Burnham fleet report – 2023 Squib National Championships 5 Jul 2023
Wow what a week, a little spoiler alert – it’s coming home!
15 squibs made the journey down to Weymouth for the 2023 Squib National Championships last week, some taking the time to play golf on the way down whilst others got up ridiculously early Saturday morning to beat the traffic. Launching was at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy which was a hive of activity as 65 boats were scrutineered, masts weighed and launched. There was great hilarity when Lady Penelope was found to be 1.2 tonnes but thankfully the team discovered a wrong button had been pressed on the scales! A sail over from Portland to Weymouth for some then followed whilst others required towing as the fog came down and covered Weymouth Bay in its entirety!
Sunday was the first day of the event with both the practice race and race 1 being undertaken. The wind was pretty light to start off with and it took a while to get going however it eventually filled in at roughly a direction of 230 and about 8knots. The practice race is always a mixed bag with some boats not wanting to jinx it with a good result but as ever the Burnham boats were showing they were a force to be reckoned with!
And then onto the proper racing of Race 1, the course was WL3 with a similar bearing to the last race though crews were having to pay close attention to the shifts. From the off it was Jono and Chris (142 Two Counts) who took the lead ahead of 2022 National Champions, RicO’shea, and Jack and Nigel in Helmut Shoing back from a year off from squibbing but showing that they had lost none of their skills and speed! Final results for this race showed 5 Burnham boats in the top 10! Back to the bar and we had yet more winners with Andy Carley picking up the DOTD jacket and Scarlett and Portia winning a spinnaker from Hyde Sails for coming the age of the company in their boat, Mid Race Satisfaction.
Monday saw another two race day in similar weather conditions (suncream and water definitely required). The first race (race 2) saw a number of boats black flagged (including our own Nemesis) and then an abandonment due to a significant wind shift however once we finally got going it was once more Jono and Chris with the win.
Race 3 saw a change in the top order as some of those rested from the black flag powered through the fleet and I think quite a few of us were tired of the multiple starts from the earlier race however Lady Penelope, Helmut Shoing and Surprise all made the top 10.
Tuesday (race 4) was a one race day much to everyone’s relief. It took a while but by the third beat, Jono and Chris (142) in the black boat had stonked along and pulled ahead of 800 (Gerard Dyson and Tony Saltenstall, initial leaders) thanks to good reading of shifts and some classy sailing. Closely behind were 908 who had recovered from their black flag from yesterday and Micky and Alex (811) who were one of the few who had gone left from the start however a cracking start and a good decision to tack off sooner than others meant that they hadn’t had too bad a race to take 4th.
Wednesday, back to two races….tbh I can’t recall too much about the first race, a cracking start, good tactics and some not too shabby spinnaker work saw Spoof take an unassailable lead and after 14yrs of nationals give Micky his first win! Slightly further behind saw Two Counts take 2nd and put them into a strong position at the top of the leaderboard. The next race saw Jono and Chris take another 2nd with burnham boats in 6th (Helmut Shoing) and 9th (Spoof).
The wind has switched right round on Thursday and a number of boats were caught out by the shiftiness of the weather from this direction. The first beat was a lottery with 50 degree shifts but it was great to see the yellow boat of our esteemed Commodore and Shep come round the windward mark in first place. Phil and Shep worked so hard to keep hold of that position and it was only right at the very end that they were passed by both RicO’shea and Ghostrider ultimately taking a very well deserved third place! It was also a real mix up in the rest of the results but great to see the girls in Mid Race Satisfaction get 43rd.
When Friday dawned, there was still very much a competition to be won. Hoping to discard their 15th from Race 3 along with their 34th from Race 7, TBC knew they had to do better than 12th to keep ahead of previous winners, RicO’shea, who needed to win to be in with a chance. Meanwhile Jack had done the maths at breakfast and there were at least 7 boats who could take 3rd place including Spoof, Lady Penelope & Helmut Shoing. The wind had swung back round to the usual 220 however had increased significantly in strength to 20-25knots meaning those more suited to heavy winds (Atalanta, Just in Time and Firecracker) could properly hike out for the first time. Right from the gun, TBC meant business and showed us some top class sailing, managing the wind and waves perfectly. They were closely followed by RicO’shea and Lady Penelope (Malcolm and Andy also revelling in these conditions) whilst the rest of us tried to hike out constantly and keep the pumps running. As the boys crossed the line to win the race, Jono produced a bottle of Prosecco to enjoy during their sail to the cranes and the congratulations of their fellow competitors.
As you can imagine the Prize giving was a raucous affair with much cheering for the Burnham boats. As well the ultimate prize, Burnham won the following:
⁃ Finlandia Trophy for most boats from the same club (15!)
⁃ Leading lady crew (Alex, closely followed by Julia in Surprise)
⁃ Melody trophy for boat related by blood or marriage (Nigel & Jack Grogan)
⁃ Hunter Trophy for first Hunter boat (Outcast, Hannah Harden and Flynn Davies)
⁃ Plymouth trophy for highest placed boat who hadn’t won another trophy during the week (Helmut Shoing)
⁃ Team Trophy for top 3 boats from same club (Team C – TBC, Helmut Shoing, Spoof)
Burnham Fleet Results:
1st – TBC (Jono Brown & Chris Agar)
4th – Helmut Shoing (Nigel & Jack Grogan)
6th – Spoof (Micky Wright & Alex Porteous)
7th – Lady Penelope (Malcolm Hutchings & Andy Carley)
13th – Surprise (Duncan Grindley & Julia Batchelor)
19th – Guy Fawkes (Phil Aspinall & Dave Shepherd)
21st – Nemesis (Ray Apthorp & Petru Balau)
23rd – Firecracker (Dan Wastnage & Andrew Norden)
28th – By the Lee (Jason Phelps & Carl Anderson)
33rd – Atalanta (Nick Milton & Gavin Kemp)
44th – Squabble (Ian Scott & John Kilby)
46th – Just in Time (Bill Blank & Stuart Pearce)
47th – Outcast (Flynn Davies & Hannah Harden)
57th – Mid Race Satisfaction (Scarlett Anderson & Portia Hutchings)
58th – The Black Pig (Ben Luddington & Bill Wright)
If there has been more prizes Burnham would have also won a prize for the best SWAGs (squib wives and girlfriends) and lunches (Gavin and Nick in Atalanta)! A fantastic showing by the Burnham Fleet both on and off the water!