Pyefleet Week - An epic Day 4

Pyefleet Week 2014 - Day four
Brightlingsea Sailing Club
Day 4 of Pyefleet Week 2014, in Brightlingsea, Essex, was epic in every sense with a record turnout of Brightlingsea One Designs for their first race of the series, some awesome sailing with monster gusts and shifts, a spectacular high speed all in handicap Big Wednesday Gold Medal race and a rocking beach BBQ and reggae party.

Day four of the regatta at last brought sailable conditions for the historic Brightlingsea One Design Class (BOD) and twenty two of these 18' day boats which date back to 1927, thought to be the largest number of BODs ever to race together, came to the line for their first race of the series. Conditions were extremely tricky with an average wind speed of around fifteen knots from the northwest, but violent heavy gusts into the mid twenties and shifts of up to 40 degrees.

Jeremy Newman, Chris Rust and Ollie Newman, sailing C32 Avocet, made a good start and sailed a blinding first beat up the river to lead at mark one by a generous margin. From there on they sailed a beautiful race to claim victory by a comfortable margin. But behind Avocet the pack was tightly bunched and with a strong flood tide and tricky conditions to contend with the place changing was constant as the fleet battled for positions.

Sailing in only his second ever BOD race, Cherub National Champion and Eighteen Foot Skiff sailor Graham Bridle, sailing C24 Endeavour with son Will Bridle and Graham Eales, got a fantastic start at the pin end and followed Avocet round the first mark. Hot on his heels were John Payne in C11 Graying, Alan Hicks in C54 Storm Petrel, Colin Willett in C8 Egret and Phil Rust in C16 Dulcet. Malcolm Goodwin, sailing C4 Cormorant, had a lousy start and first beat to round almost last - a position from which recovery seemed unlikely.

On the long reach out to sea Endeavour and Grayling began to drop back a little while Cormorant began to make gains. At the leeward mark Storm Petrel had moved up into second and, along with Avocet, chose to stand on to the left side of the second beat. Dulcet chose to tack off early and it proved to be a smart move jumping them up into second place with Storm Petrel now third. The leading three held their places around the first lap and half way around the second, but Cormorant was relentlessly grinding her way through the fleet and passing boats on every leg. On the final beat Cormorant squeezed past Storm Petrel and was catching Dulcet on the way to the finish, but she simply ran out of runway and had to be content with third.

2 - Pyefleet Week 2014 - Day four
Brightlingsea Sailing Club

Once the BODs were home it was time for the main feature of the day, the Big Wednesday Gold Medal Race. This race is run in memory of the late Reg White, Olympic Gold Medallist, double Tornado World Champion, five time Little America's Cup winner and lifelong Brightlingsea resident. Following his death, from a heart attack whilst sailing his BOD, Reg's family established the Reg White Memorial Fund, which supports sporting programmes for young people in Brightlingsea. Big Wednesday helps to raise awareness of and money for the fund.

The average wind speed had moderated a little, but there were still regular strong gusts and plenty of shifts as the massed fleet came to the line. Hundreds of spectators thronged Brightlingsea’s famous beach hut lined Promenade to enjoy the spectacle and the sailors did not disappoint. Off the crowded start line the best start of all went to two of the youngest sailors, Tom and James King, sailing an SL16 catamaran. They showed the entire fleet how it should be done and then went on to sail a lovely race to finish ninth overall and win the Cadet Gold Medal Trophy.

Simon Hisckock's International Moth held back at the start, but then sped through the fleet rapidly overtaking first the monohulls and then the catamarans, but gear failure sadly forced him to retire early. Graham Bridle also brought his Eighteen Foot Skiff to the line, but having selected their big rig based on the average wind speed, they found the heavy gusts too much to handle so were also forced to pull out of the race.

Conditions were absolutely perfect for the cats and as the boats rounded the first mark Rupert White, grandson of Reg, and his crew Nikki Boniface had taken the lead in their Nacra 17. With kites hoisted the cats flew out to sea leaving their nearest monohull rivals trailing in their wake.

The sun shone, the blue sky was dotted with scudding clouds, and the sight of the fleet hurtling around the course at break neck pace kept the spectators enthralled from start to finish.

On the line Rupert White and Nikki Boniface took first place with Will Sunnucks, sailing an F18 with Rupert's brother Freddie second. Third were Nick Barnes and John Payne in a Viper and fourth was another of Reg's grandchildren, Henry White, also sailing an F18. The first mono hull was Chris Bannister's Contender in fifth with Pete and Tom Kyne's Fireball sixth.

