2011 Squib Annual Report 12 Nov 2011
The Squibs had a contrasting year as the travellers were highly successful but the stay at home
fleet participated less frequently. The challenge remains to keep local numbers up whilst the
pursuit of another National champion continues.
The whole fleet, without exception recognises the effort, organisation and patience given to
support our activities throughout the year. Our thanks go to our race officers Bruce Burnett,
Edwin Buckley, Kim Allen and their respective teams, Matt Walker and Jools Briggs for our
results service, the staff at the club and Peter our ever present launch man. It is their
contribution that underpins our enjoyment.
The fleet set itself an early start in the first weekend of March and, surprisingly, 2 boats were
launched and ready. At the pre-season lunch on a glorious spring afternoon, the rest of the
fleet were able to critique the early combatants from the river wall with a glass in their
hands… a typical Squib start to the year. Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey in Lady
Penelope won series and set the tone for the rest of the season. Sixteen boats were
launched for Easter to race for the Mike Flint Trophy. The event saw a different winner for
each race, most notably Duncan Grindley in his new purchase Surprise. The trophy was
won by Malcolm and Andy.
The Gold Cup, held over the early May bank holiday weekend, is our major visitor’s event
and a qualifying event for the national Travellers Trophy. 17 of the local fleet were joined by
only 2 visiting fleet members from Suffolk & Romford. Eight races were scheduled but this
programme was severely curtailed by the weather for the 3rd year running. With the wind
blowing dogs off their chains on Saturday, the fleet was significantly reduced to nine boats
with both visitors Brimstone (Bryan and the NSOA chairman Jenny Riley) and Billy Ruff’n
(David West and John Poskitt) not launching. The weather delivered the inevitable
blistering downwind sailing, blistered hands, swamped boats and broken gear. Only 5 boats
managed to finish all 5 races and racing on Monday was abandoned. This meant no discards
and left Malcolm and Andy victors over Peter Marchant and Marc Rawinsky in Tears in
Five of the fleet enjoyed the hospitality of Medway Yacht Club for the East Coast
championships, in another windy affair. Again, Hutchings & Ramsey were the lead Burnham
boat finishing 3rd overall with the other RCYC boats taking the next 4 places.
Six Burnham boats made the trip to the Squib National Championships at Plymouth and the
warm welcome of the Royal Western YC. In a change from the early season events, the 61
Squibbers were blessed with fantastic sailing conditions and, with the exception of Monday
which was abandoned due to lack of wind, all races were completed in brilliant sunshine
coupled with medium to fresh breezes, a real showcase for Plymouth and Devon. Nigel
Grogan and Daniel Cripps in Helmut Shöing won the practice race and thereby earned
the Nationals “kiss of death” as their week progressively declined to include a black flag, a
big hole and a jib lost off the pontoon. The event culminated in a final days racing where any
of the top 6 boats were in with a shout of winning overall and that included our own Micky
Wright and Chris Dunn in Spoof along with Malcolm & Andy in Lady P. Alas, it was not to
be and the event was won for the umpteenth time by Chris and Mark Hogan from South
Caernarvonshire. Micky and Malcolm finished 5th and 6th respectively; all 6 Burnham boats
registered top ten placements in a race and finished in the top 20 overall with Phil Aspinall
and Howie Enkel in Guy Fawkes securing the silver fleet trophy for the week.
The fleet were all back to Burnham to support the RCYC charity regatta and the Jimmy
Starling Trophy, hosted by the Burnham Sailing Club. Ian Gray and Ian Simons in
Chequemate snatched the RCYC regatta series away from usual winner Simon Griffin on
the final race by the narrowest of margins.
In a new venture for the Squib fleet, “perfect” Pete Marchant turned PRO for the Jimmy
Starling Trophy and acquitted himself well with judicious use of the black flag and only minor
aberrations with other starting equipment. The weather had reverted back to blustery resulting
in lumpy conditions off Bridgemarsh Island and challenging starts. Once again, despite a
close challenge from Robert Coyle and Julian Briggs in Humphrey Malcolm and Andy
won with a race to spare against the other 11 entrants.
