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Wayfarer International Championships 2022 at Lake Eustis Sailing Club, Florida

by Tim Townsend 23 Mar 23:09 PDT 6-11 March 2022
Wayfarer International Championships 2022 at Lake Eustis, Florida © John Cole

Forty-two teams competed at the Wayfarer International Championships which were hosted by the US Wayfarer Association and Lake Eustis SC, 6-11 March 2022. They travelled from all points of North America, from Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom and met at Lake Eustis which is located in Lake County about 40 miles north west of Orlando.

The Club holds racing for one design fleets including the MC Scow, Flying Scot, Laser and Wayfarer. It is well used to hosting large regattas with a 40 boat fleet competing in a Flying Scot series a few weeks before and hosting a 63 boat MC Scow fleet for their Midwinters during the third weekend of March.

Being a multi-purpose boat, the fleet raced as one but included both the gold fleet and a silver fleet for those teams which chose not to use spinnakers. As it turned out some of the silver fleet boats were very competitive nevertheless.

The US Wayfarer Association and the host club, led by Club Commodore, Pat Kuntz, put in a huge amount of work to make the event a success. Collectively, they really could not do more for their visitors. The original plan was for boat builders, Hartley Boats, to ship out a container of new boats destined for the North American market but available for charter mainly by UK and Irish competitors. At the same time, another group of UK teams were proposing to ship out their own boats. As shipping costs increased tenfold during 2021, using own boats became financially unviable and the organisers found three MkIV's for visitors to use. When the container of new Hartley boats was delayed, the organisers found four more MkIV's for use by the intended charter parties. This involved one or two of the American entries lending their own MkIV race boats to the UK and Irish teams while they themselves raced in older boats. Kindness indeed.

Ashore the club provided lunch and often supper as well as free beer, and, for those who needed to change things on their boats the hosts provided tools and often hardware.

For those who arrived early there was ample opportunity to practice and to join in with club racing over the preceding weekend. The wind was at its strongest then, often in the 15-20 knot range. If it's possible to gauge a pecking order from such things it looked like the team of Michael McNamara and Simon Townsend (GBR), reigning International, UK and European Champions, would be strong along with local superstar Dave Moring and his daughter, Ava (USA). Dave is a three time American Midwinters Wayfarer Champion (as well as a successful skipper in MC Scows and Flying Scots) and knows the lake as well as anyone. Others to watch out for, especially in lighter winds, would include Sue Pilling and Steph Romaniuk (CAN) who are seven time Canadian Wayfarer Champions and were third at the International Championships in 2013; Simon Strauss and Christa Bray/Jim Rotella (USA), former Canadian Wayfarer Champions and runners up at the International Championships in 2013; Jim Cook and Mike Taylor (USA) who are the reigning American Wayfarer Midwinter Champions. You could add Quentin Strauss and Sarah Burgess (GBR) into the mix too, runners up at the International Championships in 2007 and a top performer in Melges 24 and International Fragons, especially when the wind was stronger.

Racing started on Monday 7th March with a practice race and two points races. The practice race is worth mentioning if only because it was sailed in the strongest winds of the week, perhaps 16 knots. Quentin and Sarah jumped into an early lead but were chased down by Michael and Simon who took the win. Dave and Ava completed the podium, showing they would be competitive in windy conditions as well as light.

The fleet got down to business in race 1, which started in 14 knots of breeze but the wind eased during the race to about 10 knots by the end. Sue and Steph were involved in a collision with a port tack boat at the start and retired ashore to tape up a hole in the topsides of their boat. Michael and Simon and Dave and Ava led at the first windward mark followed by the other Townsends (Tim and Jacqueline, GBR). As the race progressed, Michael and Simon and Dave and Ava consolidated their lead while Jim and Mike pulled through to third place at the end of the final beat.

The wind eased still further for race 2. The early leaders were Sue and Steph who had returned to the racecourse with the help of layers of gorilla tape patching the hole in their beautiful wooden Wayfarer, Tim and Jacqueline and Jim and Mike. A change in the wind conditions on the second beat caused a shakeup of the fleet with former North American Wayfarer Champions, Marc Bennett and Julie Seraphinoff (USA), coming through to take a well deserved win.

Runners-up were Dave and Ava who were buried at the first windward mark and made an excellent recovery while Sue and Steph lost some places but regained them on the final beat to complete the podium. Michael and Simon, who were also mid-fleet at the first windward mark recovered to fourth place.

