Friday, May 10, 2013
Burnham-on-Crouch was the host for some tight Bank Holiday racing that saw a diverse range of conditions… and Hyde’s Sails dominating to take the top four places
The first of the Squib class Travellers’ Trophy events took place at the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham on Crouch over the Bank Holiday weekend. Twenty boats from as far afield as Weymouth and Yorkshire arrived for an unexpectedly blustery first day, with winds up to 30 knots.
Micky Wright and Chris Dunn led from start to finish in race one coming of the committee boat and taking up the north shore out of the tide before getting the difficult lay line call across the river just right, setting the pattern for all four races on day one. Behind them Gerard Dyson and Tony Saltonstall just crossed the line ahead of Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey.
The Grogans proceeded to win the next two races back-to-back before a crash in race four on the start line put them and Owen Delaney and Tony Holman out of the race. With the wind blowing a steady force 6, the fleet was reduced to nine finishers as several other boats were damaged, or decided that the club bar was a safer place to be. Nick Tolhurst and Richard Tucker mastered the conditions to win leaving Micky and Chris as overnight leaders.
Sunday's conditions were seasons apart, with a gentle southerly leaving race officer Kim Allen the challenge of setting inner trapezoid courses in the narrow confines of the Roach.
Ian Gray and Ian Simons won race five by a long way, proving expert at the tide-cheating short-tacking up the shore. Behind them were Malcolm and Andy and Micky and Chris. The Grogans had a disaster with a 14th, but with two discards available if eight races were sailed, things were tight and open with almost half the fleet still in with a chance to win.
Race six was all about getting the start right, either out in the tide at the favoured end, or closer to the shore at the unfavoured committee boat end. It was a struggle to cross the line on starboard, but the Grogans got pole at the pin end and went on to win by a long way with Mike Probert and Mel Titmus getting to grips with the conditions to finish second, just ahead of another visitor Martin Harrison and Alex Porteous.
The wind had now swung more to the south-east, making the beat very one-sided and with only one place to start. The Grogans again got pole and went on to win from Ian Gray and Ian Simons ahead of Nick Tolhurst and Richard Tucker, with class legend and father John Tucker observing proceedings from one of the several spectator boats.
The race area for the final race was moved out into the Crouch with four laps of a short course making starting and boat handling the key skills.
A general recall added to the pressure and the Proberts were black-flagged. The Grogans got pole at the committee boat, but were just crossed by the two Ians who had done the same at the pin end. The Ians just held on to win by a boat length from the Grogans, with the very consistent Malcolm and Andy in third. Micky and Chris blew their chances with a poor last race sixth.
Overall that left the Grogans the winners with a 4,1,1,1,1,2 scoreline ahead of Malcolm and Andy followed by Micky and Chris. All four top boats had the latest Hyde sails which appeared to show good pace across the extremes of the wind conditions.