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Henri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed

Wembley Sailing Club Wassail Cup 2023

by John Green 4 Jan 2023 16:01 GMT 1 January 2023

The Wembley Sailing Club annual Wassail is a challenging mid-winter pursuit race at the best of times. Held traditionally on the first Sunday of the New Year, this year it had the additional handicap of being run just a few hours after many entrants had boisterously brought in 2023 with perhaps a little too much liquid cheer.

The weather between Christmas and the New Year had been very windy and looked to be continuing on race day. Fortunately for our bleary eyed entrants the wind had moderated considerably to a south westerly 12 knots gusting 25. Refreshed with breakfast bagels and copious amounts of tea, the mixed class fleet of GP14's, ILCA7's and Merlin Rocket/MRX's attempted to absorb the Race Officer's instructions on start times for the different classes as this was a pursuit race and not a handicap race with a single start. After more tea, much discussion and setting of watches, helms and crews launched and headed for the start line. As the classes set off, it was apparent that the hangovers from the night before had cleared, and normal race mode had set in. Much to the RO's relief there were no false starts or recalls.

The GP14's set off first, followed by the ILCA7 fleet and then the Merlin Rocket/MRX's. Maurice Cleal and Charlotte Cotter in their GP14 quickly set the pace and from thereon dominated the race to the finish, always well ahead of the chasing pack. The Merlin/MRX's set off at a cracking speed determined to claw back the GP14s' 13 minute head start. On the Committee Boat, the money was initially on Duncan Salmon and Ruth Hanstater in their Merlin to overhaul Maurice and Charlotte, however it was not to be - they were not going to be caught.

The real drama came from the seven strong ILCA 7 (Laser) fleet. John Curren, Colin Carver, Michal Szady and Roger Wilson quietly clawed back the lead of the GP14s', first overhauling Jamie Isles and Stephen Bethel, then Sue Tomkins and Yossi Shahar in their GP14, who fought very hard to stay ahead of the charging ILCA 7 fleet but John Curren leading the pack found greater downwind speed on the penultimate lap to overhaul them - and then to start chasing down Maurice and Charlotte. Robbed of second place, Sue and Yossi now pulled out all the stops to hang onto their third place from Colin Carver who came in fourth followed by Duncan and Ruth in fifth place. Maurice and Charlotte breezed into first place never having been seriously challenged throughout their 90 minute race, with John Curren second.

After the race and in the warm Wembley clubhouse everyone looked suitably happy after a few glasses of mulled wine from the giant Wassail cup and Naina's delicious curry. A good days sailing was had by all, especially for 12 year old Darcy Smyth crewing under testing conditions with her dad Mark in his Merlin. All in all a great start to the 2023 sailing year at Wembley Sailing Club.

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewClassSail NoClub
1Maurice ClealCharlotte CotterGP1414166Wembley SC/Welsh Harp SC
2John Curren Laser/ILCA7196557Wembley SC
3Sue TomkinsYossi ShaharGP1413811Welsh Harp SC
4Colin Carver Laser/ILCA7209002Wembley SC
5Duncan SalmonRuth HanstaterMerlin Rocket3702Wembley SC
6Michal Szady Laser/ILCA7197371Welsh Harp SC
7Roger Wilson Laser/ILCA7166571Welsh Harp SC
8Jamie IslesStephen BethelGP1413299Welsh Harp SC
9John Harvey Laser/ILCA7143513Wembley SC
10Mark CandelasJulie CronshawMRX3622Wembley SC
11Maurice Futerman Laser/ILCA7205148Welsh Harp SC
12Mark SmythDarcy SmythMerlin Rocket3688Wembley SC
RTDRicky Bindi  Laser/ILCA7174166Wembley SC
RTDJulian BradleyHelen CafferataMerlin Rocket3635Wembley SC

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