Please select your home edition
Edition
Musto 2017 728x90 Surefooted

Wayfarer Western Championships at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club

by Sam Pygall 26 Apr 2022 06:39 BST 23-24 April 2022

Following a competitive start to the 2022 Wayfarer National Circuit at Datchet a couple of weekends ago, the Wayfarer fleet moved on to West Oxfordshire Sailing Club over the weekend of the 23-24th May for the prospect of some testing restricted inland water sailing.

As well as the Western Area Championships, this would be the second event in the Craftinsure National Circuit and Travellers Series 2022 supported by Craftinsure, McNamara Sails and Hartley Boats.

For the fleet, this was the first time back at West Oxfordshire since 2019 when Wayfarer legend Brian Lamb was victorious over two days of contrasting conditions (windy and light). As usual the club provided a very warm welcome to visitors from as far afield as Derbyshire and Norfolk. The seven visitors were joined by four home boats to create an 11 strong field, while sharing the event with a Wanderer fleet.

Following on from Datchet, many of the main protagonists had journeyed to a beautiful part of the world in the Oxfordshire countryside. Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend made an appearance at West Oxfordshire for the first time in several years. Andrew Wilson was joined by semi-regular inland crew Sue Risbridger. Circuit stalwarts Nigel and Belinda O'Donnell had journeyed down from Derby and have demonstrated some fine form in tight, restrictive inland waters previously (usually the tight restrictive inland water waters at Swarkestone!). The "heroes of Datchet" John Goudie and Sam Boniface were looking to continue their form from that event and Mark Lee and Sam Pygall were in attendance, with Sam able to sail the entire weekend. The stage was set for competitive sailing.

Day 1 dawned. The wind was blowing from the East, with a hint of North, varying between F2 and F5 in the gusts. For those not familiar with West Oxfordshire Sailing Club, the wind direction meant short, gusty, super shifty beats of about 50 metres across the pond and a beam/broad reach down the length of the pond. Scary. The race officer set a creative course that had no gybes but plenty of opportunity for thrills and spill where boat handling had to be immaculate to avoid anything untoward.

Continuing the battle from Datchet, McNamara and Townsend and Wilson and Risbridger shot off a tight startline and were showing the rest of the fleet how to master the tricky conditions, with Lee and Pygall and Goudie and Boniface in hot pursuit. But then disaster struck Andrew and Sue as they were blown over by one of the more vicious gusts which gave Lee and Pygall an opportunity to sneak through. The first broad reach of the race gave crews the opportunity to stick or twist - twist and fly the spinnaker with the tantalising opportunity to gain boat lengths or stick with white sail sailing, which although slow, gave some hint of control. McNamara and Townsend provided a demonstration to the rest of the fleet of keeping 3 sails under control in the conditions, followed by Lee and Pygall and then Goudie and Boniface. Local team Day and Williams came through for a creditable fourth.

After a well-earned lunch, Race 2 followed a similar pattern. McNamara and Wilson pulled someway clear and were battling intensely as the front of the fleet for a few rounds, followed by Lee and Pygall and local team Day and Williams. Unluckily for Wilson and Risbridger, lightning struck twice and they were undone again by a bad gust and went for a second swim. This allowed McNamara to sail off into the distance, followed by the consistent Lee and Pygall who continued to explore the limits of their spinnaker work and Day and Williams.

Race 3 finalised the day and with Andrew and Sue taking some time out following their swims, McNamara completed a perfect score for the day with an inland water horizon job, demolishing the fleet despite the tricky and testing conditions. Lee and Pygall were a clear second, using the spinnaker as much as they dared, and McNamara club mates Richard Bailey and Ian Curtis completed the podium. The O'Donnells got their best result of day 1 with a creditable fourth, having held second briefly early in the race.

The fleet gathered for a fish and chip supper laid on by the host club and were grateful for the prospect of only two races on the Sunday and a forecast of some moderation of the wind, at least with respect to the strength of the gusts

Sunday arrived and the wind was broadly in the same direction but the gusts felt less severe. Races 4 and 5 for the weekend were held back-to-back. Lee and Pygall flew into an early lead in race 4 for the first few laps but were reeled in by Wilson and Risbridger and McNamara and Townsend who then proceed to have a great battle over a testing course which continued to present both wind shift and gust challenges. In the end, Wilson and Risbridger emerged triumphant to break McNamara's run and take a well-deserved bullet. Lee and Pygall, continuing to sail consistently, made up the podium. Goudie and Boniface returned to the front of the fleet with a fourth.

Race 5 started with the final step of the podium to be decided. Similar to races 1 and 2, Wilson and McNamara flew off and again battled around the racecourse, this time with McNamara prevailing, picking up his 4th win in 5 races. The highest level of sailing in some of the trickiest inland waters on the circuit. Lee and Pygall - a new pairing sailing only their 3rd event - completed the podium in race 5.

