The Squib South Coast Championships 2019

Ready to Join the Fray He's a Champion! (sort of)Team Jubilation Homespun HeroesRacing HomeAll Done

The weather forecast for the WSC-hosted Squib South Coast Championship on 21/22 Sep had not been encouraging: strong easterlies for Saturday, going southerly with rain on Sunday. Even so, 19 Squibs were brave enough to register for the event – ten visitors and nine from the home fleet.

Thus it was that boats were prepared and polished, crews were forged in cauldrons of fire, plans were made and expectations were raised higher than they probably should have been.

To ensure a significant home fleet advantage, the Organising Committee held a seminar on Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’ and came up with a cunning plan to nobble the opposition. By staging the event on the same weekend as the Ironman Triathlon with its 5,000 or so attendees, they ensured that Weymouth accommodation was in very short supply. Visiting crews were to be neutralized and exhausted from sleepless, uncomfortable, nights in tents, vans and cars. The plan to prevent visitors launching was equally dastardly. The Main Yard crane was rendered unusable due to the tides, whilst the Helia crane had been skillfully sabotaged weeks earlier to avoid suspicion.

Unfortunately, some local Squibbers did not receive the Organising Committee’s now-infamous memo ‘Winning at all Costs’. They completely undermined the plan and made generous offers of accommodation (including breakfast). And the ever-resourceful Yard team - who were completely off-message - got the Helia crane fixed in a nick of time. With a skillful Ray Capp paddling away at the (new) controls, a hard-working team of slingers and RIB tug crews ensured that all visiting boats were launched successfully and moored neatly in the Cove, ready for the off.

On Saturday morning, with seas breaking over the Stone Pier and breakers in the harbour mouth looking like the opening scenes from ‘Hawaii Five-O’, there was a tangible lack of enthusiasm within the fleet. Peter Aitken, the RO, prudently and popularly declared an AP2 – indicating a 2-hour delay to the start time – and later, an abandonment for the day. The relief was palpable – not least amongst the excellent volunteers and bravehearts destined for the Committee Boat and the RIBs. And with sunshine on the terrace, electric bicycle demonstrations in the yard, an obliging bar staff and the promise of some indigestion-inducing fish and chips, life wasn’t so bad after all.

Despite the lack of, er…., a Championship, the Championship Dinner took place on Saturday night. It was a most jolly evening of squibby banter and nonsense, including the time-honoured Squib custom of awarding the multi-coloured, one-size-fits-all, ‘Dick of the Day’ jacket to an almost certainly undeserving recipient. Life, it seems, can be anything but fair, as Chris Rust from Portsmouth discovered. With She Taylor’s organizing skills, Amanda’s Galley team and Penny’s bar crew, success was assured and, as many of the visitors pointed out, we are very lucky to have the benefit of such a welcoming, well-located and well-provisioned Clubroom.

Sunday dawned dank. Light rain, light winds and leaden heads conspired to dampen enthusiasm. But the fleet rallied and fortified by Amanda’s bacon butties, sallied forth into the Bay with growing optimism. The plan was to extend the racing day and get 4 races in to make up for the previous day’s wash out. With flat water, SW winds picking up to 14 -20 kts and some teasing rays of sunshine, the day eventually set fair and the first race got underway at 10.05. Mike and Penny Fenwick took first place in Ghost Rider (758) and things were looking good for the home Club, but over the course of three more good, closely fought races, visitors Dave Best and Steve Allso in Crossfire (797) proved too good and Crossfire ended victorious, posting a 2, 1, 1, 2 series. Mike and Penny finished 3rd overall, behind David Wines and Keith Davies in White Magic (828). An accompanying dolphin also performed well and put together a good series but was later ruled out of class by Dave Dunn’s Protest Committee.

The real heroes of the Championships were the homespun heroes of Weymouth Sailing Club. Three home-fleet boats turned out with scratch crews: Inquisition (608) with Nick Frampton and Gavin Poullion (who finished a quite brilliant 4th overall!!); Jubilation (86) with James Shuttleworth and Wendy Smythe; and the Artful Dodger (773) – the Club Squib - with Phil Norris and Celia Rushton. Given that, for most, it was their first time with either the boat or crew, their performances were wholly impressive.

As always, it is the many unseen volunteers in the background with their generous donations of time, effort and expertise, who make it all work. Simon Vines’s Organising Committee, the Race Team, the mark-layers and safety crews, the administrators, the table layers, the bar and galley team, the pasty providers, the yard team and many others too numerous to mention. But we know who you are. And all of the Club’s Squibbers are very, very, grateful. Thank you.

Submitted on 23rd September 2019