By Michael Brigg.

The Bosham Classic Week-end has been well reported elsewhere by David Henshall and in spite of not getting to the start on the ‘Windy Saturday,’ and being late over the line for all three of Sunday’s races, David has managed to put a very nice picture of Torment as a header for the article.

I feel I really should make a report of the week end from the point of view of a traveller.

The CVRDA presence was sadly very small. Michael4 was there offering support, but sadly had no boat having been unable to master a ‘backward tow’ with his Merlin, and Mr Ben from Thames made an appearance in Twinkle the Albacore, but after Saturdays excitement was off games for the rest of the regatta with a major Leak. (See later…) I had hoped Roger might come and lend some planking support but the Weather forecast and prospects of a large rough tough Bosham presence kept him away, saving the latest Hornet for a less testing launching.

Even though I have been planning all year to get to Bosham I found myself over committed to other things over the year. Torment has been regularly passed over and I find myself ever more willing on the passing days leading to retirement.

So I got Torment over to the Church Meadow on the Friday morning with a grand total of 3 practice outings, all of which had been in less than Force 3, and took a pole position by the slip. The plan was to arrive on Saturday bright and early to rig up in the company of other Faffers. The day dawned exactly as the forecast predicted with driven mizzle penetrating any non waterproof garment with the same wetting coefficient as 50:50 Varnish and White Spirit. (And in the same manner also finding any holes in other protective cover.

Faffage being out of the question then, even to a seasoned campaigner, after stepping my mast I retired to the tent for the briefing. A “Front” due to pass over at @ 12.30 and set to moderate the worst of the fine and not so fine rain and wind: 1½ hour postponement. At this point the rush for the breakfast counter got the better of several sailors who knew what they were up to, and I found myself at the back of a line of helms and crew. It was a position with which I would develop a familiar relationship.

Like a distant elephant, the time for launching dawdled slowly over the horizon, and in the same manner I suddenly found that many sailors were quite suddenly dressed up and ready to go. Quickly I stepped the mast in a record time and got into my wet gear. The wind was still rattling the bar window panes, and the gulls as usual were flying in reverse gear. With the abiding thought “Never been out in this sort of weather” I prayed that things would moderate to the predicted 15Kn GUSTS, and trotted down the slip with my “new” sails (well, modern materials) gifted me from an old pro who felt they were “Too flat” but “easy to use in heavier weather!”

The sails went up with a lot of hard winding of the barrel winch and the foresail unfurled. So far so good….. …When you step mast in the rain there is a tendency to hurry. At this point I discovered that the lever on the barrel kicker had fallen the wrong side of the mast foot and could only be recovered by unstepping the mast which could only be done by dropping the sails, and also un-pinning the shrouds!! In a Force 4-5 with gusts, this is a difficult job. If you are not careful you can drop the split pin the fixes the shroud. When you re hoist in a hurry, you can put a jib hank on “upside down.”

If you are now behind the fleet, most of the Trolley assistants disappear. Luckily I had the help of John Prentice’s daughter who was one of the army of helpful happy Bosham club members helping out the launch / beach party. She was delighted to hear that Aggamemnon was back in commission and told me she has box loads of photos. We chatted a bit while I waited for the wind to settle (it didn’t) so I then gathered courage to leap on board my craft with all the confidence of Pony club novice mounting up on mighty Bellerophon.

My first fetch whizzed across to to far side and things seemed to be going well. The tack came round and I crossed back. The second tack went through the wind, but my Sliding seat was still on the other side and I capsized…

A pattern ensued of capsizing each time I tacked. It being low tide in the crowded Bosham channel, I did not have the 50m of searoom I required for each tack. What I did learn was that it takes about 20seconds from one side to the other (at low tide.) Thus my progress down the channel proceeded with episodes of spine-tingling speed alternating with frequent capsizes and very blue language as bits of me would get wrapped in bits of mainsheet that I kept discovering in new places in the boat.

One hundred ways to capsize a Canoe… (Actually I might save that for another day.)

After @ 40 capsizes I could see the Fairway but then the wind took my favourite Cap (a blue Fat face) and I caught my foot on the tailing edge of the plate, snapping off a previous repair and as the wooden sliver floated away, it suddenly occurred to me that this wasn’t fun any more.

I capsized on the mud to get the mainsail down as a straight run home with full sail was out of the question. By now the wind had peaked at @ force 5 with vicious backing gusts blowing off the copse sheltering the Cobnor Point.

The halyard had jumped out of the luff track and the headboard of the sail was jammed. The camber inducing battens were pressed hard against a pre-tensioned pre-bent mast and the whole sail was determined to carry on sailing. A lot of furious pulling and swearing finally prevailed and under just foresail I cantered home. At the same speed as a retired Albacore under full rig!

