A sunny weekend at the end of April saw a few boats gather at Rickmansworth for an open weekend fast growing in popularity.
On Saturday there was a four boat tournament for the Foot and Gnurns trophies, a splendid pair of ornaments which are awarded by Castaways (Uni. London Alumni). Despite the pioneering level of turnout a great day’s racing was had. All four boats raced in a random pairs round where all possible team combos were tried out (including crews helming). After a hearty ploughmans lunch a round of match racing followed, rounded off by a fleet race and an evening meal in the sunshine. The Foot trophy for team racing was won by Castaways (Chris Guy and Ollie Dewhurst), The Gnurns crews’ race was won by Chris’s crew Ollie and the Match racing was won by Jamie Mcewen and Rachel Crebbin. Jamie went on to win the open meeting the next day
Despite a couple of notable absences through illness, there was still a good fleet of about a dozen Fireflies for the Rickmansworth Open Meeting on Sunday 28 April. The wind blew and the sun shone, warming the chilly sailors who had camped after the Saturday night social and woken to find thick ice on their tents!
Race officer Paul Johnson laid a varied course, using six buoys and all of the lake. In the first race Steve Greaves sailing with NFA chairman Caroline Edwards led around the first mark, followed by Jamie McEwen crewed by Claire John and then Jonny Bickford with local girl Claudia Wilson. This continued for a few more buoys before Jonny and Claudia got swallowed up by the pursuing fleet, allowing Steve/Caroline and Jamie/Claire to break away. Those two boats exchanged the lead several times, but eventually Steve and Caroline sailed into a hole and then went the wrong way round a buoy, so Jamie and Claire won the race. Third place went to Sue Steyn sailing with twin sister Caroline Webb.
In the next race there was a pack of five boats fighting for the lead all the way round: Steve/Caroline, Jamie/Claire, Sue/Caroline, Chris Guy and Alannah Witherby, and Tony Thresher with crew Mike. Each boat held the lead at least once, but generally lost it again shortly afterwards! In the end it was Jamie and Claire who were leading when the music stopped. Steve and Caroline took second, followed by Chris/Alannah, Tony/Mike and Sue/Caroline. Ali Barker and his dad Graham were sixth.
In race three Jamie and Claire seemed to lose their mojo somewhat (perhaps due to a capsize before the start) and found themselves in last place. They managed to catch up to fourth by the finish, but could not threaten the leaders Steve and Caroline who sailed a good race to hold off Chris/Alannah, with Tony/Mike just behind.
Thanks to the discard Jamie and Claire were overall winners, with Steve and Caroline one point behind and Chris and Alannah in third.
All in all the weekend was a great success thanks very much to Rickmansworth SC and a few key people who have encouraged Castaways to re-host the event here. We expect more of the same next year!