Overnight leaders were Dave and Ava with 4 points, followed by Michael and Simon with 5, and Jim and Mike on 10. Quietly going about their business also with 10 points were sisters Peggy Menzies and Kathy Sanville (USA). Marc and Julie lay fifth overall at this point with 11 points having finished tenth in race 1 (which was to be their mode).

Race 3 on Tuesday morning began in 8-10 knots of breeze which slowly decreased as the race progressed. Early leaders were Dave and Ava and Michael and Simon, followed by Anne-Marie Covington and Gareth Ferguson (USA). By the end of the first lap Michael and Simon had taken the lead and slowly increased it to win. Meanwhile Peggy and Kathy, who had been well placed at the end of the first triangle came through to take second place while Sue and Steph made a good recovery to complete the podium.

There followed what can best be described as a period of hot inactivity with forty boats following a very light wind in circles as it boxed the compass. The wind did settle eventually to allow another race to take place but the time lost meant that only two races were completed on Tuesday rather than the scheduled three.

Race 4 followed in 8-10 knots of breeze. Leaders at the first windward mark were Michael and Simon, followed closely by Marc and Julie. Michael and Simon extended their lead throughout the race to take a comfortable win while Marc and Julie finished second. Finishing third in this race were Paul and Dawn Miller (USA) in another wooden boat showing that these can compete with the Hartley built MkIV's if well maintained and sailed. This was to be Paul and Dawn's best result of the week but they showed excellent boatspeed and smarts on several other occasions although their overall result would be spoiled by too many alphabet results (to be OCS on three occasions in eleven races smacks of recklessness).

Leaders overnight were Michael and Simon with 7 points after a good day in the office. Dave and Ava were lying second with 14 points while Marc and Julie were now lying third with 17.

Moving on to Wednesday, three races were scheduled but the Race Officer threatened to run a fourth race if conditions permitted to catch up the race lost from the previous day.

Race 5 began in 10-12 knots of breeze. Early leaders were Michael and Simon, Jim and Mike and Quentin and Sarah. Michael and Simon consolidated their lead throughout the race and Quentin and Sarah took advantage of Jim and Mike to finish as runners up.

Race 6 began in a slightly decreased wind of 7-10 knots. Once again the early leaders were Michael and Simon. Anne-Marie and Gareth led a pack which included Sue and Steph, Paul and Dawn, and David and Anne Pugh. The wind decreased during the race but Michael and Simon maintained their lead and finished comfortably ahead of Sue and Steph while Anne-Marie and Gareth completed the podium with their best result of the week. Dave and Ava recovered from a distinctly average first lap to keep the pressure on the overall leaders with a counter in fifth place.

Race 7 was sailed in a similar breeze. The leaders round the first lap were Dave and Ava closely followed by Jim and Mike and Michael and Simon.

These three boats pulled away from the rest of the fleet throughout the race but there were no changes at the front and they finished in that order.

The Race Officer took pity on the competitors and called it a day after more than five hours on the water. Overnight, with one discard, the situation was looking positive for Michael and Simon who led with 8 points. Dave and Ava were placed second with 19 points. Sue and Steph were able to discard their first race disaster and now were in third place overall counting 25 points with Jim and Mike close behind them with 27 points.

Thursday turned out to be a pivotal day for many teams in the fleet and for a number of different reasons. The visitors were aware that Lake Eustis was a challenging place to sail but never more so than on this day when the geography of the lake in central Florida between the opposing influences of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Coast weather systems was so apparent.

Race 8 began in 7-9 knots of wind. The early leaders were Dave and Ava who went left followed by Marc and Julie, and Paul and Dawn (OCS once more, unfortunately). Dave and Ava went left all day and had a handy lead as they crossed the finish line. They were followed home by Sue and Steph. Quentin and Sarah had also gone to the left of the racetrack and finished third.

Finishing in fourth place were a delighted Ben Kelley and Mercedes Newlands, graduates of the hugely successful Lake Eustis Youth Sailing Foundation and one of two boats crewed entirely by graduates. They showed that if you keep your head out of the boat and watch the conditions you can do very well. A word here also for the other youth boat sailed by Bea Newlands and Grace Moring who had acquired an excellent set of results to that point and were placed well in the top half of the fleet overall.

Michael and Simon faired less well in this race and were at the back of a pack of boats which finished virtually overlapped within seconds of each other covering places fifth to ninth. Was the comeback on?

By race 9, the weather conditions were ready to bowl a Doosra (look it up if you're from North America) to the fleet. This race provided the hardest conditions of the week cerebrally, and started in no more than 6 knots of wind with an overcast sky. Something was clearly going to happen to the conditions which would confuse most of the fleet but not those who were able to play the Doosra.