I now know how fast this boat can go if I can learn to ride it!

Well we all know what had happened to the Albacore and a run of conversation on the facebook site I think sums it all up nicely.

I wasn’t able to stay for the evening rituals, but I am quite certain the quality was as ever, excellent with the usual quality of “hard tack” music and beer. So on to Sunday with the contrast of a huge cloudless, windless sky that was reflected in an equally mirror like calm sea.

The battle to the start this time lay in finding brief zephyrs. Today I opted for the original Ratsey sails, which though of great beauty, sadly had rather less drive. Adjusting the sail while hoisting. I annoyingly managed to break another Top batten (the art with old, wooden , full length battens is, DO NOT, pull on the leach of the sail… ever! Except by using a Kicker / Mainsheet to spread the load through the sail.)

I ( this time) dawdled to the start, struggling to stay ahead of even the Tideways, but picked up a breeze in the fairway, and managed to cross the line @ 4minutes after the start gun with a view of several 18 footers carving up the wind ahead.

By the windward mark I just about caught the fleet, with wind now filling in to a steady Force 2 with variable shifty gusts. Less than ideal for a rusty, barely balanced single hander. Even in these conditions, a capsize is easy, especially if you’ve never gybed before.

And so a pattern emerged of relative pace, terrible pointing ability and lacklustre downwind performance (we are talking here of the helm)

I headed for the Mud to capsize and tighten my jib halyard, and as I crossed back to the start for race 2, realised the fleet had already departed. More catch up.

A “bit of a collision” meant I had to capsize on the mud again to check for damage (None I am glad to say) but again I saw the fleet depart without being able to contest a start, and then accidentally missed the ODM as I lost control in a gust.

In a way I was glad not to have been too involved in the racing as I did not want to risk the boat, and the collision I had reminded me how easily these come about. On a reach or a beat the canoe is blisteringly fast, and many conventional dinghies will not consider you to be close enough to watch for on a Port/starboard challenge. Like a potent motorbike you may be in the right, but you must constantly ride defensively.

On reflection the fact I was able to get nearly a mile upwind against tide and a gusty, adverse strong breeze on the Saturday in spite of cramped water and closely moored boats was pleasing and encourages me to believe I will be able eventually to get this boat out in more exiting conditions and can control it. The boat really needs room however. Oxford (Farmoor), Bosham (at high water or launching from the Cobnor or Itchenor sites) Roadford, Bewl Bridge and perhaps Aldeborough make the best sense as things stand.

Lots to look forward to next year!!!.

The Entry List.

Entry nr                Timestamp         Helm first name                Helm surname  Class      Sail number        Age of

boat       Boat name          Hull        Boat length         Club

2              1              25/08/2016 12:25:01        PETER    SHAW   Tideway               220         1968       BAR TAILED

GODWIT              Wood    12′          Bosham SC

3              2              26/08/2016 13:23:55        Peter     Lacey     Christchurch Dragonfly  D6           68 years

(Built 1948)         Charm   Wood    14ft        Bosham SC

4              3              26/08/2016 14:16:58        Chris      Turner  Fireball 6              54 years               Six of the

Best       Wood    16′ 2″     Hayling Island SC

5              4              26/08/2016 22:50:19        Gordon Currey  National 18

Classic   107         1951       Dandy   Wood    18′          Bosham SC

6              5              28/08/2016

22:10:03               Ian          Simpson               Enterprise           7830       1961       Sundance            Wood    13’3″      Tudor SC

7              6              29/08/2016 19:53:10        David     Macfarlane         Yachting World Day

Boat       597         1985       YELLOW PERIL    GRP       14′          Bosham SC

8              7              29/08/2016 20:58:32        David     Morley Yachting World Day Boat               624         26 years

old          Clementine        GRP       14′          Bosham SC

9              8              31/08/2016

14:37:54               Guy        Farnsworth         Tideway               486         10yrs     Flicka     GRP       12′          Bosham SC

10           9              31/08/2016 21:48:42        Francis  Griffiths               Bosham One

Design  ?              ?              Teal        Wood    ?              Bosham SC

11           10           01/09/2016 14:29:01        Matthew             Gray      National 18

Classic   18/316  1974       Ocatillo Wood    18′          Bosham SC

12           11           02/09/2016

14:48:29               Chris      Hitchings              Tideway               TW410  1994       Trixi        GRP       12′          Bosham SC

13           12           02/09/2016 16:55:45        Will         King       Devon Yawl        53           1978       Foudre

Bleu       GRP       18ft        Bosham SC

14           13           02/09/2016 17:26:22        Howard                MacKenzie Wilson           Kittiwake 14       KW

14           10-Years               Firebrand            GRP       14-ft      Bosham SC

