The Start Of The Year
The big off season news was that the club was joined by six Musto skiffs. A fantastic addition to the fast handicap fleet. This is a hardcore group who will set the bar high.
The sailing committee introduced a number of innovations for the racing season. They will need to be evaluated over the off season but seem on balance set to last. To list them and the rationale;
The first was to rationalise adult class racing to Saturday with the loss of the Wayfarer and Fast Handicap Sunday afternoon race. The pool of duty race officer and safety crew had reduced as it was felt unfair to keep extending this burden onto the cruising community who never or rarely raced. Keeping racing (outside cadets) to one day on the weekend effectively halved the duty numbers required.
The racing season was started two weeks earlier on the 10 April, catching some fleets by surprise judging from frantic preparation seen on the hard.
The season was preloaded with five windward – leeward racing days to allow classes to practice the format for impending Nationals. Unfortunately two fell foul of very light conditions. When they did occur provided full days of great racing. Thanks to race officers Heiko Schupp, Tim Townsend and Chris Brealy.
The Medway Keelboat Regatta ran smoothly over Spring Bank Holiday thanks to the efforts of Bob Turk and the planning committee. The long distance race in particular was highly subscribed, suggesting there might be appetite for more races into the Thames estuary.
The Medway Marathon moved to a Saturday and became part of the Sailjuice UK wide series with digital tracking which could be monitored by the race team (again ably headed by Tim Townsend) and club members in the dining area. It attracted a record number for recent years with a number of travellers. Conditions entirely suited the heavier symmetrical spinnaker dinghy and became a bit of a Wayfarer benefit event with overall handicap honours taken by Richard Stone and Catherine Gore. Top cadet and female helm was Millie Lewis on her laser radial.
Wednesday evening racing was extended to dinghies and proved popular. Safety and Race officer cover was entirely voluntary over the nine race series. Thanks to those who put themselves forward, especial thanks to Brian Corbett the RO. Absolutely beautiful evening sunsets were enjoyed, if not on the water, then from the veranda. Winners were Trevor Cox in the dinghies, Tim French in the cruisers.
Summer gave memorable days of perfect weather but some blow outs, including two of the four days of the MYC hosted Wayfarer Nationals. This was won by Michael McNamara and best placed MYC boat was that of Whizzo (W11170 on the left below) owned by Sam Pygall and helmed by well known Medway river man Brian Lamb, finishing fourth. They are an established team, veterans of the National Wayfarer Circuit. After Whizzo, Senior moment (Lees), Intermezzo (Townsends), Hound (McKenzies), were the best placed MYC boats, with MYC taking the team prize.
A fantastic away result was achieved by Alistair Bolton and team on BD2 who won the Sonata series at Cowes week, putting 8 competitors behind him. Alistair also won the under 25 trophy.
Rounding up the classes;
Dragons: After 17 races Whistle (Quentin Straus, Wendy Howland, Jamie Blair) lead handsomely with 17.0 points after discard. They are followed by Suti on 39.2 and OCD on 42.0. OCD having been rendered hors de combat by a passing cruiser while on moorings (somewhat of a role reversal and becoming a bit of a habit) and waiting a new mast may have to cede position to Taniwha.
Results of the John Field Series; – Taniwha 23 points, Suti 12 points and winner with 10 points – Whistle. Congratulations go to Wendy and her team.
Forthcoming events; The 211 Cup is about to begin which is the longest series. Will anyone challenge Whistle?
Sonatas: The Sonata remain very competitive with the Late Spring Series won by Watersong followed by Blue Tack. The Summer series was again closely contested and won by Screwloose followed by Skipper with one point separating the two. With 2 series to go (early and late autumn) all is to play for. Class captain Victoria Wright reports;
The Medway Sonata class have been busy this month. It started with a well planned long distance race at MYC organised with precision by Chris Lindsey. White Noise and Watersong made the journey down for the Sonata Nationals hosted by Island Sailing club. The event being held on the south coast produced an even stronger showing of sailing talent for the four days of competitive racing. Going into the last day White Noise were lying 4th overall but due to ‘solid inconsistency’ we could not sustain this and finished the Nationals 5th overall. Watersong produced a couple of podium finishes from races and finished the event in 9th. Commendable results in a competitive fleet. During the Nationals an association AGM was held for the first time in a couple of years. The main news from the AGM was that a 1.5 size jib was given the go ahead to measure up between the current No.1 and No.2 this allowing people to save their No.1’s on days which are a bit on the edge and also allow people to race and cruise short crewed.
Forthcoming events: The Colne Yacht Club on the Blackwater will be hosting the 2022 Sonata Nationals. In addition it is hoped MYC will host a Sonata Easterns Event early next year.
Wayfarers: The Wayfarer fleet is in good health with sixteen registered for racing although one down when Little Angel tangling with the Hound (always a mismatch as one might take from the names), lost their mast. However as of yesterday they are back sporting a shiny new spar. It is a very even playing field with all except one (Hardtack) being Hartley MKIV’s.
Over the season there have been five different winners. Currently after sixteen sailed races the Commodore and Rear Commodore, in Muffin, lead the standings (11 points after 7 discards), followed by Hound (16) and Moonshine and Ubique (27 and 28 respectively). Some of the heavy hitters (S Coltart, T Townsend) have been distracted by family duties. Going into the windy season is the keenly contested Autumn series. Heavy weather teams Intermezzo and Moonshine (Alexander & Moon) are well placed with the rest dusting down cut down sails.
Updates from Squibs, Musto’s, Cadets and Cruisers to follow in Autumn edition