Left seemed to pay again. This time the leaders at the first mark were the aforementioned Bea and Grace followed by Sue and Steph, Jim and Mike and Michael and Simon. Dave and Ava were close behind but Michael and Simon seemed to hold a good hand of cards at this point.

As they approached the leeward mark at the end of the triangle Quentin and Sarah were lying about 10th overall with young Ben and Mercedes just in front of them. By this time the wind was softening still further, perhaps to 3 knots or less and it seemed clear that the race would either be shortened at the end of the second beat or abandoned.

The fleet split, some going hard left, some right and middle. Even though those who went left had very little wind, those who chose the middle and right of the track were caught squarely in the vacuum as the two weather systems collided.

After going furthest left Dave and Ava eventually got the winners gun. Several minutes later, Ben and Mercedes trumped their result of the previous race and finished second. Their cheers and whoops of delight could be heard, no doubt, in nearby Mount Dora.

Sometime later Quentin and Sarah crossed the line in third followed by just a few more boats before the time ran out, leaving over 30 boats out of time including the early leaders Bea and Grace and Sue and Steph. Michael and Simon were the last boat to finish in tenth place. This, coupled with their ninth position from the previous race was gong to put the cat among the pigeons in the overall standings.

Ironically, as the finishers picked up a tow back to the dock, those boats still on the race course picked up the new wind and had a pleasant sail home.

Overnight, with two races to go but with two discards now counting, Michael and Simon still led overall with 12 points. However the lead was very much reduced as Dave and Ava had 16 points and Sue and Steph were still lying in the third overall with 25 points. The difficulty for Michael and Simon going into the final day was that Dave and Ava's discards were significantly better than theirs so that if Michael and Simon had a poor result on Friday, it could open the door to a win for the nearest competitors.

Originally just one race was scheduled for Friday but the Race Officer still had one to catch up so the plan at the briefing was to try and run two races before the cut off.

Race 10 began in 8-10 knots of breeze. Dave and Ava won the pin with Michael and Simon just to windward. Michael and Simon tacked away while Dave and Ava stayed left again. When the boats met at the top of the beat it was Michael and Simon who led from Dave and Ava with Jim and Mike a short distance behind. The leaders were close all the way round the course but at the finish it was Dave and Ava who got the nod (their fourth win in a row) from Sue and Steph who had made ground over the race. Michael and Simon finished third. Going into the last race therefore they still led the regatta but only by a couple of points now. They could afford no slip-ups.

For the final race, the wind increased slightly and was about 10-12 knots at the finish. Early leaders were Jim and Mike, followed by Peggy and Kathy and Simon and Christa. Michael and Simon were line eighth or ninth down the first reach with Dave and Ava a couple of places ahead of them.

By the end of the second beat Jim and Mike appeared to have a comfortable lead with Simon and Christa in second place. Michael and Simon were in sixth or seventh place but were now a couple of places ahead of Dave and Ava.

Wind conditions on the run mixed things up a bit. Simon and Christa carried a streak of stronger pressure through to the lead and Michael and Simon made ground too. As they approached the finishing line Simon and Christa held onto win (an excellent result as Simon had experienced a difficult week with several crew changes through illness or injury and Christa was yet another graduate of the LEYSF with little previous experience of flying a spinnaker).

Michael and Simon pulled through to second while Jim and Mike slipped to third. Peggy and Kathy consolidated their week's results by finishing fourth.

Surely, second place was enough to secure the championship for Michael and Simon and this was confirmed as Dave and Ava failed to make ground and finished eighth in the race which was their worst result of the series, and became one of their discards. In many ways this was a most difficult championship to win. Michael commented several times that Lake Eustis was one of the most challenging venues he had raced in. The teams in first and second overall had been outstanding but any team that was able to place consistently in the top ten in each race did well.

This report must not finish without mentioning the battle which raged in the Silver fleet. Two boats stood out here. The first was a beautifully restored wooden boat, W8705, sailed by Terry Cook (GBR) and Karlheinz Krueger (USA/GER). The second was a GRP MkII, W6066, sailed by Ali Kishbaugh and Mike Sigmund (USA). These two shared the top silver fleet results between them with Terry and Karlheinz usually finishing in the top half of the fleet in each race and finishing twenty fourth overall and top Silver Fleet boat.

Rumour has it that Terry is going to acquire a MkIV back in the UK and do some more racing.

So it's thank you to everybody from the USWA and Lake Eustis SC for all the hard work you put in to making the Championship a great success ashore and afloat, and to the sacrifices by owners who gave up their own boats and lent them to the raiders from across the pond. The next Wayfarer International Championships will be in 2025, most likely in Denmark. This year, however, there is more international competition for the Wayfarer Class with the UK National and European Championships at Arun YC, Littlehampton, 18-21 August.

