Please select your home edition

Wayfarer Inland Championships at Blithfield Sailing Club as part of Craftinsure UK National Circuit

by Sam Pygall 4 Oct 2023 13:25 PDT 30 September -1 October 2023
Wayfarer Inland Championships at Blithfield © BSC

The Wayfarer Inlands, hosted by Blithfield Sailing Club, marked a significant event in the UK Wayfarer Association Craftinsure National Series Circuit. The competition, held over the weekend of September 30th and October 1st, received generous sponsorship from Hartley Boats.

Notable teams who had already achieved podium finishes on the UK Wayfarer Crafinsure National circuit this year, such as National Champions Andrew and Tom Wilson, multiple event winners John Clementson and Mel Titmus, and Ian Foxwell and Sam Pygall, joined the competition. Additionally, the fleet welcomed newcomers and Blithfield local Eden Hyland crewed by Will Gould, Dave Whittle and Chloe Craig and Louise McKeand crewed by Nigel Hall from Leigh and Lowton. Established circuit regulars like the Townsends, the O'Donnells, John Goudie, and Sam Boniface also made the journey "up north" to take part. The event also had local juniors Lara Griffiths and Oliver Green borrow the club Wayfarer and enter as well.

Blithfield Sailing Club, renowned as one of the finest inland sailing venues in the Midlands, hosted of the Wayfarers for the first time in recent memory. The anticipation among the sailors was palpable as they arrived at the club following decent journeys from across the UK and began preparing their boats, equipped with the necessary bacon cobs. The participants also received a warm welcome upon arrival from Richard Hartley, a class builder and member of Blithfield Sailing Club.

The racing began in earnest in a gentle F1-2 winds. Interestingly, the newcomers and local sailors swiftly showcased their superior inland boat speed in the initial exchanges, while the seasoned circuit regulars grappled with fatigue from their early starts. McKeand and Hall impressed everyone by securing a well-deserved victory in their maiden Circuit event. The Hartley duo followed closely in second place, with Hyland and Gould clinching the third position.

As the second race began, dark clouds rolled in, accompanied by rain. Hyland and Gould made an extraordinary start, launching themselves from the committee boat end of the line and securing a comprehensive start-to-finish win. The Wilsons finished in second place, and Clementson and Titmus claimed third. Owing to the fickle conditions brought about by the rain, the planned third race was wisely postponed, offering the fleet a chance to seek shelter at the club.

Saturday night supplied an opportunity for the sailors to unwind and socialize. A delightful hog roast and wine, sponsored by Hartley Boats, filled the evening with camaraderie. Such social events have proven to be a key aspect of successful Wayfarer fleet weekends, and have been a common feature at various venues on the Craftinsure sponsored circuit this year.

Sunday challenged the competitors with a rearranged schedule featuring three back-to-back races, initially forecasted to be held in stronger winds. The conditions, however, largely mirrored those of the previous day, albeit with a different wind direction. Clementson and Titmus, known as a formidable pair at inland venues in recent years and having achieved dominant circuit victories at Bough Beech and Datchet Water, launched their ambitious charge up the leader board, securing a comprehensive win in the first race of the day.

The teams that had performed well on the first day hotly pursued them, with Hyland and Gould taking second place and McKeand and Hall finishing third. These strong results propelled both teams into promising overall positions in their first events.

Race four unfolded in the unfortunate combination of diminishing wind and persistent rain. Undeterred, Clementson and Titmus demonstrated their Wayfarer prowess once again by claiming another bullet, a remarkable achievement considering the challenging conditions and strong competition. The Hartleys resurfaced at the front of the fleet once again, capturing second place, while Hyland and Gould continued their consistent performance with a third-place finish.

Despite the wind practically disappearing, the race committee managed to squeeze in a crucial third race of the day, which would contribute significantly to the overall standings by allowing participants to discard their worst race. Making the most of the dwindling wind, McKeand and Hall, along with Hyland and Gould, appeared as the frontrunners, rounding the top two marks. Ian Foxwell and Sam Pygall joined them at the front of the fleet, marking their first appearance near the leaders during the weekend. Ultimately, the finishing order remained the same as the placings around the windward mark, with Clementson and Titmus making an impressive charge through the fleet but ultimately settling for fourth place.

Following meticulous calculations on shore, the tightly contested inland championship concluded with Eden and Will narrowly clinching the top spot in their first Wayfarer event, narrowly edging out Louise and Nigel in second place. John and Mel completed the podium, showcasing their remarkable comeback on the second day despite the unpredictable conditions.

Thanks again are due to Blithfield for laying of a high quality event, both on and off the water, delivered by a team of 13 led by Andy Watterson (and also thanks to those that had checked and stocked the bar and cut the grass ahead of the weekend).

