Broadland Squib Regatta at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club
by Richard Sullivan
A record entry of 24 boats from as far afield as Weymouth and Abersoch arrived at Oulton Broad for the Broadland Squib Regatta which was also the first qualifying event for the class Travellers' Trophy.
Those who arrived early were able to join in a "friendly" river race on the Friday, starting at Oulton Broad and finishing at the Waveney Inn at Burgh St Peter for lunch. For most of the visitors this was their first experience of sailing on the Broadland rivers and the winners were Simon Marfleet and Stef Oosthuysen in Firebird (50), closely followed by early leaders Jane Mackay and Dave Best in Crossfire (797).
As is customary with this event, the fleet was divided into flights on Saturday, each flight sailing against each other once during the course of the three races.
The first race started on time at 1130 in a force 2 westerly breeze only for a gentle south-easterly sea breeze to arrive on the first beat. Race Officer Owen Delany wisely abandoned to allow the sea breeze to settle and this then held out for the rest of the day.
After three hard fought series of races, the first day leaders were Jono Brown and Chris Dunn in Squiggle (142), followed closely by Dave Best and Steve Allso in Crossfire and Micky Wright and Alex Porteous in Spoof (811). The winners for the previous three years, Nigel and Jack Grogan, were lying in an uncharacteristic ninth place.
On Sunday the fleet was divided into Gold and Silver Fleets, each sailing a further two races which would be combined with their overall position from the first day to decide the overall points.
There was now a force 4 to 5 north-easterly breeze, with many shifts and an imaginative course that utilised all of the extremities of the Broad!
In the first race for the Gold Fleet, Brown and Dunn established an early lead but their event came to an early end when, on the second beat, they collided with Crossfire, resulting in a broken mast for Best and Allso and both boats retiring from the event.
Robert Coyle and Mark Rawlinsky in Humphrey (823) won the race from the Grogans and locals Richard Smith and Andrea Prime in Flame (802). The final Gold Fleet race was won convincingly by Malcolm Hutchings and Roly Wilson sailing Lady Penelope (819) but Coyle and Rawinsky finished in second place to win the Regatta, having sailed extremely consistently all weekend. Wright and Porteous finished second overall and the Grogans, having recovered well from their first day, finished third.
The Silver Fleet was won convincingly by Marfleet and Oosthuysen, followed by Iain Jones and Celia Rushton in Aldebaran (153), who had travelled all the way from Weymouth for the event. Third were Jason Phelps and Nick Peel from Burnham, sailing Magic Roundabout (736).
By all accounts this was the best Broadland Squib Regatta yet and bodes well for another successful season for the Squib Class, which last year celebrated its 50th Anniversary in fine style with 100 boats at the Nationals during Cowes Week.
The class now moves on to the Gold Cup at Burnham over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend and the East Coast Championships at Levington over the weekend 11th/12th May.
In Lough Derg Yacht Club over the weekend of 22-23 October, Squibs will come from the North, South and East coasts of Ireland as well as from Britain to compete in what will be one of the most enjoyable regattas of the year.
The British boat is remarkable in many ways, it is the first Squib ever built, therefore, its name is ‘SQUIB’, and despite being 50 years old, Dick Batt and Pamela Phelan managed to lead the UK national championships, and only lost the winning of the championships on count back. They won the South of Ireland Championship in Kinsale in August.
Another Squib worth noting is Peter Wallace’s ‘Toy for the Boys’ from RNIYC which dominated the Irish championship in Killyleagh in July. The owners of ‘Fagin’, Gordon Patterson and Ross Nolan from the same club, have been runner up in this event, innumerable times in their ‘old’ Squib, which is allegedly slower that their present Squib, which is number 100.
Another competitor who should not be overlooked is ‘The Worm’, Sam Lyness who easily won the event in light winds last year. A good turnout of local Squibs will also be competing.
The format is ideal, with four races on Saturday, with the first race starting at 11.00 am, which enables some competitors to travel on Saturday. On Sunday there are only two races, which allows enough time to wash out boats with fresh water, and lift them onto their trailers.
Lough Derg never overlook the social side of sailing, they will be putting on a grand dinner in the clubhouse on Saturday evening.
A fine entry of 37 Squibs travelled to Rutland on the weekend of 7 & 8 October for their Inland National Championship.
Saturday dawned grey and forbidding but thankfully with a great, if somewhat chilly, shifty, force 4 breeze from the west resulting in an interesting and challenging day's racing. Some of the gusts were levelling.
First to the weather mark in the first race were the SCYC team of Malcolm Blackburn and David Shiel in Moonstone (96) closely followed by Alan Johnson and David Garlick, Cariad Bach (132) from the same club. They held these positions until the end of the race. After a poor start, current National Champions, Josh Metcalf and Mark Hogan, Ric O'Shea (136) pulled up to third. This early domination by the SCYC boats was not to continue.
Class Chairman, Nigel Grogan crewed by his son Jack convincingly won the second race followed by fellow Burnham / Royal Corinthian boats, Lady Penelope (819), Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey and Spoof (811), Micky Wright and Alex Porteous. The scene was set for a showdown between the two clubs.
Only to be disrupted by Bryan and Jenny Riley from WOBYC sailing Brimstone (73) who easily won the third race. However, the Grogans, Blackburn and Metcalf were there in 2,3 and 4 places keeping the pressure on.
The home fleet, Rutland SC, hosted a great evening dinner and the Squibs proceeded to drink the club bar out of bitter and nearly all the red wine before retiring for the night.
Sunday morning produced a clear, fine, sunny day with a gentle force 3 westerly – perfect conditions. Again it was shifty, but that is the norm for Rutland.
Metcalf and Hogan showed their prowess in these conditions gaining a 1st and a 2nd in races 4 and 5 which gave them the meeting and the Inland Nationals to add to their victory at Holyhead earlier in the year. The Grogans were a close second overall and the Rileys sailed consistently well to gain third.
Josh Metcalfe and Mark Hogan were presented with the Squib Inlands Trophy by Rutland Squib Captain Peter Dale.
Worthy of note was the performance of one of the new Rondar Squibs, sailed by Andrew Moore and Peter Hallinan from Felixstowe Ferry SC. They achieved 4th in race 2 and 2nd in Race 4, which combined with more mid-fleet performances gave them 15th overall. A great result for the new Squib showing its potential to compete on an equal footing with existing boats.