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Wayfarer International Championships at Greystones Sailing Club - Day s 1 & 2

by Tim Townsend 24 Jul 17:24 BST 20-26 July 2019

After two days of scrutineering and registration racing at the 2019 Wayfarer International Championships, UK National Championships and Irish Championships at Greystones SC got under way on Monday 23rd July with a practice race and Series Race 1.

The practice race was held in 14-20 knots of southerly breeze and confused sea caused by an underlying swell and cross chop. The predicted heavy weather teams who sailed in the practice race performed as expected with Andrew and Tom Wilson taking the win followed by Neils Alslev and Anders Pjetursson. Bill Whitney and John Shelton completed the podium.

By the time Race 1 started the gusts had increased to 24 knots and the sea state was deteriorating. The course was a triangle/sausage with the boats on port gybe downwind being physically moved sideways to windward by the big seas. Several boats capsized during the race, most on the downwind legs and even the leaders were making sure they were "locked in" and managing their risks conservatively on those legs. In the biggest gusts the downwind legs were wild and Anders Friis, crew on the winning boat, was reported to have said that he hadn't sailed so fast in a Wayfarer for many years.

When we previewed this event Mogens Just & Anders Friis from Denmark and Mike McNamara & Simon Townsend were flagged up as the teams to beat and they started this Championship as they have in other recent events. Mogens & Anders eventually won Race 1 from Mike & Simon. Andrew & Tom Wilson completed the podium.

Tuesday morning started in a similar vein with strong winds and difficult seas. Because the Wayfarer is rare as a racing dinghy class in also encouraging entries to its International championships which have less experience, many of whom decided that Monday's conditions were too hard, the PRO, Tom Rusbridge, sensibly postponed racing to allow the conditions to moderate.

Race 2 eventually got under way in the afternoon with a triangle/sausage course and all the boats in attendance. The wind speed was 13-16 knots. Mike & Simon laid down a marker by sailing away from the fleet and winning the race by a comfortable margin from Mogens & Anders. Once again Andrew & Tom Wilson completed the podium.

Race 3 began in a softening breeze. Bill Whitney & John Shelton led at the windward mark with Mogens & Anders and Mike & Simon not far behind.

At the end of the first triangle the wind had softened further so only the lightest crews were overpowered and as the fleet went down the run the wind shut off completely leaving the PRO no alternative but to abandon the race.

With only two races completed at this point in time the Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets are still to be determined.

International Championships top 6 after day 2:

1st Mike McNamara/Simon Townsend (GBR) (3 points)
2nd Mogens Just/Anders Friis (DEN) (3)
3rd Andrew/Tom Wilson (GBR) (6)
4th Neils Alslev/Anders Pjetursson (DEN) (8)
5th Bil Whitney/John Shelton (GBR) (11)
6th Christian Milert Hansen/Kim Fremlev Larsen (DEN) (13)

UKWA National Championships top 6 after day 2:

1st McNamara/Townsend
2nd Wilson/Wilson
3rd Whitney/Shelton
4th Brian/Liz McKenzie
5th Tim/Jacqueline Townsend
6th Richard Stone/Catherine Gore

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