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Tideway Nationals on Plymouth Sound

by Arthur Davey 25 Jun 2017 14:07 BST 3 June 2017

The 2017 annual Tideway Challenge was held on Plymouth Sound on Saturday 3rd June 2017. The races were ably organised and marshalled by Keith Kendall and a support team from Plymouth Youth Sailing Club based at Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre, who hosted the Tideway Owners Association for the weekend.

The TOA holds the Challenge meeting once a year, and the competition is for the Challenge Trophy; the Rose Bowl for single handed boats; the Watershed Decanter for the highest placed GRP boat (excluding the winner of the Challenge Trophy); and the John White Shield for under 18 helms.

While some crews cruised across the Sound towards Cawsand or the Tamar, 8 boats entered the Challenge, with the usual mix of wooden and GRP boats both old and new. In addition, as a welcome innovation, Ross Molay with his crew of three in T14 Gem would join in, though not formally part of the race. Those helms and crews racing received a very clear briefing from Keith on shore in the Mount Batten centre. He described the course – a triangle, a sausage, and a repeat of the triangle with three large yellow buoys as the marks, each to be left to port. So it was a beat through the line to the first mark, a reach to the second, then a jibe and a run to the third. He also demonstrated the signal flags he would be using (very necessary for those not used to racing). The race would be controlled from his yacht as the Committee Boat, and would be held in the Sound outside the long Mount Batten breakwater and towards Jennycliff. There would be three races, with one discard. The wind was from the South West at 3 gusting 4 and building – ideal for Tideways.

Following the briefing, the 9 boats made their way out to the Sound, fairly gently in the shelter of the breakwater, but then picking up the wind and the swell as they emerged into the open water. The early arrivals had time to practice their tacks and gybes but as soon as the rest arrived the five-minute signal was hoisted, and soon the first race was underway. Arthur Davey and Ken Ryles in Wild Goose (TW 464) got off to a flying start and were leading the field up to the first mark when out of nowhere came a yacht, carving its way through the fleet, it's helm oblivious to shouts and also to where he was going as he hit the first mark. In the process Wild Goose was forced to bear away before the mark and other boats were pushed off line. Jolyon and Jennie Pope in Jolybods (TW 54) came out ahead from the mark, while Wild Goose fell to the back of the pack, though she managed to catch up as the race progressed. Jolybods came through the line first, well ahead of Wild Goose closely followed by Rob Tate and Martin Senior in Nerina (TW 252). The next two races followed a similar pattern with these three boats finishing in the same order; though it was all fairly close, with the whole fleet finishing within good time. As the wind strength increased, a few boats withdrew before the third race, and David Coldwell in Peewit (TW 461) who had come a creditable fourth in the second race, unfortunately suffered a capsize while coming out of being hove-to while waiting for the last race. Thankfully that was the only casualty to disturb the crews of the support boats.

The prize giving was held in the evening prior to a Fleet Supper at the Mount Batten Centre, and John Fox, who had manned one of the support boats, kindly presented the trophies. Jolyon and Jennie Pope in Jolybods (TW 54) regained the Challenge Trophy they last held in 2015. The Rose Bowl went to David Coldwell in Peewit (TW 461), despite his mishap. The Watershed Decanter went to Chris and Lesley Vincent in Saffie (TW 488). There being no helm under 18, the John White Shield was not presented this year. At the same prize giving the Campbell Quaiche for the best maintained wooden Tideway went to David Coldwell for Peewit (TW 461), and the Explorer Trophy for the best account of a cruise in a Tideway dinghy, or T10 or T14, published in the TOA Newsletter during the year went to Jon Clapham for "Postcard from Wareham".

The TOA would like to thank all at Plymouth Youth Sailing Club and Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre, and particularly Keith Kendall and Adrian Kemp, who had arranged the meeting but was unable to be present on the day, for all their help in hosting the weekend, for organising the races and for providing a most enjoyable Fleet Supper on the Saturday evening.

The conditions had been ideal – a dry day and a steady stiff breeze – the course well planned and the races well marshalled. It was generally agreed that this was a successful and enjoyable Challenge.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoatHelm & CrewR1R2R3Pts
Challenge Trophy
154JolybodsJolyon & Jennie Pope1112
2464Wild Goose Arthur Davey & Ken Ryles2224
3252NerinaRob Tate & Martin Senior3336
4488SaffieChris & Lesley Vincentdns549
5170EllabellaKeith & Jan Knight56dns11
Rose Bowl
1461PeewitDavid Coldwell44dns8
2375JennyRichard Taylor67511
3383Sandy BPeter Barnettrtddnsdns
Non racingT14
162GemRoss Molay + crew3747

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