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Wayfarer Inland Championships at Datchet Water Sailing Club - Preview

by Tim Townsend 3 Apr 11:10 BST 6-7 April 2019
Wayfarer Southern Areas at Medway YC © Richard Janulewicz /

The Craftinsure UK Wayfarer National Circuit (NCS) and Travellers Series 2019 begins on 6/7 April with the Inland Championships which will be held at Datchet SC. In 2018, the NCS was hotly contested being decided at the last event in favour of serial champions Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend. Although rather spoiled by a lack of wind on the Sunday the Inland Championships twelve months ago was equally close, the nod going to McNamara/Townsend from Andrew and Tom Wilson.

With a forecast North-easterly of 12-23 mph forecast for the weekend who are the likely top dogs?

  • At or near the front of the pack will surely be Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend from Rollesby Broad SC. Unbeaten in a Wayfarer in 2018, they are the current UK National, European and Inland champions, and will be using the NCS events as practice for the International Championships in Ireland later in the year. They look likely contenders for Best in Show.
  • Close on their tails will be the whippet that is Andrew Wilson (with son Tom) from the host club, Datchet SC. Runners up at the Inland Championships in 2018, Andrew and Tom went on to win the Southern, Eastern and Western Area Championships.
  • Back in the boat after fully recovering from hip surgery in 2018 (think Andy Murray but a little bit older) will be Len Jones and Pete Mitchell from Medway YC. Len and Pete were runners up in the UK National Championships and the Danish National Championships last year and will be a force to be reckoned with. They are the perfect combination of an old dog with new tricks.
  • Bill Whitney and John Shelton from Shoreham SC should not be discounted. Always on or close to the podium in 2018 they finished third in the NCS and doubtless will parade well in the Arena again this year.
  • Crossbreeds worth an each way bet include Brian Lamb and Sam Pygall from Wilsonian SC (third overall in the NCS), Guy Marks and Mel Titmuss from Bough Beech SC from Bough Beech SC (former National Champion and on the podium at a couple of events in 2018), John Clementson and crew (recent winner of the Bough Beech SC Icicle, multiple Graduate and Mirror Champion) and Steve Blake sailing the Hartley Boats works boat.
  • Scruffts with an outside chance might include Tony Cooper, Derek Lambert or Scott Hamilton from the host club, the O'Donnells or Mike Weighill (most improved helm in 2018) with Carl Martin (most long suffering crew in 2018) from Swarkestone SC, or the Townsends or the Lees from Medway YC, all of whom have potential to do well in individual races although stringing together a consistent series might be beyond them.

Like the beginning of every football or Formula 1 season all teams start with zero points and equal chances of success. It will only be as the season develops we will see which Wayfarer team will be the Lewis Hamilton and which will be the Huddersfield Town (with apologies to The Terriers who this year, sadly, have not been top dogs).

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