Allen Flying 15 Burnham Open Meeting at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club 21 Jun 2023
The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club held the Allen Flying 15 Burnham Open Meeting over the weekend of the 17th / 18th of June. In contrast to a lot of the country, the RCYC race team led by Edwin Buckley were able to lay on a fascinating 5 race series. A bit like the Gold Cup, there were to be no discards.
A clash with the class Scottish Championships, in Scotland, reduced the fleet. But 13 boats representing 9 different clubs were welcomed at Burnham Yacht Harbour with complimentary coffees and bacon rolls. After a briefing where the Race Team handed out course cards and lent VHF radios, the fleet kept their feet dry launching and headed to the start of Race 1 just off the mouth of the marina.
In a sitting out Easterly breeze with an ebbing tide, the fleet favoured the committee boat end of the start and headed right, tacking up the main channel for a short, 2.3 mile beat out of the River Crouch to the red and green painted Branklet cardinal, which has the unusual distinction of being a port hand cardinal for the Crouch and starboard cardinal for the Roach. After a quick massage to revive aching legs, the crews stood up, hoisted kites and 3 sailed reached down the Roach. Dave and Harry Lucas led the fleet back from this leeward mark to the finish off Horse Shoal.
The slick RCYC race team quickly turned round the second race which was 2 laps comprising a beat further out towards the mouth of the river – still in an ebbing tide, tight reach across the river and a broad reach against the tide, back to a leeward mark at the mouth of the 2 rivers. Dave and Harry Lucas again started well and kept a close cover on Ian Cadwallader & Ellie Devereux. The upwind cover continued on the second lap, but the Lucas family were rolled coming into the gybe mark. The final leg comprising of run back from the gybe mark to the start against the tide really asked questions to the fleet: hug the northern bank in less wind ? or cross the channel to the southern bank ? Well, dramas on the North Bank a plenty with team Lucas running aground (twice), Chris Waples & Simon Hunt sailed a little further out off the bank in more pressure and took the lead from Cad & Ellie who gybed too often. Just as Chris was smoking the winner’s cigar, Duncan Matthew and John Chalker piled in from the southern bank and took the honours much to Chris’s bemusement.
The final race of the day was a short 1/2 mile beat followed by a long run back to a finish off Burnham Yacht Harbour. The free cold beers on the dock were like a magnet to team Lucas who won the race with style. The boats remained afloat overnight at BYH and all the helms & crews kept their feet dry apart from Mike Wilczynski, who mysteriously fell out of the back of the boat in Race 1 – did he trip? or, was he pushed by crew Jean ? I’ll you decide.
Competitors retired to the Waples country retreat for chilled glass of rose and nibbles courtesy of Waples Wines and then back to the RCYC for the event dinner and a great evening of camaraderie.
Sunday started with breakfast on the club balcony with sunshine and breeze. However, by the start of race 4 the wind was dropping, and competitors suddenly realised it was difficult to cross the start line towards the middle of the river. Justin Waples and Jackie showed all their Corinthian Otter training by gribbling up the bank with some panache. However, all their hard work was in vain, and the competitors were called back to wait for the wind. Now, times like these, call for a sacrifice and as soon as Simon Kneller & Ashleigh had given up and gone home, a both sitting on the side of the boat South Easterly filled in for the re-run. Chris Waples & Simon led the fleet up the 2 mile beat to Branklet, avoiding the incoming tide by hugging the north shore, but the pack came back strong by breaking to the south bank earlier. By the finish back at Horse Shoal, the breeze had increased to good sitting out weather and it was Chris & Simon who took the gun, followed by a fast-finishing Bill Chard & Josh Preater.
We had now run out of time and the final race was a 0.7m windward leg followed by a fantastic 2 mile reach home. Although Justin and Jackie led race 5 throughout, it was Chris & Simon’s 4th place following a good decision to return at the start and duck the line that clinched the event. 2nd and 3rd overall were tied and broken in favour of team Lucas’s two race wins.
Allen’s generous sponsorship was evident at the prize giving complete with fabulous tea, cake and Allen prizes awarded throughout the fleet.
images © Roger Mant Photography – we have permission from the photographer to use the photos on YachtsandYachting.com