dales(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC260

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