In early August, Malcolm and Andy ventured to Cowes Week and brought the Squib Trophy
back to Burnham for the first time in a decade. As always, Burnham Week delivered a large
turnout for the Squib fleet with 21 boats participating at some stage. The bank holiday
weekend was a terrific battle between Malcolm Hutchings and Micky Wright. Hutchings was
the eventual winner followed by Wright. The mid-week series was even closer and was won by
Hutchings from Robert and Tracy Coyle and light winds maestro Chris Goodfellow in
Trophoblast. Wright finally got his reward for a long and arduous week by securing the
Burnham Week Bowl.
Three boats travelled to contest the South Coast championships hosted by the Royal Victoria
YC on the Isle of Wight. In a 22 strong fleet Duncan Grindley finished 7th, Ian Gray 4th and
once again, Malcolm and Andy succeeded in winning the event.
The final trip of the year is always the Inland National Championships at Rutland and in the
unusually balmy conditions, Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey Lady Penelope 819 won
the National Travellers’ Trophy and the Inland Team Trophy for the RCYC with Nigel & Jack
Grogan Helmut Shöing and Micky Wright & Chris Dunn Spoof. Carl Anderson and
Jason Phelps Magic Roundabout added the Bronze Fleet winners’ award to make it a
triple success. The squadron of Burnham boats demonstrated strength in depth in the final
race registering 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th in a fleet of over 40 of the best national squib
sailors. The Travellers’ Trophy is awarded to the best overall from four events across the
country and it is a testimony to the consistency and speed of the Burnham fleet that Hutchings
and Ramsey, the winners, were followed closely by Wright and Dunn 2nd with Duncan
Grindley 4th and Phil Aspinall 5th.
Club racing was a mixed bag impacted partly by the travelling and partly by time pressures
on various helm & crew combinations. Even so, Saturday racing invariably had more than 10
participants and not many fewer on Sundays. Early season series were dominated by Malcolm
Hutchings sailing with either Andy Ramsey or Jackie Tracy. The summer series saw wins for
fleet stalwarts Bill Jones with Martin Hipsey in Tombo and Simon Griffin with Russell Phelps
in Brutus along with Micky Wright and Chris Dunn in Spoof. The most welcome win
of the club season was that by Paul Tavinor, crewed by Jools Briggs in Whait a Minute,
for the non-National series. Paul has decided to hang up his Squib tiller now that he’s in his
The Squib fleet once again had a massively enjoyable day competing for the Rice & Coles
Cheeseboard trophy in front of the club. Four short races on a trapezoidal course really
sharpened mark rounding skills of both helms and crews bringing large smiles to the faces of
everyone. This mid-week event invariably results in an eclectic mix of competitors and crews.
Once again Ian Gray & Ian Simons Chequemate won the event. The cheeseboard,
thanks to our long time sponsors Rice & Coles, is a very social event with the fleet retiring to
the club for a lengthy and enjoyable lunch where, as ever, the calls of “starboard” and “water”
were replaced with ones for “port”.
The Last Chance regatta held in mid-October saw the largest ever entry of 15 boats for this
final fling sponsored again by Colman Coyle LLP. As ever, the windward/leeward format
produced exciting and competitive racing for all who endured the 5 races in a single day
format. It seemed almost inevitable that Hutchings and Ramsey would win and so it was
although the victory was only secured in the final race from Micky Wright and Robert Coyle.
Socially, we’ve had another fantastic year especially Burnham Week, the Cheeseboard and
the Last Chance Regatta. It is the social aspects which help bond the fleet and keep us
together throughout the helm, crew and boat changes this big fleet sees year on year. The
fleet has changed again as we’ve seen the arrival of boats new to the river (Mick Bradley with
Frodo) and new owners John & Sue Hardy 848 Caesar, Chris Aldred Whirlin
Dervish and Noel Sutcliffe with Entente Cordiale.
Disappointingly we’ve seen 5 boats leave for other fleets and I suspect there will be further
changes over the winter. The challenge is to ensure that club racing is re-invigorated and
develops to push the front runners who continue to seek that elusive national title. It is this
challenge which our new class captain will rise to as I hand over the reins after 4 enjoyable
I’d like to personally thank all those who have given me tremendous support during my time
leading (onshore) the biggest fleet on the river and the largest Squib fleet nationally.