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Wayfarer Nationals Race at East Down Yacht Club

18th October 2013
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Wayfarers round a mark at the Irish nationals at East Down
Wayfarer Nationals Race at East Down Yacht Club

#wayfarer – It was a fairly quick decision to hold The Irish Nationals at EDYC after they were called off at Greystones Sailing Club outside Dublin due to logistical reasons. Hurriedly a committee was formed to run the event and all systems were go!
Holding an event so late in the season is always a lottery where the weather is concerned and thankfully we had bought some tickets. Saturday 5th arrived and so did the sunshine with a Force 3 breeze from the South – perfect.
There were twelve Wayfarers competing with the competitors having an age gap of seventy years between the youngest and oldest. Ten boats were from East Down Yacht Club, one from Strangford Sailing Club and one from Greystones Yacht Club. Elise Beket came from Holland to compete as crew.
Race Officer Angela Gilmore from Killyleagh Yacht Club gave us our pre-race talk –"I want to see a good clean fight with no low punches or I'll bring out the Black Flag". And then we were off. The race area was south of Dunny Neill, a small island at the southern end of Strangford Lough for those that know the area with the Mourne Mountains majestically lit as our backdrop.
Race 1, the fleet had a good clean start and was away on a triangular course with the wind blowing Force 3 gusting at times to 4 from south to southwest. The battle up front was likely to be between the four Mark IVs and Trevor Fisher's woodie; Trevor had won the Nationals the past three years in Meg B. His crew, Emily Watt, was in her first year of sailing and enjoying every minute of it. Trevor & Emily crossed the finish line first with Monica Schaefer & Elise Beket second and Simon Jeffrey & Robin Anderson third.
Race 2 was another triangular course. Monica and Elise in Anamcara noticed that the pin end was unguarded and crossed the start line at full speed on Port to catch the rest of the fleet asleep resulting in them leading the race from start to finish. First and second places were reversed with Trevor & Emily second and Margie Crawford & Rachel Reid in Mistral third.
Race 3 was a windward/leeward course with the wind decreasing to a steady Force 3 suiting the lighter crews. We all enjoyed lots of spinnaker work and up until now there had been no real dramas during the races but on Lap 2 at a busy leeward mark Rosemary & John Miller manoeuvred their boat inside Simon Jeffrey & Robin Anderson's and gently plucked Simon, the helm, out of the boat on the end of their boom depositing him in the water. Robin, being the ever observant crew, didn't actually notice he was minus a helm and presumed that they were hardening up round the mark ready for the beat until their boat, Hart-Beat, came head-to-wind only to find Simon bobbing around in the water on the windward side. After being heaved swiftly aboard only one place was lost. Thankfully it was the last race of the day for the sodden Simon. The race finished with Trevor & Emily first, Henry O'Friel & Elaine Vogan in Way Fair Lady second and Monica & Elise third.
After an evening of delicious food – many thanks to Rachel Bevan – and the usual craic in the clubhouse it was back to tents, caravans, boats, or for some, home, for a good night's sleep.
Sunday dawned to a slightly windier day blowing Force 4 to 5 and not quite as sunny but would provide two good races. Race four required the competitors' attention as the gusts were at the high end of force 5 into a 6; unfortunately this put paid to our youngest helm, thirteen year old Grace Jennings helming Pink Panther with her father Finbar crewing, who capsized and decided to call it a day. It did however lead to some exciting racing with some of us.... hmmm.... losing our spinnaker sheets and guys over the bow and getting them caught in the centre board.... twice! However Trevor & Emily made it look easy with another win with Margie & Rachel coming a fantastic second and Henry & Elaine who are normally light wind specialists coming in third.
The final race saw the wind decrease to a more manageable force 3 to 4. Strangford Lough is tidal and it is necessary to try and play the tidal streams to your advantage which most of us had been trying to do during all races; should we beat close to the shore or play it safe and beat up the middle? You can get it right as many did or it can all go horribly wrong and you lose hard won places. Everyone had decided to give it their all for the last race and was fighting for a good position on the start line but unfortunately there was a second hoot, someone was over. I looked at the boat to windward and they looked at us inferring that they thought we were over. Having learnt from experience NOT to take advice from other helms that let you know that THEY think you were over the line and would you "kindly get out of my way old chap", we carried on and later discovered we were not the boat over the line. With normal service resumed Trevor & Emily finished first, Monica & Elise second and Margie & Rachel third.
Delicious soup and rolls, coffee, tea and cakes were served in the clubhouse and were followed by prizes being awarded by the East Down Yacht Club Commodore Mr Robert Dow. In first place were Trevor Fisher & Emily Watt, second Monica Schaefer & Elise Beket and third Margie Crawford & Rachel Reid. It should be noted that this is Trevor's fourth Irish Nationals Championship win in a row and he has equalled his father, the very accomplished sailor Mike Fisher who had also won the event four times consecutively.
A fantastic weekend was enjoyed by all competitors and we would like to extend an invitation to all Wayfarer sailors to come and experience the wonderful sailing area of Strangford Lough around East Down Yacht Club. Robin Anderson. Crew W10596

Published in Wayfarer
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