Day 1 Saturday
With some of the fleet feeling slightly worse for wear after Friday night’s soirée at Nigel Grogan’s to celebrate his birthday, twenty Squibs lined up on the start to once again form the biggest fleet. It was typical Burnham style- a running start and variable conditions from drifting to fully hiking; sun and rain.
Early leaders Surprise (760) and Lady Penelope (819) at the first mark headed towards the north shore to escape the tide but Trophoblast (761) and Humphrey (823) tacked into the middle of river and into a favourable breeze to lead at the next mark with Chequemate (157) in hot pursuit. In very changeable conditions over the next loop of the course Humphrey overhauled both Trophoblast and Chequemate to win. The second planned race of the day was abandoned, given the lack of time to complete before the 5 o’clock time limit.
So celebrations for Micky Wright’s birthday started early and we went on dancing in the RBYC to the early hours.
Day 2 Sunday
More hangovers all round and it was clear that surviving the social programme was going to be a marathon and worse still there were two races scheduled for the day!
Once again a westerly medium breeze meant a running start to Pinto buoy on south shore against a foul tide. Most of the fleet went out on a Starboard gybe to the south shore to beat the tide only to see Festina Lente (678) and Electra (709) hug the north shore to arrive at the first mark a country mile ahead. With a foul tide leg across to Holiwell the two leaders stuck to the shortest distance while the following pack hugged the south shore before crossing the tide to cut down there lead. Lady Penelope rounded 3rd trying to chase down the leaders heading into the Roach...
Quote of day from David Mellard (Electra) “It was like being hunted down by a pack of rabid dogs”. Lady Penelope caught the leaders coming out of the Roach with a quick kite hoist and a dive off to the east shore out of the tide and was second behind Festina Lente at Redward for a long beat home. Lady Penelope finally managed to overtake a few hundred metres from the line despite George Talboys’ covering tactics. Meanwhile Spoof (811) and the rabid pack had swallowed up Electra leaving them in 7th.
Race 2 of the day saw Lady Penelope slip past Trophoblast on last beat to win with Chequemate 3rd.
Social of the evening was the legendary cocktail party at the Joneses (Tombo 21) followed by a band at the RCYC.....another quiet night!
Day 3 Monday
Hangovers now rife through the fleet (is rocket fuel an ingredient of a Manhattan?)
Micky Wright was now in the mode of 'point the boat at the mouth of the river and hope for best'! Another foul tide running start to Clarks on the south shore so most of fleet headed to north shore (lessons learnt from previous day!) however Surprise, Whirlin' Dervish (812) and Brutus (862) spotted two ferrets climbing Canewdon church spire and being locals they knew that this meant the south shore would pay.... which it duly did and they had a massive lead.
Meanwhile, series leader Lady Penelope was OCS and having returned to the start line also headed to the south shore also allowing them to catch up the pack and the boats in contention for the weekend. Duncan and Gina in Surprise led to the finish with Brutus 2nd. Micky had now woken up a bit and just managed to catch Whirlin' Dervish (with guest driver from Flying Fifteens Justin Waples) on the beat into the line. Lady Penelope recovered to 5th (using a get out of jail free card) to win the David Eagling Trophy for the Bank Holiday weekend point’s series from Spoof.
The Claret award went to Carl Anderson for head-butting the mainsail headboard square between the eyes.
Day 4 Tuesday
Start of the mid week series and the fleet reduced to 12 boats with many crew changes and a couple of new faces appearing. It was Micky’s day for self destruct after a heavy night with stand-in crew Deano.... they never made it onto the boat and consequently scuppered their mid-week series. It was also the start of the Champagne Series for the ladies arranged by the Squib fleet.
Once again a running start meant debating which shore to negotiate, consequently like lemmings, most of the fleet went to the previous day’s favoured south shore.... oops! Humphrey, Guy Fawkes (72) and What’s the Story (779) disappeared into distance on the north shore.
