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Craftinsure Wayfarer 2017 Finale at Bough Beech Sailing Club

by Tim Townsend 13 Nov 2017 22:13 GMT 11-12 November 2017
Craftinsure Wayfarer 2017 Finale at Bough Beech © Martyn Smith

The eighth and final event of the UK Wayfarer Association Craftinsure National Circuit and Travellers Series 2017 took place in mixed conditions at Bough Beech Reservoir on the weekend of 11th and 12th November. Going into the event, four boats had the potential to be on the podium in the National Circuit. During the week the forecast promised strong and gusty northerly winds on both days, but by Friday we were expecting a damp and grey Saturday with 5-12 knots from the north, while Sunday was to bring a cold north westerly of between 16 and 25 knots.

The short range forecast proved to be accurate with visitors arriving at the club and rigging their boats in intermittent drizzle. Twenty boats then took to the water for two races in a patchy breeze; real snakes and ladders conditions which suited the lighter crews and also boats with local knowledge.

The first race was led for a time by Elliott Marks and Kate Fitzsimmons in Elliott's father's old boat, a 30 year old Mark2 before they succumbed to the attentions of Martin and Donna Rouse-Collen, the two boats finished in that order. Of the boats in contention to win the Hartley Boats Trophy as winners of the National Circuit, Andrew and Tom Wilson were 3rd, with Mike McNamara and Simon Townsend 4th. Len Jones and Jamie Lea were 6th but Bill Whitney and John Shelton swallowed some snakes and could only finish 12th (and then only after a climbing a small ladder on the penultimate leg).

The second race was sailed after lunch in similar conditions. This time there was a race long ding dong between McNamara/Townsend and Richard Stone and Catherine Gore, with early involvement in the battle by the Rouse-Collens. After several changes of lead McNamara were just ahead at the finish followed by Stone/Gore. In this race Wilson/Wilson made a comeback after a poor first leg while Whitney/Shelton (12th again) and Jones/Lea both had mediocre results as they struggled to make sense of the conditions.

Overnight leader were Rouse-Collen followed by McNamara/Townsend, Wilson/Wilson and Marks/Fitzsimmons. Those who could stay enjoyed a good dinner laid on by the club. Others, including the race officer, went home to watch Strictly or spent the evening googling how to deal with snakes.

Sunday morning provided such contrasting conditions with a very chilly, viciously gusting and shifty north easterly(ish), white horses on the lake but bright sunshine. One or two competitors decided that discretion was the better part of valour and stayed ashore to watch proceedings from the comfort of the clubhouse.

The third race sequence began immediately after the fleet observed a two minute silence hove-to on the water. The start itself coincided with one of the strongest gusts of the day which everybody somehow survived. There was a short beat and then a long broad reach as part of a figure of 8 course. These were conditions that would surely suit all four of the leading contenders for the Hartley Boats Trophy, but after a good beat Wilson/Wilson spoiled their copybook with a spectacular three sail capsize.

Meanwhile, McNamara/Townsend, Guy Marks (the elder) and another son Tom, and Jones/Lea could be seen planing off into the distance. These three boats finished in that order, although McNamara/Townsend had pulled out a comfortable lead by the end. Whitney/Shelton proved they can do it when there's a modicum of wind and finished in 4th place which would prove to be their best result of the weekend. Meanwhile, Wilson/Wilson made a very strong recovery in the second half of the race to finish in 5th place.

The fourth and final race of the weekend was sailed back to back. In this race, McNamara/Townsend had a narrow lead over Wilson/Wilson at the windward mark and maintained the lead throughout the race although they were chased hard all the way round the track. These two pulled away from the chasing pack where there were several position changes and capsizes for several boats including Whitney/Shelton and the Rouse-Collens both of whom retired. Jones/Lea finished 4th in this race.

Enjoying their third win of the weekend was sufficient for McNamara/Townsend to win the event overall and it also meant that they won the Hartley Boats Trophy and the Craftinsure National Circuit Series by the narrowest of margins, just 1.5 points ahead of Wilson/Wilson and 2 points ahead of Jones/Lea. The Wayfarer Travellers Trophy for the best results in all eight events was won by Andrew Wilson and his crew of son Tom or Sue Rusbridger.

During the prize giving a draw was made for a number of prizes provided by the sponsors. Among the prizes a new McNamara genoa was won by Derek Lambert from Datchet Water SC; Nigel O'Donnell from Swarkestone SC won a year's free insurance for his Wayfarer presented by Craftinsure, and Tim Townsend from Medway YC won a new undercover courtesy of Hartley Boats.

Overall Results (top 6):

1st W10648, Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend, Rollesby Broad SC, (3 points)
2nd W88, Martin and Donna Rouse-Collen, Upper Thames SC (9)
3rd W11050, Guy and Tom Marks, Bough Beech SC (9)
4th W11093, Andrew and Tom Wilson, Datchet Water SC (10)
5th W11067, Len Jones and Jamie Lea, Medway YC (13)
6th W7470, Elliott Marks and Kate Fitzsimmons, Bough Beech SC (19)

The UKWA is putting together another comprehensive schedule of events for 2018 including the National Championships at Castle Cove SC from 1-3 June. A European Championship is also being held from 3-8 July 2018 in Denmark. For more details visit

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