David Liddington won the
Sunday saw the start of the serious racing with a fine day and a good north-westerly Force 3 for the Helford Regatta. From a port-biased line Hermes(Anthony Armitage) and Athena (David Liddington) each took a flyer that resulted in Hermes reaching the windward mark just in front of Samaki (Alan Williams). On the run to Zone, Athena and Avocet (Doug Sharps) went through to first and second with Avocet just reaching Gyllyngvase after the next beat in first place. However on the final beat to the finish, Nemesis (Robin Edwards) went left and picked up a good lift to take him into the lead. Pegasus (David Kerridge) took the same route and brought himself into contention. At the finish, Nemesis led from Avocet then Pegasus. However each of these 3 boats was disqualified as they did not cross the correct line. This gifted the race to Athena, followed by Samaki and Amalthea (Roger Wood) in 3rd place.
Mylor Regatta on the Monday saw the fleet
out in the Bay taking on a trapezoid course in a moderate south-westerly
breeze. A significant port bias on the
line led to a general recall following which two boats were black-flagged for
further transgressions. Avocet showed
good speed in these conditions and led all the way round crossing the right
finishing line to gain her first victory.
Behind her, Athena, Kali (Oliver Edwards) and Amalthea had a close
battle until Athena got the wrong side of a windshift and dropped to an
uncharacteristic 7th place.
This left Amalthea second and Kali third. Kali is owned by Charles Emmett and was
rescued by him from
Restronguet’s day on Tuesday dawned with some fearsome but well-predicted gusts of between 30 and 40 knots. 14 stalwarts planed down the Roads to the Start line of St Just but as the wind came up the Race Officer decided on discretion and cancelled the day’s racing – to the relief of many! The beat home to St Mawes was memorable in itself with Pintail’s crew on strike at one point resulting in helm Richard Bown going about on his own and straight into the drink! He alleges he was in control of the boat at all times despite not being actually in it for part of that time!
Wednesday saw another fresh wind from the north-west. Nemesis revelling in the gusty conditions got off to a good start and led from Amalthea and Pegasus. Athena blasted through on the run down to Zone and passed Nemesis. However a close tacking battle up the St Mawes shore under the Castle between Nemesis and Athena resulted in Athena taking a penalty turn and returning line honours to Nemesis with Amalthea 3rd.
On St Mawes day the fleet was fitted with the
Race-Trax system so that every move could be followed online. A north-westerly Force 3 to 4 promised a good
race in the Bay. After the Race Officer
announced the course and two rounds, a very polite question from Nemesis on the
VHF asking whether he knew that the
Back in the Carrick Roads for Friday, a fresh but shifting north-westerly produced a challenging race. A port-bias on the start line resulted in a general recall and a half-hour delay. From the restart Avocet went up the middle and Nemesis went left. At the weather mark Avocet led from Athena and Nemesis. Confusion about the race instructions within the boat led to Avocet dropping her spinnaker early on the way to St Just and Athena passed and was away to the win with Amalthea getting 3rd place behind Avocet and just in front of Nemesis. At the fleet Prizegiving on the Saturday, the crew of Avocet, Gordon Sutton was presented with a special map of the buoys of the Roads, a GPS and a pair of giant spectacles! It was also suggested that a sign be erected for Avocet on the final mark saying “Finish line this way!”
Amalthea, Avocet, Kali, Samaki and Nemesis
all posed problems for Athena during the week but each lacked the consistency
to be able to end David Liddington’s extraordinary run of success in Falmouth
Week. At least this year he has been
beaten once - by Goosander(Ian Sharps) in the National
Championships held at Harwich but in
Whilst these boats are consistently
fighting for the top places, the beauty of the
The next boat home, Mary B had a better week this year too. Skipper Richard Boucher-Giles usually has adventures resulting in the annual bow fender award for collisions almost being his own property! This year Richard decided to have a go at a Flying Fifteen in order to qualify for the trophy which he has duly won. The difference this time being however that he was actually in the right and on starboard himself!
The friendliness of the Class means that those boats bringing up the rear third of the fleet also have terrific competitions with their own tussles and traumas. Mary B was followed home by Achilles(Richard Townshend), Kittiwake (Mike Evans), Polyphemus(James Leggate)Persephone(Colin Jardine-Brown), Friday(Tim West), Polly Oliver(Chris Bateman) and Osprey(Paul Smart).
As the Commodore of St Mawes Sailing Club –
Bomber Holm said when he presented the prizes, the
This year a new trophy – the Ajax Jolly Pot (Chamber of course!) was awarded for the first time – to Chris Bateman for 27 years of service to the class. Chris has now sold his boat and will compete no more in Falmouth Week. We hope he will remain within the family that is the SW Ajax Association and continue to sail his races but this time from the Castle car park – where many of us find it is a lot easier to win!