With bad weather forecast, it ws a small band of travellers who came to Banbury on the Bank Holiday Saturday to be welcomed with rolls and cake for lunch. A familiaristion race was held in the afternoon which saw MR507 open up a commanding lead of almostthe length of the lake and be unbeatable on the water or on handicap. As the rain started, we all retired to the clubhouse for the AGM and were then joined by more Banbury members for a club quiz evening with more delicious food and won by the CVRDA “Comodes” team of new and old commodores.

Sunday dawned wet with strong wind and with the wind set to increase it was decided to fit in two races before lunch. Several Merlin Rockets from their Vintage Wing joined the fleet and some Banbury club members, including a very well sailed Mirror 16 “Puff” (the magic dragon) who gave the Merlins a good challenge.

After the long hot summer, several were under-dressed for the cold wet weather and either retired to the showers for the second race or borrowed from lost property so a depleted fleet started the second race in even stronger and increasing winds and rain and several retired mid race from cold, weather fatigue  or gear failure.

After an excellent late lunch of game or vegetable casserole and puddings and cakes, no-one was eager for a third race in the worse conditions, including the race team, so racing was abandoned for the day, the Merlin Rocket Vintage wing prizegiving completed and the remainder of the afternoon spent chatting and relaxing in the comfort and warmth of the clubhouse with more cake!

By evening the rain cleared through allowing the planned barbecue to be cooked outside,although eaten indoors.

Monday brought a much better day, dry and with the wind starting starting strong and decreasing but allowing three good races to be held. The front of the fleet saw close friendly rivalry between three double handers, Merlin Rockets 1066 and 507 and Albacore 5198 whilst Daniel Ash sailed his Solo very consistently and steadily throughout.

The first race saw the Albacore get a good start and hold off 1066 for a while before losing, regaining and losing the lead a few times, resulting in 1066 finishing in front on the water but only by a few seconds which gave the Albacore (with a one point handicap advantage over the Merlins) a win with 507 a close third. Paul Jago managed to put his foot through the side tank of his Streaker, only to find that a chine had split and the boat filled up with water, ending his racing. Nessa, sailing a new-to-her OK had some issues with the rudder before she was able to settle to sailing. A local Minisail also joined the fleet.

The second race saw 1066 pull out a larger lead to take the race from the Albacore and 507.

After lunch and more cake, the Albacore was rather too keen at the start of the third race and ended up over the line and in the lighter conditions, 507 took the lead and held off 1066 to win the race. Just after the start Nessa’s OK mainsail was seen to gracefully drop down the mast as the halyard clip failed.

Overall Merlin Rocket 1066 took first place and first classic boat with Albacore 5198 taking second overall, first old boat and first “plastic” boat. Merlin Rocket 507 was third and the Solo of Daniel Ash a well earned fourth and he was also the only boat to complete all five races!

At prizegiving (with yet more cake!) the Wingnut award was contested between Chris Barlow for taking a boat successfully club raced all season, but deciding to change the mast and forgetting to put on a gooseneck, and Nessa for taking the CVRDA custom of bringing a boat never sailed before to the extreme by collecting it on the way (well, it is if you go from Huntingdon to Banbury via Oxford) and then entertaining us with contortions to fix the rudder and a graceful descent of the mainsail mid-race. A vote overwhelming awarded Nessa the (currently virtual) wingnut.

Thanks were given and must be re-iterated to the small but dedicated team at Banbury who, apart from exhorting us all to eat cake, gateaux and more cake, organised a friendly welcome with good racing and safety cover and lovely food and drink and entertainment.

Banbury 18 Results