Andrew and Sue's second in the last race was just enough to pull through and take 3rd place in the event overall. Mark and Sam were rewarded for their spinnaker work on Day 1 and consistency on day 2 to take the runners-up prize. But, overall, no one could touch Michael and Simon in conditions where mental and physical stamina, wind anticipation and overall boat handling brought their rewards in terms of scores. Kudos as well to John Goudie and Sam Boniface who continued some of the good form from Datchet, local sailors Andrew Day and J-P Williams and Richard Bailey and Ian Curtis. Mention should be made also of youngsters Emily Batterton and Jasmine Speller who competed in a new MK IV club boat and completed 3 of the 5 races.

The next Wayfarer open meeting is Banbury SC over the Jubilee weekend in June. This event does not form part of the National Circuit but does provide an opportunity for a training day with Michael McNamara followed by a one-day regatta at a venue not visited by the Wayfarer fleet in recent times.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st10648Michael McNamaraSimon TownsendRollesby Broad SC111‑214
2nd11211Mark LeeSam PygallMedway YC222‑339
3rd11093Andrew WilsonSue RisbridgerDatchet Water SC56(DNS)1214
4th11118John GoudieSam BonifaceWilsonian SC35‑64416
5th11398Richard BaileyIan CurtisRollesby Broad SC‑9435517
6th11402Andrew DayJ P WilliamsWest Oxfordshire SC4357‑819
7th11282Nigel O'DonnellBelinda O'DonnellSwarkestone SC‑7746623
8th11308Matt BattertonAndrew RobsonWest Oxfordshire SC6‑888729
9th11223Nick HarrisJames HarrisDatchet Water SC8(DNS)79DNF36
10th11401Emily BattertonJasmine SpellerWest Oxfordshire SC10(DNS)DNS10941
11th8080George EdmundsonLucia WinrowWest Oxfordshire SC(DNS)DNSDNSDNS1046

Related Articles

Craftinsure Wayfarer National Circuit returns
Looking to build momentum in 2023 with some high-quality events After two Covid impacted seasons in 2020 and 2021, the Wayfarer class enjoyed a highly successful series across several venues in 2022 and the fleet are looking to build on this momentum in 2023 with some high-quality events scheduled. Posted on 3 Jan
Wayfarers at Bough Beech
Craftinsure National Circuit Finale The Craftinsure Wayfarer National Circuit concluded over the weekend of the 12-13 November with the traditional "Finale" hosted by Bough Beech Sailing Club. Posted on 23 Nov 2022
Wayfarer Eastern Area Championship at Blackwater
An excellent turnout of 15 boats Following a highly successful European and National Championships held on the south coast at Arun Yacht Club in August, the Craftinsure Wayfarer National Circuit resumed over the weekend of the 10-11th September. Posted on 13 Sep 2022
Wayfarer UK Nationals and Europeans overall
Blessed by sunny weather by and large, a packed social programme and a very warm welcome Arun Yacht Club at Littlehampton hosted the UK National and European Wayfarer Championships between 18 and 21 August 2022. A strong UK fleet was joined by competitors from Denmark, France and Ireland. The event was blessed by sunny weather by and large. Posted on 6 Sep 2022
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week overall
A memorable day to end a memorable week Friday was a glorious day to bring the 74th Poole Week to a close. Even when the sun wasn't actually shining, the weather was still warm and bright, and there was enough wind for all the fleets to sail up to two races as scheduled. Posted on 3 Sep 2022
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 Day 5
It's not over yet, but the first winners are Although there's still a day to go, the top boats in several of the Poole Week fleets have already secured their victories. Posted on 2 Sep 2022
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 Day 4
A different sort of same again The second half of Poole Week started with the wind pretty much as it had been for the first half: a shifty north-easterly that occasionally swung round to the south east and kept everyone on their toes. Posted on 1 Sep 2022
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 Day 3
A real day of Snakes and Ladders It's hard to remember a day when the wind in Poole Harbour has been shiftier than it was on the Tuesday. During the racing, between 2pm and about 5pm when the fleets returned ashore, the wind was flicking between about 020 degrees and 130 degrees. Posted on 31 Aug 2022
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 Day 2
Reading the wind, negotiating the tide, avoiding the mud For Poole Week competitors on Monday, it was all about getting on the right side of the wind shifts. There were a lot of them, and they were big. That and negotiating the tide, while some later in the day also had to think about keels and mud. Posted on 30 Aug 2022
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 Day 1
Not a bad day on the water That was the consensus among competitors on coming ashore after the first day. The wind had blown - not very hard at times, but generally enough - and the sun had shone now and again as well. So it had been quite a satisfactory day, all things considered. Posted on 29 Aug 2022