18/19 September 2021. The Wayfarer Open, held at the same time as the Flying Fifteen Open, took place at Aldeburgh Yacht Club on 18/19 September in perfect weather conditions – summer had arrived at last. Eight boats competed including two distinguished visitors, one of whom was rumoured to have come sixth in the Nationals this year. Thanks to Dave Roberts and Nigel Odonnell for making the journey.
However, the home team Wayfarers had benefitted from an excellent training weekend with Mike Macnamara in the spring, and were ready for the challenge, even if missing our top two boats from Aldeburgh regatta.
Jamie and Wendy Wheatley in Hitch Hiker were worthy winners of the Open and L’Escargot Trophy, finishing first in three out of five races. The courses, mainly set up river off Blackheath in a wide expanse of water sailable at high water, enabled windward/leeward racing in closely contested racing with many changes of position right up to the finishing line. There were also a wide variety of choices as to tide and wind. Gabbiano, sailed by Charles and Nicky Manby, made a lucky (or smart) choice at the beginning of race four taking the inside of the bend, benefitting from a big lift, and led throughout, finishing a full two minutes ahead of the fleet. They finished third overall, with Jonathan Christie in No Strings Attached taking the silver medal position through consistent racing on both days and one victory, despite having spent most of the year racing a Loch Long.
A very pleasant supper at the Club on Saturday evening allowed all competitors and the Flying Fifteens to mingle and debate the day’s racing with excellent food and plentiful wine.
The “Snail Trophy”, this year a suitably illustrated wooden spoon, and awarded to the boat which finishes all races and has the highest aggregate score, was won by Luke and Alison Andrews. Luke has his name on L’Escargot multiple times, including the rare distinction of winning L’Escargot and the Snail in the same year (a very windy one!!).
David Roberts’s small gadget to prevent the dropping of spinnaker sheets under the bow attracted much attention and will be tried by many Aldeburgh Wayfarers next year.