On the river Deben at Waldringfield Sailing Club on 6th October.
Ten races provided a colourful spectacle for family supporters, so close to the shore in front of the clubhouse, as well as intense competition for both young and old sailors . The championship came to a nail biting climax with a tie for first place separated from third by only one point! This colourful one design class made from recycled materials provided very close racing at times. However both the skill of the sailors and the ability of the BOTTLE boat to beat the tide were needed in the light and flukey westerly winds blowing over the clubhouse. The warm and sunny weather conditions were enjoyed by everyone and the contrast between large and small yachts enhanced the scene on this part of the river Deben. Once again, one third of the 23 boat fleet were juniors, racing over a simple 250 metre ‘sausage’ course. There was a great deal of fun created, with good sportsmanship as the inevitable collisions resulted in penalty turns, which were carried out without much hesitation or repeated hails from the observers.
Racing started on the flood tide beating upriver and after a good start, Race 1 was won by young Laser sailor, Tom Barton from the experienced Punch sailor, Noel Fraser and current champion, Wayfarer sailor, Neil Collingridge. The keenness of competitors and the tide forced a general recall in Race 2 and in the restart previous champion, Punch sailor, Bernard Kufluk got away well to win followed by Tom and Noel. PRO, Roger Stollery changed the course with a start against the tide. Neil’s course on the beat well into the tide gave him Race 3 ahead of Paul Morgan and Alan Viney. There was competition for sea room in Race 4 as a large seal popped up to investigate the strange shapes, including the dragon-like decoration on Noel’s leading boat. He was not caught by the chasing pack of Graham Viney, who had gradually improved during the morning and Bernard who finished in 3rd place.
The BOTTLE boat sailors joined new WSC members for a welcome break at the lunchtime barbecue. The lunchtime scores with one discard were very close with Noel 6, Tom 8 and Bernard 9 points.
Refreshed by a good lunch, Graham Viney improved still further to take Race 5 in front of Laser sailor, Robert Norris and Bernard. The tide was on the turn for Race 6 and Paul overtook several boats by taking advantage of the tide changing first next to the shore and finished in 3rd place behind Neil and Tom. The races had been taking about 10 minutes each until Race 7 when the gathering strength of the ebb tide and the complete lack of any gusts of wind were making progress upriver very difficult.
Gordon Harris made good start, but was overtaken by a group of 4 boats, Dot Fraser, Graham, Bernard and George Barton who all beat the tide and got round the leeward mark, whilst the rest of the fleet were going backwards towards Felixstowe. Once the leading 4 got round the windward mark they too were having difficulty in stemming the tide and eventually after nearly 40 minutes the race was abandoned in the interest of fairness, with half the fleet having retired. After a 20 minute tea break the wind started to fill in more from the South and so the course was reset further upriver where there was more wind and 3 more races were sailed.
In the rerun Race 7, Tom got his 2nd win in front of Graham and WSC Commodore, William Sudell. Robert Norris came to the front again in Race 8 to win from Graham and Neil. At this point, Graham had 21 points whilst Neil had 22 and Tom had 24, so the championship would be determined by the last race. Both the leading boats had a good start, but Neil rounded the leeward mark in front, with Graham chasing and maintained the advantage to win both the race and the championship. Their scores were tied, but this was resolved by count back, with Neil’s 3 firsts to Graham’s 2.
At the prize giving, PRO Roger Stollery thanked the Lake family and those behind the scenes in the club for providing the barbecue lunch and John Smith and Robert Lake on the water for separating entangled competitors and keeping the course adjusted relative to the beach. Neil Collingridge, thanked Roger and his family team for running another good championship, despite the poor wind conditions.
Tom Barton was delighted to win the Junior trophy, as this was his first complete radio sailing event. In addition to sailing well, Tom and his brother George are now licensed builders of the BOTTLE boat, with enquiries through the Waldringfield Boatyard Ltd.
1st Neil Collingridge WSC 23, 2nd Graham Viney Guildford 23, 3rd Tom Barton DYC 24, 4th Paul Morgan Guildford 31, 5th Noel Fraser WSC 32, 6th Bernard Kufluk WSC 35, 7th William Sudell WSC 42, 8th Robert Norris WSC 53, 9th George Barton DYC 95, 10th Angus Collingridge WSC 63, 11th Alan Viney Guildford 69, 12th John Fish WSC 72, 13th Hugo Fraser 80, 14th Dot Fraser WSC 82, 15th Gordon Harris WSC 85, 16th Matt Lake WSC 86, 17th Chris Fish WSC 90, 18th Christophe Fraser 119, 19th Simon Kernthaler 123, 20th Alan Hall WSC 125, 21st Various sailors 132, 22nd Oliver Hall WSC142, 23rd Iselin Fraser 143.