A report from Max Evans
23 Squibs gathered at Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club over the Bank Holiday weekend to contest the East Coast Championships. Visitors had travelled from as far afield as Bangor in North Wales , Torbay and Bridlington to contest the event. There was also a good showing of local boats, particularly from Waldringfield.
A five-race series was held over the weekend of May 27th and 28th .
Saturday dawned with three races scheduled and a 15 knot wind from the NNE which resulted in some steep waves caused by the ebb tide over the shingle bar at the mouth of the river Deben , but all contestants found their way through the shoals without any problems. After a couple of false starts, mostly caused by the strong ebb tide taking competitors over the line, racing started at the third attempt with a black flag but fortunately no one was over. The 3-lap windward/leeward course which was won by Micky Wright and Alex Porteous from Burnham who pulled out a commanding lead, a result earned in no small part by seemingly flawless spinnaker work.
With the tide slackening the seas were calmer and Race 2 started on time with an Olympic style course of triangles and sausages which enabled the fleet to demonstrate their 3-sail reaching abilities. This race was led by local sailors Andy Moore and Pete Hallinan for just over a lap before being overhauled by Malcolm Hutchins and Andy Carley from Burnham who went on to win the race. It was great to see Andy Carley sailing in the fleet again , a changed man from the “wild child” of years ago.
The final race of the day followed the same format as race 2, but with a windward finish. The race was closely contested up to the final lap when Tom Jeffcoate and Mark Hogan got their noses in front and opened out a healthy lead at the finish. Micky and Alex were second and Andy and Pete third. With the flood tide strengthening from the North a carefully judged tack to the finish line was required which resulted in one competitor hooking the anchor line of the pin end of the finish line and towing it off to Felixstowe. Fortunately the race officer had a transit on shore so results were unaffected.
On Saturday evening competitors and the race team enjoyed a meal in the clubhouse and were treated to a discourse from the Honorable Thomas Crean, co-funder of the Mid-fleet Club, together with the award of the “Dick of the Day “ jacket, inevitably awarded to the hapless soul who modified the finishing line.
Sunday’s weather was a repeat of Saturday with wind from between 030and 045 degrees. Once again a windward/leeward course was favoured, but with more tide taking the fleet over the line. Fortunately the fleet had “ wised up “ by now and a clean start at the first attempt was a relief to all. The race was closely fought between two look alike boats , Nigel and Jack Grogan in sail no 105 and Squib 905 from Waldringfield with Ben Stone crewed by Jamie Mayhew. Squib 905 is one of the new a Rondar-built boats ( and previously owned by Nigel) and the difference in the ages of the boats is probably of the order of 50 years but there was really nothing between them. Ben and Jamie just squeezed an impressive win in their first Squib event
Going into the final race the title was open to at least three boats.
The race started in a building breeze of about 20 knots and Squib 136 Rick O’Shea sailed by Tom and Mark were first to the first mark, were never overhauled and in so doing convincingly claimed the East Coast Championships. Just two points behind them were the ever-consistent team of Micky Wright and Alex Porteous, followed by the Grogans a further two points adrift.
Local boatyard owner, and Squib sailor, Andrew Moore and his staff launched and recovered the boats and provided moorings at no cost to the event. Without this generous support the event could not have happened.