More photos available on Blithfield SC website gallery:

The final event of the Craftinsure National Circuit will take place at Bough Beech Sailing Club for the traditional "Finale" on November 11th and 12th. This event will also coincide with the unveiling of the winners of the Crafinsure National Circuit and Travellers competitions that have been running throughout the season. Competition for the Travellers Trophy appears to be between the Wilsons, O'Donnells and Townsends while the National Circuit (counting the best three results across salt and fresh water) is contested between the Wilsons, Clementson and Titmus and Foxwell and Pygall.

Throughout all the Craftinsure National Circuit events since April and spanning Datchet, West Oxfordshire, Blackwater, Medway, Parkstone and Dabchicks, a total of 53 entries have enthusiastically taken part in the circuit, contributing to its overall success and demonstrating the versality of the Wayfarer and the strong competition throughout the fleet.

If are a club interested in hosting the Wayfarer fleet for an event in 2024, perhaps as part of another event, please do get in touch with .

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st10866Eden HylandWill GouldBlithfield 12227
2nd10747Louise MckeandNigel HallLeigh & Lowton SC143 19
3rd11101John ClementsonMelanie TitmusChipstead SC 31149
4th11093Andrew WilsonTom WilsonDatchet Water SC4244 14
5th11323Richard HartleyMark HartleyBlithfield26 3516
6th11170lan FoxwellSam PygallMedway Yacht Club 565319
7th11282Nigel O'DonnellDave MooreSwarkestone SC 758626
8th11118John GoudieSam BonifaceWilsonian7 97831
9th11012Tim TownsendJaqueline TownsendMedway Yacht Club8 89934
10th11422Dave WhittleChloe CraigWhitefriars 810101038
11th10170Lara Griffiths (Junior)Oliver Green (Junior)Blithfield 11   47

Related Articles

Wayfarer Inlands at Datchet Water
Part of the Craftinsure National Circuit The UK Wayfarer Association National Circuit, kindly supported by our title sponsor Craftinsure with additional support by Allen Brothers, Hartley Boats and McNamara Sails, made a welcome comeback after a winter hibernation at the Inlands. Posted on 17 Apr
Entries open for Poole Week 2024
In August, Poole Harbour will once again come alive with dinghies and small keelboats In August, Poole Harbour will once again come alive with dinghies and small keelboats for one of the south coast's biggest and most well-established regattas: it's the 76th Poole Week. Posted on 3 Apr
Wayfarer Inlands at Datchet Water Preview
Part of the Craftinsure National Circuit The UK Wayfarer Craftinsure National Circuit, sponsored by Craftinsure, Hartley Boats, McNamara Sails and Allen Brothers begins in earnest over the weekend of the 13-14th April 2024 with the holding of the Wayfarer Inlands held at Datchet Water SC. Posted on 2 Apr
Wayfarer racing returns in 2024
Including the Craftinsure National Circuit! It seems only last week that the 2023 Craftinsure National Circuit had a very fitting Finale event at Bough Beech in November and yet the excitement is building for an exciting 2024! Posted on 2 Jan
Craftinsure Wayfarer National Circuit Finale
Bough Beech, a firm favourite amongst the fraternity The 2023 Craftinsure Wayfarer National Circuit concluded over the weekend of the 11-12 November 2023 with the traditional "Finale" hosted by Bough Beech Sailing Club, a firm favourite amongst the Wayfarer racing fraternity. Posted on 15 Nov 2023
Craftinsure Wayfarer National Circuit update
All set for the finale on 11th & 12th November The UK Wayfarer fleet has enjoyed a fantastic Craftinsure circuit of seven events across the UK this year, including a highly successful Nationals at Dabchicks Sailing Club. Posted on 15 Oct 2023
Craftinsure Wayfarer Travellers at Blackwater
Late summer holidays and other family commitments kept some regular travellers away 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. Posted on 10 Sep 2023
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2023 Day 6
Fast fun on Frisky Friday After racing was cancelled on Thursday because of no wind, Poole Week came to a riotous close on Friday. Plenty of breeze, together with sun and some good harbour waves, gave everyone a memorable day's sailing. Posted on 27 Aug 2023
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2023 Day 5
It's not all about the sailing In the context of one of the south coast's biggest regattas, it might seem strange to say that it's not all about the sailing. But in the case of Poole Week, it never has been. Posted on 25 Aug 2023
Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2023 Day 4
Steady as she blows Wednesday was another glorious day in Poole Harbour. The sun shone, which is always a good start. And the wind, though it never matched Tuesday's 12-15 knots, was a perfectly sailable-in 7-9 knots. Posted on 24 Aug 2023