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UK Wayfarer Association Craftinsure Travellers event at Blackwater Sailing Club

by Steve Perkins 10 Sep 2023 08:27 PDT 2-3 September 2023

Over the weekend of 2nd - 3rd September Blackwater Sailing Club hosted the latest event in the Craftinsure Wayfarer Travellers series, combined with the Snipe class.

Late summer holidays and other family commitments kept some regular travellers and home club sailors away, but the eight boats competing were a quality fleet. We had the Wilsons, fresh from their victory at the Nationals, travelling regulars team Townsend looking to find extra speed with their new sails, two-time Fireball world champion, Colin Goodman with his daughter Lexire, GBR Olympic development squad member Mattie Evans sailing with her father Dave, and Nationals runner up Rob Haigh drafting in Steve Perkins to replace his normal helm Graham Hoy who was holidaying in Croatia.

Warm sunshine and a steady F3-4 Easterly provide near perfect conditions on Saturday afternoon, and the first race set the scene for the day, with Andrew and Tom Wilson showing blistering upwind speed, chased hard by local pairing Steve Perkins and Rob Haigh, and Colin / Lexie Goodman, sailing their beautiful woody, number 998 showing that you don't need to buy a MkIV to compete at the front. The Wilsons pulled out a commanding lead, leaving Perkins / Haigh, the Evans and the Goodmans trading places all around the racecourse for the next few places.

Race two followed a similar pattern, with Tim and Jacqueline Townsend joining the tussle behind the Wilsons. Perkins / Haigh chased the Wilsons hard, coming home 2nd only to hear silence from the committee boat confirming what the rest of the fleet had been telling them that they were OCS. A mistake that was to prove costly when the points were added up at the end of the weekend! The Townsends were finding good pace now, happily taking a well-earned 2nd place.

Race three was a repeat, the breeze building to the strongest of the weekend, with the Wilsons dominating, followed by Perkins / Haigh and then the Townsends.

On Saturday evening everyone enjoyed pizza and a late bar, taking full advantage of later start on the afternoon tide on Sunday giving plenty of time for the hangovers to clear!

Sunday was a different game, the wind had decreased significantly, making it a better day for the lighter crews. The Wilsons had to work a lot harder, as the Goodmans and the Evans were powered up and sailing fast upwind and showing an extra turn of speed downwind. These three traded places from the start of the Race 4, and after the first lap the Goodmans were in front and it looked as if there were going to stop the Wilsons unbeaten run. However, the Wilsons broke through the loose cover from the Goodmans on the final beat, then once ahead they held on for another victory.

Race 5 saw a great first beat by the Evans who played the shifts brilliantly to be first to the windward mark, and they held on to a narrow lead from the chasing Goodmans and Wilsons until the final gybe mark, when the slick boat handling and spinnaker work from Colin and Lexie paid off and they took the lead, holding on to take the bullet in the final race of the weekend. The Wilsons cane home third, having already won the event, with the Townsends holding off Perkins / Haigh to take fourth.

A great weekend's racing, fantastic sailing conditions, close racing throughout the fleet, and everyone leaving Essex with big smiles. Thanks to our sponsor, Craftinsure, who donated prizes, including a very nice sailing jacket which was raffled by boat number, the lucky winner was the Townsends - a perfect fit for Jacqueline!

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stRestless11093Andrew WilsonTom WilsonDatchet Water Sailing Club1111‑34
2ndArgo998Colin GoodmanLexie GoodmanBex Hill SC44‑62111
3rdNomad11183Mattie EvansDavid EvansBlackwater Sailing Club33‑43211
4thJay Jay10925Steve PerkinsRob HaighBlackwater Sailing Club2(OCS)24513
5thIntermezzo11012Tim TownsendJacqueline TownsendMedway Yacht Club‑5235414
6th 11356Alan HoyJanet HoyBlackwater SC‑6556622
7thSummer Breeze11349Anthony HarrisEmma ReeveBlackwater Sailing Club76(DNC)7727
8thPelican10621Jeremy FeatherstoneMartin MaloneyMarconi Sailing Club87(DNF)8831

The UK Wayfarer Association Craftinsure Travellers circuit has two events left for the year: the Inlands to be held at Blithfield Sailing Club on the 30th September/1st October and the traditional Finale at Bough Beech on the 11 and 12 November. The 2024 circuit is shaping up with events scheduled including a return to Blackwater, Datchet, Banbury, Arun and Bough Beech.

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