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Southern Travellers 2019
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Southern Travellers 2019

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Round up of the series

With four new clubs entering the Southern Traveller’s Series in 2019, taking the opens up to 7 in total, it promised to be an interesting year for everyone involved. The widely varying clubs and stretches of water provided something to tempt all sailors so it was very pleasing that a total of 71 boats took part.  If you weren’t in it you missed some very enjoyable and competitive sailing.

The series kicked off in late March, hosted by the newly reformed Bewl Valley Sailing Association, with five visiting boats from as far afield as Yorkshire and with sixteen locals. The conditions were near perfect for much of the weekend. Pip Hudson and his daughter Alice in 3889 from Broxbourne SC were clear winners with an impressive 3 firsts and 2 second places, but more competitive racing was enjoyed by the remainder of the fleet. Locals Colin Nutt and Chris Hough, 3898, were second, with visitors from Derwent Res. Mark Weston and Andy Weatherspoon in 4061 making their long journey worthwhile with a third place overall. An excellent dinner and very sociable evening was enjoyed at the local hostelry.

Just two weeks later the Southern Championships at Datchet Water SC also formed the second meeting of the series with 28 boats competing. Winners were Andy McKee and Richard Jones from Dovestone SC (4005), with second place going to Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett from Draycote SC (3760).

With poor winds forecast the Broxbourne SC open in mid-May was a much quieter affair with just two visitors but a good turnout of local boats led to a good mix of classic, silver and open boats together with a wide range of experience. With light variable winds and the mix of handicaps any lead was difficult to maintain and winners were hard to predict. Locals Toby and Maxine Cooper in 3705 and visitors Neil Bartholomey and Ed Connellan (Middle Nene SC) in the immaculate wooden 2700 both finished the weekend on equal points with the locals taking first place. Pip Hudson and Mick Musgrave were third. The weekend was sponsored by the local New River Brewery, their special beers being gratefully received throughout the fleet.

The fourth meeting in early July was held on the tidal waters of the River Alde, hosted by the newly reformed FF fleet at Aldeburgh SC where 7 local boats were joined by 8 visitors. Saturday racing at high tide took place upriver from the clubhouse on tidal flats but only two races were possible before the wind died. Sunday saw a further two races held down river, a change of tide between the two making for unpredictable conditions. Pip Hudson with Steve Stewart made an impressive start, leading the way throughout the first race. Both locals and visitors strengthened the challenge throughout the remaining races but Pip and Steve were victorious overall, with Datchet’s John Hanson and Helen Selden (3954) in second place and locals Duncan Mattyhew and John Chalker (3844) third. The first silver/classic boat was Aldeburgh’s Jerry and Charlie Young (3139). An excellent dinner on Saturday evening in the AYC clubhouse added to the enjoyment of the weekend.

South Cerney SC, as hospitable as ever, hosted the fifth round in early September, but unfortunately they weren’t able to sustain a good wind over the two days, with the four races completed on Saturday having to suffice. New visitors to South Cerney, Pip Hudson, this time with Mick Musgrave, competed out front against fellow Broxbourne sailors Bob Tate and Pete Comber. With two firsts and two seconds each it couldn’t have been closer, the winning trophy going to Bob and Pete owing to the better result in the last race. The rest of the fleet had more variable results but third place, and winning classic was 2700, Neil and Stuart Bartholomey from Middle Nene SC. All enjoyed a sociable Saturday evening in the bar.

Middle Nene SC open, due in early October, was beset with problems. Having had their access road washed away following heavy rains, the meeting was initially postponed until November as the final event in the series. With a newly laid road local sailors got back onto the water only to find excessively heavy weed so the postponed event had to be cancelled.

What was initially planned as the final open of the series was sailed at Chew Valley Lake SC. The locals were obviously confident in their very variable conditions with Ian Cadwallader and Dave Sweet (4055) taking four firsts out of the six races, Andy Bones and Josh Preater (3899) were a good second and visitors from Datchet Water SC, Michael Clapp and Howard Shawyer, finished third. The first classic was again that of Neil and Stuart Bartholomey in the now slightly less immaculate 2700, half the tiller having been lost in the final race. As the rescheduled Middle Nene open was still expected at this time series trophies were not presented.

With three opens to count for the series there were six qualifying boats and I am happy to say that Broxbourne sailors excelled with three out of the top four places going to them. A clear winner with a very impressive 2 first places and a second was Pip Hudson (3889) and his selection of crew, Alice, Mick and Steve. The new STS overall winner’s trophy was presented to Pip at Broxbourne SC. Winning classic boat and second place overall was Neil and Stewart Bartholomey in 2700. Bob Tate and Peter Comber (4051) were third overall. Second classic and fourth overall were Brian Turner and Jackie Burns (3031) from Broxbourne. Simon and Alistair Cooper (Bewl Valley SA, 4041) greatly enjoyed four of the open weekends, finishing fifth overall. Partly because of the cancelled final event there was unfortunately no Silver boat qualifier although a mention should be made of John Harvey and Tim Greaves from South Cerney SC who both sailed at three opens but in two different silver boats (3359 and 3268). A full table of results can be seen on the FF website.

It was generally thought that the expanded series has proved to be very successful and it is planned to be held unchanged in 2020. Dates for this are being finalised and will be available  soon on the website.

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