GP14 Open meeting report

London and SE GP 14 Travellers series : Tollesbury SC Open 2015

The fourth round of the London and SE travellers series took place at Tollesbury SC and we were again very pleased to welcome all the visitors, many of whom have supported this event throughout its 10 year history. 8 visitors from the Welsh Harp SC, Papercourt SC and Frensham SC joined 8 local boats on the water. For once the gales had abated and the forecast was for light wind and a lot of rain! Race 1 started in a clearly dying breeze. Two locals: Richard Ham/Steve Browne followed by Phil Raynor/Jon Brookes were first around the windward mark, the wind then disappeared for a few minutes allowing Richard to consolidate a big lead. He then missed the upwind gate and in his enthusiam to get back unfortunately destroyed the spinnaker hoisting arrangements of his brand new boat. Meanwhile, some tricky tight reaches had let Richard Lord through into first place for a good win, with Phil hanging onto second.

By Race 2 the wind had filled in to a steady 10+ knots, the starboard end was extremely crowded and the inside boats did not have to give water and quite correctly squeezed out half the fleet which had to restart. Andy Wadsworth/ Helen Allen the winners proved they can get on in a boat too and led from the outset. The second leg of this race was a superb reach across the length of the fleet (local name for our sailing area) and was the highlight of the afternoon with many boats including James Ward/Richard Whitehill in close contention.

The predicted rain then started Race Officers George Barber and Will Porter reset the line and quickly sent us off up the South Channel towards the main Blackwater estuary. After a run across the entrance to Tollesbury we returned up the North channel with Richard Lord again in control ( he manages to win this event almost every year) The drizzle killed the wind and the beat home against a strong ebb in Woodrolfe creek was a test and would have added another interesting race to what already had been a very varied and eventful day. Fortunately, one of the rescue boats took the cooks- Sarah Barber and Sarah Porter in tow and we were certainly all ready for the excellent hot food they served up back in the club. After TSC’s Richard Ham home win last year our confidence was not rewarded, although Tessa Bartlet of the home club was the first lady.

See the GP14 website for the next events and there is always 2016 to look forward to here. As a ‘post script’ the famous Ricardo stayed on until Sunday and went for an Oyster fest at the Company shed in West Mersea, all went well until on the return sail a 25 knot gust capsized him and we decided he should sail back into the safety of Mersea Quarters, meanwhile Dan and I sailed back to Tollesbury and then returned to Mersea with his road trailer to collect the boat and see him on his way back to the big smoke. (I hope the oysters were worth it).

George Rogers