After racing everyone repaired to the beach where prizes were presented, the rum punch flowed, Reg's family, led by sons Robert, Mark and David and daughter Sally, cooked a spectacular sunset BBQ and everyone danced late into the night to a live reggae band.

The forecast for tomorrow is for lighter winds which will come as a welcome relief to many in the fleets, and Pyefleet Week continues until Saturday 16 August.

Many new features at the 2015 show!

Proud father Kieran with National Champion Rome Featherstone - Australian Optimist Championships 2015.
Amanda Wilson

Results BIG Wednesday 2014 Brightlingsea Sailing Club Big Wednesday R1 Start: Start 1, Finishes: Place
1Gold MedalNACRA 17120BSCRupert WhiteNikki Boniface662+1:18:1041:58:051.0
2Gold MedalF18501 W. SunnucksF White670+1:21:2442:01:302.0
3Gold MedalVIPER239BSCN. BarnesJ. Payne695+1:28:2642:07:153.0
4Gold MedalF186BSCH. White 6701:27:2442:10:274.0
5Gold MedalCONTENDER708 C. Bannister 985+1:04:5022:11:385.0
6Gold MedalFIREBALL14860 P. Kyne 975+1:04:1122:11:396.0
7Gold MedalTORNADO6 P. MinesS Smith638+1:24:3742:12:387.0
8Gold MedalMERLIN-ROCKET3671 P. Lambert 980+1:05:0722:12:538.0
9Gold MedalSL16791 T. KingJ King796+1:19:2532:13:029.0
10Gold MedalSCORPION2003BSCS. Gillow 1058+1:12:3122:17:0510.0
11Gold MedalRS 2001126 A. Bines 1071+1:13:3122:17:1711.0
12Gold MedalLASER172807 Edd Slack 1120+1:19:3922:22:1412.0
13Gold MedalLASER RADIAL179834 Julie Eeles 1150+1:22:1422:23:0113.0
14Gold MedalMERLIN-ROCKET3620BSCO. Newman 980+1:10:0822:23:0814.0
15Gold MedalFIREBALL14774BSCR. Etherington 975+1:09:4722:23:0915.0
16Gold MedalLASER RADIAL146441 B. Richardson 1150+1:23:4222:25:3416.0
17Gold MedalLASER186353 S. Carr 1120+1:22:5122:27:5717.0
18Gold MedalBODC27 C. Matthews 1150+1:25:2022:28:2418.0
19Gold MedalSPRINT 151240 D. Swan 945+1:10:0822:28:2619.0
20Gold MedalRS 700761BSCPeter Purkiss 845+1:03:1022:29:3020.0
21Gold MedalLASER204979 S. Parsons 1120+1:23:5922:29:5821.0
22Gold MedalDART 169BSCC. Rust 910+1:08:5822:31:3522.0
23Gold MedalTOPPER10961 Josh Elson 1370+53:4112:36:4423.0
24Gold MedalTORNADO403 R. Amerson 6381:18:3332:44:1024.0
25Gold MedalC20C20BSCJ. Bray 1150+1:34:2822:44:1725.0
26Gold MedalRS FEVA6 S. Phillips 1200+52:0712:53:4326.0
27Gold MedalBODC53BSCM. White 1150+1:41:5022:57:0627.0
28Gold MedalTOPAZ10333BSCS. Fisher 1278+58:1313:02:1328.0
29Gold MedalTOPAZ17 A. Reed 1278+60:0913:08:1629.0
30Gold MedalWOD17Wivenhoe SCR. Maloney 1180+59:2013:21:0830.0
31Gold MedalLASER RADIAL200654 J. Ferber 1150DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalLASER RADIAL173532 H. Parsons 1150DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalFIREBALL14471 R. Mander 975DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalLASER RADIAL85848 Jacob Elson 1150DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalMERLIN-ROCKET3584 J. Spikesley 980DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalTOPAZ2380BSCC. Walker 1278DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalTOPPER44351BSCL. Walker 1370DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalLASER 200022321BSCC. Jordan 1133DNF  46.0
31Gold Medal42048843 M. Mansfield 1100DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalNACRA 17162BSCMaddy AndersonOllie King662DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalMUSTO SKIFF52BSCG. Bridle 845DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalRS 8001073BSCD.Conlon 805DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalRS FEVA6BSCStuart PhillipsThomas Phillips1200DNF  46.0
31Gold MedalF18424BSCE. CarrT. Carr670DSQ  46.0
31Gold MedalMOTH - FOILING3985WPNSASimon Hiscocks 650DNF  46.0