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Marblehead Vane Championships at Fleetwood Model Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson 4 Jun 2022 10:48 BST 21-22 May 2022
Marblehead Vane Championships at Fleetwood © Tony Wilson

Anyone can sail a boat using radio gear, but try without. The thumb twiddling with a vane boat seems to be all hands on the deck, rather than on a trusty transmitter. Peter Whiteside had posted out an invitation length and breadth of the country and we had a good 14 entrants.

On these two man at a time races, you can't sail against yourself, so we had 13 races each drawn up on the cards. One to wind for a 3 point win and 2 points if successful returning on the run.

A slightly delayed start, but boats were soon heading west against a 14 MPH wind coming WSW from the far log cabin. By 12:00 we had completed one entry on our score cards with 2 boats sunk and one stuck at the finishing end. Somehow Alan Bell's 'Witchcraft' had disappeared off radar just leaving a pennant size portion of sail visible for recovery and Richard Ennis's victory 2 points over David Geldard also hit the southern depths. Fancy being beaten by a sunken boat.

A quick reminder from Derek about sealing our deck covers and it was off again to racing. 1:30 ish and we had our lunch break. With having completed 3 full races, Derek was now able to sort out from some points, the Team of Two's (ToT's) From an available 15 points, poor individuals were partnered up with stronger long standing members. Most teams were in that area or thereabouts given a point here or there. It was now up to the weaker Skippers to take advantage and pull their fingers out to boost their end team score. Maybe.

A few of the Skippers had decided to down sail size, while others were not bashed enough and braced the challenging wind. Some are still physically able to sprint to the far end, if needs be before the dreaded thump if nobody is around.

By the end of Saturday at about 18:30 we had 7 results on the cards after any resails, making Sunday hopefully slightly shorter, for if the weather would turn for the worse..

On to Sunday now for more of the same, although an hour earlier. The wind had as forecast moved anticlockwise, but not quite as much as feared. Derek was observing that a 40 degree setting might be favourite to reach down to the far end and again it was 3 points out and 2 points back.

We had done ourselves the massive favour in having the long day on Saturday and it eases the journey home with the earlier finish. The Bell's continued on their great performance after the early baptism and the Jones were also again on track after only slightly struggling in the morning.

Damian and Gareth had tied on points by the end of the first day and throughout, but at some time, they still must sail against each other.

It was great to have Martin Roberts along for some golden tips, along with others that are gifted with this vast accumulation of years worth of Vane knowledge. For us Newbies to the game, just a few morsels of information each time helps to build our appreciation to how little we actually know, but we might eventually get there.

The wind remained sort of constant and we were able to finish on time just before 3pm. The feared rain had stayed away until we were packing up and done.


1 Vintage - Witchcraft 'Rena Pat' Alan Bell 48 pts
2 Classic - 'Skippy' Gareth Jones 44 pts
3 Classic - Bloodaxe 'Gizum' Damian Akroyd 44pts
4 Classic - ' Mirage ' David Geldard 39 pts
Team of two - Alan Bell and Keith Wiseman 80 pts

All in all a great weekend. Much learned and nice to hear pleasant comments from the eldery passers by, like 'it brings back childhood memories'.

When folk ask Derek.... 'How does this work' or 'what makes them sail' his reply.... 'Magic'

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