Saturday dawned sunny and calm for the Classic and Vintage sailors who made their way to Clywedog. By lunchtime there was a light breeze, ideal for a cruise. A race start sent the boats spreading out up the lake and before the fastest boats reached the mark, a hooter had everyone turn and cruise leisurely whilst watching the osprey soaring overhead through the winding long drowned valley for about two miles to the head of the sailing area. Even the Flying Fifteens were able to moor to the grassy bank and other boats pulled ashore for tea and coffee supplied by the committee boat. After the “picnic” we re-embarked in a freshening breeze and returned to the clubhouse and main sailing area where there was some photo-shot practice, notably by Julian single-handing the Flying Dutchman from the wire.
Commodore Lorraine and her helpers cooked an excellent meal after which Keith hosted a quiz (collected from newspapers) which was won by the A (Albacores) Team of Nigel, Sue, Pat and Sandy, assisted by two Duke of Edinburgh instructors visiting the club.
Sunday again started calm and sunny and the first race repeatedly saw boats drawing out a lead, only to lose it as they were becalmed and others caught up then to be slowed themselves before a puff of wind restarted the process. The Flying Dutchman with a local crew led throughout with Keith & Rodney in the Flying Fifteen behind ahead of Nigel Osborne & Sue in their classic wooden Albacore followed by the chasing pack. Finally, Keith was overhauled by Alan Williams’ Finn and Nigel & Sue’s Albacore to end in a close finish on the line with three other boats which was won by Chris & Lois Barlow sailing Merlin 16, Gently, originally designer Jack Holt’s own boat and which won this race 63 years after first winning the Merlin Nationals.
The wind had strengthened by the time lunch was finished and conditions were perfect. Race Officer Mick Edwards took the course further up the lake and ran an excellent race led again by Julian in the Flying Dutchman who was unable to pull far enough away from Keith’s Flying Fifteen who couldn’t get away from the chasing pack. After three laps racers heading to the finish line were treated to the sight of the Race Officer, back turned as he photographed the osprey hovering overhead. His less distracted team finished the boats to give a win for Giles & Kate Penfold in a beautiful 1965 Wayfarer.
A strengthening wind and some other commitments saw a depleted turnout for the third race. Again Julian’s Dutchman led from the start but this time pulled out a winning lead, with a close battle for second between Keith’s Flying Fifteen and Sandy & Pat in the grp Albacore who were unable to get far away from Peter Jackson’s Flying Fifteen and Giles & Kate in the Wayfarer.
The day was completed with another excellent dinner from Lorraine.
Monday was grey with stronger winds and those who sailed found the shifty, gusty conditions challenging. Having reached the start line, Peter & Jon Rawson in the Flying Fifteen decided it was too much and retired as did Julian in the Dutchman, tea-bagging an inexperienced crew. The stability of the Flying Fifteen took Keith into the lead followed by Giles in the Wayfarer, now crewed by Dean and Sandy & Pat trailed behind, fighting the 180 degree shifts and huge gusts. The gybe mark at “Capsize Corner” led to several chicken gybes as racers tacked round for safety. On the final lap the Flying Fifteen’s mainsheet traveller parted company with the boat and Keith & Rodney retired to leave Giles & Dean a clear win some minutes ahead of Sandy & Pat. However the Wayfarer’s rudder then snapped off as he tacked home and the casualty was towed in.
Overall the Wayfarer of Giles & Kate was the clear winner, having sailed well all weekend, followed by Sandy & Pat in the Albacore and Julian in the Flying Dutchman.
All enjoyed the hospitality of Clywedog and would like to thank Lorraine, Keith, Mick and all the team who made us so welcome.