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Wayfarer Eastern Area Championship 2017 - Preview

by Tim Townsend 19 Jul 2017 16:39 BST 22-23 July 2017
Wayfarer Nationals at Medway © Nick Champion /

It's all change at the head of the leaderboard as the Wayfarer travelling circus heads to Medway Yacht Club on the 22nd and 23rd July for the fifth event in the Craftinsure National Circuit and Travellers Series 2017.

After the fourth event at Aldeburgh Yacht Club a couple of weeks ago, Andrew Wilson with either his son Tom or Sue Risbridger as crew, has taken the lead in the National Circuit Series, but only on count back from Bill Whitney and Lisa Whitney/John Shelton. Previous leader Len Jones, who did not compete at Aldeburgh has slipped to third place for the moment followed by Brian Lamb and Sam Pygall. As expected, Nigel and Belinda O'Donnell have broken into the top five by competing at Aldeburgh which allowed them to discard a distinctly average result from the National Championships in June.

What's planned for this weekend? Medway YC is hosting the Eastern Area Championships sponsored by Craftinsure, Pirates Cave, Chesley Storage and Shepherd Neame. Six races are scheduled over the weekend and the medium range forecast is for plenty of sunshine with a fantastic force 4-5 south westerly on Saturday lunchtime easing slightly as the day wears on followed by free beer, and a force 3 westerly on Sunday. What could be better? Not cutting the lawn, that is for sure.

There is a sit down dinner in the clubhouse on Saturday evening and free camping for visitors. The clubhouse will be open and food available for arrivals on Friday evening. Breakfast and packed lunches will also be available. More information, including Entry Form and Race Documents can be found here.

Who will be the runners and riders? Len Jones, after a bit of R&R by the pool, will be competing and trying to regain the lead in the National Circuit Series. His main challenge may be to keep the mast above the boat, because his results have been peppered recently by swimming exercise. Andrew Wilson is expected to attend and will fight hard to beat Len and retain his lead. Bill Whitney will also be competing and licking his lips in anticipation of the brisker winds forecast for Saturday.

Brian Lamb and Sam Pygall currently placed 4th in the National Circuit Series will also be competing and, again, looking forward to stronger breezes where they tend to excel. Visitors from Swarkestone, Haversham and Bough Beech are also expected. From the strong local fleet, Richard Stone and Catherine Gore have been very fast recently and won their class at the Medway Dinghy Regatta last weekend. They enjoy the lighter conditions so watch out for them especially on Sunday.

Other boats to watch out for are the McKenzies and the Coltarts (with their unique "lucky" spinnaker); and do not discount Tony Alexander and Jon Moon who have enjoyed some spectacular results on these waters in recent weeks. Last but not least, there's always the possibility of Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend, the reigning and serial Wayfarer National Champions, reconciling their busy schedules, quietly rocking up on Saturday morning and showing us all how it's really done... again.

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