15           14           02/09/2016 17:37:51        Izzie       Lee         Chichester Scow               51           14!!        Happy

Bunny   GRP       11’5”      Bosham SC

16           15           02/09/2016

17:40:17               Findlay  Carol      Tideway               TW501                  Rainbow              GRP       12′          Bosham SC

17           16           02/09/2016 21:39:03        Neil        Clatworthy          Merlin

Rocket/Winder 3161       1979       ORAC    Wood    14ft        Thorney Island SC

18           17           03/09/2016 16:19:16        Barry     Colgate Yachting World Day Boat               DB 674  3

years     Liquid Luck          GRP       14′          Bosham SC

19           18           03/09/2016 21:13:50        Simon   Veysey National 18

Classic   253         55           Thumbelina        Wood    18′          Bosham SC

20           19           04/09/2016 09:23:52        Stephen               Gray      Fairey Falcon      1              57           Titania   Other    16′

6”            Bosham SC

21           20           04/09/2016 10:27:25        Ian          Wheeler              Tideway               493         10

years     Razzle   GRP       12′          Bosham SC

22           21           04/09/2016 10:48:02        Michael                Brigg      International 10Sq m Canoe. (One

design Nethercott)         K102      49 years               Torment              Wood    18′          Stokes Bay, and CVRDA.

23           22           04/09/2016 14:59:47        Richard Watney                National 18

Classic   225         1956       Finola    Wood    18′          Bosham SC

24           23           04/09/2016 15:17:37        Will         Henderson         Firefly   2319       Built

1959       Gigi        Wood    12′          Itchenor SC

25           24           04/09/2016 16:45:16        David     Adams  One off ( CDB Slow )       11           Built 1928

-88yrs    Stormalong         Wood    16′          Bosham SC

26           25           04/09/2016 20:13:12        Ben        Davis     Devon

Yawl       168         1968       Westwind           GRP                       Bosham SC

27           26           04/09/2016 20:27:28        James   Vaughan              International

14           K935      46           SeaWitch             Wood    14           Weymouth

28           27           05/09/2016 07:57:33        Judy       Roberts                Yachting World Day

Boat       617                         FRIN      GRP       14′          Bosham SC

29           28           05/09/2016 10:52:35        Adrian   Weller   Torbay Minnow                19           60+

years     Pirana   Wood    16′          Bosham SC

30           29           05/09/2016 12:27:03        Chris      McRae  Devon Yawl        DY 179   37

years     Dragon GRP       18ft loa Bosham SC

31           30           05/09/2016 14:18:22        Brian      Hoolahan             National 18

Classic   368         26           Toucou Wood    18′          Bosham SC

32           31           05/09/2016

19:57:14               Ben        May       Albacore              1443       1962       Twinkle Wood    15′          Thames SC

33           32           05/09/2016 20:25:20        Tilly        Mattich Aldeburgh Lapwing         10           68           Sea

Swift      Wood    12’6″      Aldeburgh YC

34           33           05/09/2016 20:57:33        Steven  Board    GP14     8649       42

years     TIPSEA  GRP       14′          Bosham SC

35           34           05/09/2016 21:32:56        Doug     Branson               Chichester

Scow     CS1         25           Mimic    Wood    11’5″      Bosham SC

36           35           05/09/2016 21:48:12        Paul       Dewing Yachting World Day Boat               DB475   47

years (1969)       Flo          Wood    14′          Bosham SC

37           36           05/09/2016 23:24:07        Kenneth              Moore  Tideway               303         43

yrs.         DORIS   Wood    12′          Bosham SC

38           37           07/09/2016 11:22:44        Richard Stirrup  National 18

Classic   15           1938       Tinkerbelle         Wood    18′          Bosham SC

39           38           07/09/2016 21:02:30        Chris      Crocker Tideway               363         30 years

+/-          Annie    Wood    12′          Bosham SC

40           39           08/09/2016 21:02:33        Tom       Reid       National 18 Classic           133         about 70 years

old          Theorette           Wood    18′          Bosham SC

41           40           09/09/2016 16:46:13        John      Fildes    Aldeburgh

Lapwing               18           69           Kingfisher            Wood    12″6″     RYA

42           41           09/09/2016 17:07:11        James   Hewitt  Yachting World

Dayboat               676                         Mallory GRP       14ft        Island Cruising Club

43           42           09/09/2016 17:45:47        Paul       Sheldrick              Yachting World Day

Boat       546         1973       Alanna  Wood    14′          Thorney Island

44           43           10/09/2016 00:40:10        Stephen               Tomlinson           Jollyboat              83           1956       Jolly

Fox         Wood    18ft        Bosham SC





The Results all here:-


Slow Fleet:


Medium Fleet.


Fast Fleet. (Including Me in Torment)