Squib Class Captain’s Report 28 Nov 2008
The season started well with training from Team GBR coach, Adam Bowers, which not only sharpened up the fleet in time for our biggest Squib regatta, the Gold Cup but also Adam for the Olympics, allegedly. In a theme that has been repeated and that is testimony to the quality and spread of the skill within the fleet, 8 races produced 6 different winners with the overall prize being won by Paul & Sarah Buckley (709 Electra).
Burnham members dominated the East Coast championships which were generously and professionally hosted for the first time by Medway Yacht Club. Burnham had all 6 of their boats in the top 8 including the top 3 places and the overall winners Peter Marchant & Charlie Davenport (801 Tears for Fears).
The commitment and excesses of the 40th anniversary celebrations reduced our travellers to the National Championships held at Lowestoft to just 10 and, despite good individual race results (2nd Peter Marchant and 3rd Robert Coyle & Mel Titmus (823 Humphrey)), our best position was Robert in 8th.
A few of the hardy travellers journeyed to Freshwater to participate in the South Coast championships. Paul Buckley, this time crewed by Andy Ramsey achieved a creditable 3rd overall.
The national Inland Championships at Rutland in early October is often a full-on heavy weather event. 2008 was no exception and a large contingent of 13 local boats rose to the challenge. When Rutland plays up it plays hard, resulting in 2 swamped, 2 de-masted, 1 holed and 9 recording at least one DNF or DNC. Wisely, one boat decided not to travel at all. Peter Marchant with Paul Austin again achieved podium status with 3rd place and the fleet came away with the team trophy.
Club racing was a mixed bag impacted mainly by the weather. It was consistency over the season which delivered 4 series wins each for Robert & Mel and Malcolm Hutchins & Andy Ramsey (Lady Penelope 819). Malcolm was also the most successful during Burnham Week. Series wins were also achieved for Simon Griffin & Tim Rigler (Spoof 811) and Adrian Fluker & Roger Tolhurst (Soopa Doopa Flooka 848).
The Last Chance regatta held in mid-October saw most of the fleet out for a final fling as 19 boats contested for the Mike Flint Trophy. Once again the windward/leeward format produced exciting and competitive racing for all. Malcolm Hutchins and Andy Ramsey came away with the honours.
I would like to record thanks on behalf of the fleet to all those who helped in delivering the race events, especially Paul Noonan, Les White & Mark Eagling. Additionally I would like to thank Bruce Burnett, his race box team and Peter Hughes our launch man, our club racing is dependent on them and without them we'd all have far less interesting lives.
There was a high turn out for most of the events both home and away, which is a reflection not only on the breadth and competitiveness of the fleet but also on the flexibility that having our owning craning facility offers us. I'd like to thank Brian Meadows and Simon Griffin for their significant time and effort in supporting the fleet and the club in lifting, cleaning and weighing through out the season.
A major boost to the fleet this season was the arrival of several new boats and the increase in competition which that brought to all racers whatever their level. Indeed, the Squib Jug has been repeatedly filled to register 6 new winning helms: Gerard Dyson, Steve Barham, Alison Aspinall, Mike Bradley, Henry Heathfield & Alex Shanahan.
Once again, it was an active and enjoyable year, which commenced with the pre-season lunch hosted by Paul and Sarah Buckley. It was a great pleasure not only to see the home fleet but also to have enticed the Felixstowe Ferry contingent to be there and become members of the Burnham fleet.
I am pleased that the fleet have supported their own events, including the Jimmy Starling at the Burnham Sailing Club, but also the wider club events including the memorable shorts and wellies hoe-down during he Squib 40th Anniversary Regatta.
Sadly, both Sarah Hastwell and Kathy Jones are stepping back from their organising roles. We thank them for input and trust that they will still be around to provide advice to their successors Sarah Buckley and Marion Aspinall as they take up the reins.
As this report goes to press, the Winter Series is being finalised, which brings us back to the growth of the fleet and our commitment to sail for 9 months of the year. That commitment has also delivered three significant facts to demonstrate the ubiquitous nature and charm of the Squib. The youngest regular helm this year was Edward Aspinall (aged 8), the youngest winning helm was Alison Aspinall (aged 11). At the other end of the scale our oldest helm, Paul Tavinor (aged 74), has just purchased and launched his new Squib (WHait A Minute 859).
The weather will be the main memory of 2008 for many sailors but not for the Squib fleet, who celebrated the 40th anniversary with a fantastic regatta attended by almost 50 boats including 22 visitors, representatives from most Squib fleet in the country and several past National champions. The club successfully demonstrated that we can organise, host and manage a large event. There were 3 winners from the regatta. On the water it was Bryan & Jenny Riley (Brimstone 73) who used their Oulton Broad light airs experience to the full. In the clubhouse it was Nic Tolhurst who was the winner of the draw for a brand new Squib, aptly named By the Lee. Overall the winners were the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club who recorded such a positive response from the national squib fleet, achieved through the efforts of club members and especially the energy of organiser Adrian Fluker and the race management of Kim Allen.