If you are interested in learning more about the iconic Wayfarer, surely the best boat in the world for racing, training, cruising and family sailing, please visit wayfarer.org.uk for more information.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoNatHelm / CrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11Pts
1stGold11149GBRMike McNamara / Simon Townsend1411113‑9(RDG)3217
2ndGold10864USADave & Ava Moring22‑55451111‑822
3rdGold397CANSue Pilling / Steph Romaniuk(DNF)3345282(TLE)2635
4thGold10873USAJim Cook / Mike Taylor376‑8362‑1044338
5thGold11158USAPeggy Menzies / Kathy Sanville462‑15‑994767449
6thGold11339USAMarc Bennett / Julie Seraphinoff‑10142104105(TLE)101056
7thGold10666GBRQuentin Strauss / Sarah Burgess1110‑2262135335(OCS)58
8thGold11012GBRTim & Jacqueline Townsend5811136‑15‑168TLE12781
9thGold11222CANDavid & Anne Pugh‑1651071271211RDG‑15982
10thGold11344GBRSimon Strauss / Jim Rotella81417911109‑24(DNS)11190
11thGold11134USAAnnMarie Covington / Gareth Ferguson6158(RDG)1331713714‑1996
12thGold11338USAUwe Heine / Nancy Collins1291210‑26(DNS)714TLE61798
13thGold11299IRLMonica Schaefer / Rachel Lawlor9‑267‑221516620TLE1312109
14thGold10874USABea Newland / Grace Moring21‑27916‑22141415TLE811119
15thGold11345IRLNigel & Belinda O'Donnel1312‑23128‑191516TLE1715119
16thGold10944CANLeo & Joanne Van Kampen7‑2816‑2314112017TLE195120
17thGold971USAPaul & Dawn Miller1522(OCS)37811(OCS)TLE16OCS129
18thGold4113USABen Kelley / Mercedes Newland1924‑26‑3321222342913137
19thGold10977CANRob & Samantha Wierdsma14‑321414‑24181322TLE2116143
20thGold10964CANJan d'Ailly / Tom Legrady251620‑261617‑286TLE2014145
21stGold1066USAJim 2213131123‑252212TLE18(OCS)145
22ndGold2458IRLMargaret & Sean Hynes1723‑2817(DNF)122119142222167
23rdGold449USANeil Smith / Craig Ambler‑30191527172319265‑3418169
24thSilver8705GBR/USA.GERTerry Cook / Karlheinz Krueger2321‑341920212518TLE‑2721179
25thGold10978USAPete Thorn / Chris Peterson201127‑30‑29201827TLE2423181
26thGold911USADave McCreedy / Dave Wilpula2731211819‑323021TLE‑3526204
27thSilver6066USAAli Kishbaugh / Mike Sigmund2418‑312025‑302623TLE2830205
28thGold1114NZLCraig Yates / Rob Krentel182929241827‑3125TLE‑3125206
29thGold560USARichard Johnson / Michele Parish26172521(DNC)(DNC)DNC28TLE2924224
30thGold11340USAMarie‑Lyne Lavoie / David De Miranda31(OCS)18323324‑3429TLE2527230
31stGold3500USAAndy Forman / John McAdam352019252726NSC33TLE(DNS)(DNC)231
32ndGold11044IRLHenry O'Friel / Elaine Vogan(DNC)(OCS)243430332434TLE2320233
33rdGold1028USAMatt Dailey / Nick Burtka32‑3630‑3628313331TLE2628250
34thGold11135USAPatty Kuntz / Cole Price28‑35‑353131283230TLE3229252
35thSilver10963USAJim Burns / Bill Deuli29‑33‑332932292732TLE3331253
36thSilver11337USAIzak & Lori Kielmovitch34253237(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCTLE3032287
37thSilver3487USA.GBRJohn Cadman / Jim Ward36343738(DNC)(DNC)DNC36TLEDNCDNC321
38thSilver11343USADave Hepting / Bruce Weston(DNC)(DNC)3635DNCDNCDNC35TLEDNCDNC332
39thSilver7559USALloyd Weed / Sharon Campbell3330(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC364
40thGold3488USAAlvin Fick / Al Fick / Shefaili Bh(DNC)(DNC)3839DNFDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC371
41stSilver9885GBRRalph Roberts / Ansis Roskalns(DNC)DNF(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC383
42ndGold2973USAScott Tillema / Susie Suitz(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC387

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