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Burnham Week 2018 - Day 1

by Sally Harbott 26 Aug 2018 14:23 BST 25 August - 1 September 2018
Burnham Week day 1 © Alan Hanna

Sunny skies and a good Westerly breeze greeted the competitors on Saturday morning for the first day of Burnham Week 2018. The spring tide was still flooding so the majority of the starts were foul tide and downwind, just the last few classes having to contend with the turn of the tide and running start.

Four multihulls started with a split decision amongst the fleet, two starting on the south shore, the remainder by the committee vessel, Edwin Buckley's Phoebe. Triassic just under the commitee vessel had a slower spinnaker set than the others, and set off in pursuit of the remainder of their class. IRC Class 1 were next off with 5 boats competing. Duncan and Beccy Haley's Double Trouble, the Corby 29, were first up with their kite and just ahead of Pete Jackson and Digger Harden's J80 Glorious Fools. Ant Law in the folk boat Tifano started on the South Shore, hoisting her distinctive blue and yellow AP spinnaker and heading down to the first mark tucked in under the South Shore out of the tide. Phillip Harbott in the Aphrodite 101 Mantra started a little up river of the line, but got their white AP spinnaker filled and pulling and followed Glorious Fools towards the North Shore, with Double Trouble more in the middle of the river for a little longer. The Dehler 34 Lucy Lee, owned by Ian and Janice Keam-George followed and headed down river in pursuit of the leaders.

Class Five were next off, which is the NHC spinnaker class. Richard Moore in his MG Spring 25 Spring Chicken got an excellent start bang on the line tucked up under the Committee Vessel, but a slow spinnaker hoist allowed the Hunter 707s and Eclipse, Clive Cherry and Daryl Mylroie's Maxi 1000, to get ahead with full spinnakers. The 707s had started towards the South side of the line, and Baby Beluga helmed by Nic Tolhurst suffered with a big spinnaker twist at the start giving away the advantage they had had. The MG27C, Ophelia, sailing slightly more in the middle of the river had a quick hoist and headed down river at pace. Grace and Danger, the SJ27 owned by Andrew Courts and Stephen Gosling were some way off the rest of the fleet, being way up river when the start gun went. Paul Gray in the Hunter 707 Beaver Hunter took line honours with the other 707 Baby Beluga owned by Debbie de Boltz second Eclipse was chasing them hard to finish third. Spring Chicken finished an hour after Eclipse with Grace and Danger a further 20 minutes after them. Both Safi owned by Peter Prodger and Ophelia retired.

The Non spinnaker NHC class had 3 starters. John Saunders in his Elan 31 Jeannie had an excellent start, ahead of Paul Trueman's X37 Exile who were upriver of the line. David Hill a regular supporter of Burnham Week for many years followed in his Contessa 32 Spangle. Exile took line honours, finishing half an hour head of the lower rated Jeannie on the water; Spangle retired.

The RS Elite class started next with all hoisting their spinnakers before the gun. One was OCS but returned to clear the line sailing up wind with their kite still up. The Elites had close racing on the line and just after the start, with the fleet split with 3 tucked up under the North end of the line, and the others in the middle and further South.

A super entry in the Dragon fleet this year saw 11 starting today and the fleet were evenly spread across the line at their gun, enjoying a clean start. They continued to enjoy close competitive racing throughout the day.

The Phantom fleet, still a really healthy fleet on the river started next, with the committee vessel at the North end of their line, and again after a clean start, the fleet then dived over towards the North Shore. Chris Roberts in Gromit from Creeksea Sailing Club took the bullet in race 1.

The Squib class in its 50th anniversary year had over 20 boats on the line this afternoon. The tide had slackened and the spinnaker start saw 811 Lady Penelope owned and sailed by Malcolm Hutchins turn back after the double gun signifying boats being OCS. However, the X flag was still displayed from Phoebe after this.

The slow handicap dinghy fleet followed, with a small entry this year, and later in the sequence, the fast handicap were sent off with RS200s making up much of the fleet alongside James Hutton Penman in his Aero7. The dinghy course took all dinghy fleets up the River Roach and back out to Redward.

The local one design classes were next off the line with the Royal Corinthian One Designs starting first. A really good number of entries again this year, and Justin Waples in his distinctive orange RCOD Corpo Santo soon sailed to the front of the fleet.

The Royal Burnham One Designs are the last start of the sequence and they too are enjoying high numbers. Red Jacket, RB2, sailed by Stephen Herring was leading with 21 Mandarin second. Martin Smith in Jade was fighting hard to take third. At the finish, Mandarin had taken the lead with Red Jacket second and Jade securing third. The courses sailed took all cruisers and day boats down river and had laps coming back up to Redward for the day boats and Holliwell for the cruisers. The fleets enjoyed competitive close racing throughout the day, and all fleets were very mixed as the races progressed. In class one, Double Trouble were the on the water leaders, followed by Glorious Fools and Mantra. Ant Law's Tifano won on corrected time.

In the Squib class, Mickey Wright in 811, Spoof was leading with Phil Aspinall working his way up to second, Ian and Iona Scott in Outlaw were fourth on their first lap, being overhauled by a couple of other squibs during their next lap be in 6th. Malcolm Hutchins was clawing back places on every leg having been well last after returning at the start. As the race progressed, the ebb tide really took off, and as all classes had long foul tide beats up river, the fleets spread out substantially. Robert Coyle in Humphrey was also heading towards the front of the fleet. At the finish, Spoof was first, Humphrey second, Phil Aspinall's Guy Fawkes third and Outlaw fourth.

Towards the last legs of racing a couple of rain squalls headed down river, and for a time the wind all but disappeared. However, perseverance paid off and as the wind picked up a touch, the boats all came in to finish.

Full results and further pictures can be found on

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