Crews enjoy competitive racing

From the mentally exhausting Quiz evening on Sunday, through the full racing and social programmes, to the traditional Prize giving dinner the following Saturday evening, the 47th Folkboat Week was a resounding success. Generously sponsored by the Lymington Yacht Haven and immaculately hosted by the Royal Solent YC in their recently updated clubhouse, competitors, crew and families all enjoyed a great week’s holiday. With a total entry of 39 boats, 30 in the Open (Nordic) division and nine in the Cruiser division, the racing was always going to be close and so it proved.

The weather for the first half of the week was challenging, always sailable but never easy. In Sunday’s single, long race Jeremy Austin’s Nordic Tak took the gun ahead of Good Shepherd and Madelaine. Closest finish of the day was the battle for fourth and fifth where Samphire edged Strider by one second. First blood in the Cruisers went to Weymouth’s Nick Hughes helming Freya.

A fortifying club supper refuelled everyone for Monday’s double ‘round the cans’ races. With winds in the 15-20kts range Tak again showed her superiority taking the morning race by over a minute from Edward Donald’s Madelaine, Tagomago and Strider.

The afternoon race was even closer with the first four boats finishing inside a minute after 100 minutes racing. Tak strengthened her overall position by taking another win.

Madelaine, Samphire (Graham Coulter & James Hoare) and Strider (Andrew Salanson) all chased hard but couldn’t quite catch her.

In the Cruiser division Tony Smee’s Bobbin, complete with strange headgear, took the morning race with Colin Eales from Portsmouth helming Mistress to victory in the afternoon.

Monday evening is traditionally the time for the Pontoon party and this year’s was a very convivial affair. The weather stayed dry, it was just everyone’s insides that stayed wet.

In much the same conditions as on previous days Tuesday’s racing programme called for three short windward / leeward races. P.R.O. Jeremy Willcock was right on the button and delivered exactly that. In the first race James Harrison (Tagomago) having missed Sunday’s race broke Tak‘s winning sequence, just! By one second to be precise.

Strider finished third ahead of John Whyte’s Scaramouche. The winning positions were reversed in the next race with Keith Whitelaw’s Good Shepherd in third.

A minor accident on board Woodpecker II led to a coming together with another boat. Regrettably Woodpecker II lost her stick and retired to the solace of the club. In the final race of the day Tak again had the better of Tagomago, Samphire and Madelaine.

The Cruiser fleet had a slightly easier day with only two races scheduled. Mistress, having got the hang of winning, reeled off another two. Behind her in the morning Bobbin and Sandpiper (Roger Hayward) couldn’t be separated on handicap for second.

In the afternoon Chichester based Folkdance (Susan Rutter) edged Sandpiper by five seconds for second place, their best result so far this week.

Tuesday evening saw over 90 members and friends enjoy a barbecue at the club, courtesy of Lymington Yacht Haven. Wednesday was scheduled as a lay day and as the wind increased overnight to near gale force the timing could not have been better as racing would not have been possible.

This left everyone refreshed for the second half of the week, particularly those who attended the party at ‘On the Rocks’. A later start, at mid-day on Thursday, in brighter but still fresh conditions saw 18 Nordics and five Cruisers compete in a long distance ‘round the cans’ race for the Christchurch Ledge trophy. Conditions were too rough in the Bay for the fleets to sail the traditional course. After two and a half hours Samphire beat Tagomago by a minute with Riot (Sue Burgin & Colin Smith) third.

The Cruisers sailed a shorter course and Lyn Evans helming Folkdance showed a clean pair of heels to the rest finishing 20 minutes ahead of Mistress.

The South Coast AGM was followed by a lazy evening in Yarmouth’s various hostelries.

There were a good number of boats entered for the Ladies’ Cup, the first race on Friday. Sailed in light and shifty conditions Sarah Fraser helmed Samphire to victory in the Nordic fleet and Susan Rutter took the Cruiser prize in Folkdance. A similar number of entries then contested the Crews’ race. Sarah stayed at the helm of Samphire for her second win of the day, whilst Chris Smith won on board Mistress in the Cruisers.

The final race of the day was the seventh points race and in a building breeze Andrew Salason took an early lead on the long beat across to the mainland shore but he was slowly reeled in by Tagomago who finished 15 secs ahead at the line. Jim Tennant secured third place on Paloma, whilst Edward Donald, who had had his daughters crewing for him all week, finished in fourth.
Friday evening’s entertainment was not for the faint-hearted. The legendary Royal Naval Tots Club of Antigua & Barbuda hosted a party that lived up to its reputation. No-one can remember who was ‘the last man standing’, which seems about par for the course. With only one race on Saturday and both fleets away cleanly racing was completed in time for everyone to be ashore for lunch.

With Tak not sailing during the final three days it was left to Tagomago, Samphire, Strider and Madelaine to sort out the overall title. Strider took the final gun a few secs ahead of Madelaine with Tagomago third.

With only one discard allowed the overall positions were the reverse of the final race positions. In the Cruiser division Mistress’s fifth win of the week gave her a comfortable overall from Sandpiper and Folkdance.

At the Prize giving dinner Royal Solent Y.C.’s Commodore Jeremy Willcock was thanked for his dual performance as host and P.R.O. Bernard Turner, South Coast Folkboat Assn, paid tribute to the continuing support that Lymington Yacht Haven give to the week, which enables it to be the undoubted success that it is.

The Folkboat Assn has lost a number of good friends this year and the toast to absent friends was very moving. On a happier note Christine Webster regaled the company, in verse, to all the blemishes of the week that members had hoped she won’t notice.

The week was best summed up by a prominent racing member of the class, and a Gold Roman Bowl winner, who said “I have finally realised what Folkboat Week is all about. It’s the complete family sailing holiday”.

Overall Results (Top 5):         
Open (Nordic)               Cruiser
1st   Tagomago – James Harrison         Mistress – Colin Eales
2nd   Madelaine – Edward Donald         Sandpiper – Roger Hayward      
3rd   Strider – Andrew Salason         Folkdance – Susan Rutter
4th   Samphire – James Hoare & Graham Coulter   Bobbin – Tony Smee
5th   Good Shepherd – Keith Whitelaw      Freya – Nick Hughes