Humphrey (Robert and Tracy) were in a league of their own and did a horizon job winning the race and the first bottle of champers for Tracy comfortably. Guy Fawkes had a solid 2nd with Phil’s wife Marion crewing and Lady Penelope just managed to overhaul What’s the Story (guest crew Chris Aldred is a bloke so they weren’t in contention for the champers) to nick 3rd with Jackie now crewing.
Evening entertainment was Malcy and Jackie’s garden party with Charles Tucker’s (Outcast 685) Chorizo van for food. The last person left in the early hours having drunk the place dry except for the Capri Suns! Micky was nowhere to be seen.... re-hab at home we believe!
Day 5 Wednesday
Hangovers had now crept into IRC Class 1 too after the party! No wind was order of day so we were all towed to the start which resulted in the first nomination for the Bull trophy....Chris Aldred is well known for cruiser racing and so should be able to tie knots but apparently not as, while the fleet was being towed, Lady Penelope suddenly dropped off the back of What’s the Story...
Racing was abandoned at 12.45 and the fleet headed home for a quiet evening.
Day 6 Thursday
Medium breeze coming from the East, perfect.....except we were heading West and up river from Crouch YC start line so another running start! Lady Penelope was leading on the first loop near Canewdon but tacked too early for Blackpoint ‘ she let Spoof overtake. Spoof held the lead to the finish and Lady Penelope managed to fend off Humphrey despite the fleet of Royal Burnham ODs making part of the beat home interesting! This gave Jackie Tracey the day’s bottle of champagne as first lady.
Chris Aldred announced himself as the new owner of Whirlin' Dervish after some enjoyable racing with Simon Sanders.....Simon announced himself as a grandfather to Harry, so time to celebrate in the early evening when Robert and Tracy were excellent hosts at their big boat launching party. The wine flowed freely so much so that Tracy was spotted filling Andy Carley’s pint glass to brimming whilst saying,"It's all got to go!”.
Some Squibbers then stumbled to the White Harte for dinner and an early-ish night.
Day 7 Friday
Aches, pains, blood shot eyes and memory loss now seem the norm, even for those under the age of 60. Duerr Trophy day and a westerly breeze, but not much of it, and another running start.
This time it was on the turn of the tide with first mark Greenward before turning into the Roach. Humphrey lead from Guy Fawkes but coming out of the Roach, Trophoblast flew downwind against the tide to take the lead towards Pinto. However on arriving just before the mark the wind switched off and the fleet compressed to almost line abreast and we were joined at the same time by the RBOD fleet. Chris Goodfellow crewed by Piers Stanbury held his nerve and as the breeze filled in rounded first heading back up the Roach. Lady Penelope hugged the outside berth but, in shallow waters with the Squibs and RBODs all blanketing each other, sailed around the outside rounding second.
After much exchanging of pleasantries and a bit of bumper boats between the two fleets, Spoof rounded 3rd and Humphrey 4th. These positions remained unchanged in the trip to Roach buoy and back to Pinto, which should be re-named Squib Tale (of woe or joy) after the week’s antics. The fleet was then sent directly to the finish.
Trophoblast had a clear lead (1 min 48 secs) but Lady Penelope had to keep Spoof between themselves and Humphrey to win the Mid Week Points. Despite Roberts’s attempts to sail low for the line and Micky tacking out to the left these position remained the same giving Lady Penelope the Mid Week Points with Humphrey runner up.
During this Electra, crewed by Nicky Mellard, slipped into 6th and in normal Burnham tradition, (to quote Phil, “ No thieving Essex girl can run off with more than one bottle!”) she duly won the day's champers.
Lady Penelope with Andy Ramsey also won the week’s point’s series with Jackie Tracey sharing crewing duties, with Spoof Micky Wright crewed by Chris Dunn as runners up.
Another Burnham tradition is that on receiving the Duerr Cup during Friday evening’s Squib dinner, the winner has to speak for the length of the winning margin and Chris Goodfellow didn’t let us down by reciting an old Tucker joke. The evening was finished off with some good old Squibbers dancing ....much to the amazement of the younger generation also present.
Day 8 Saturday
Survived another week!
Medium southwesterly breeze and brilliant sunshine was order of day for the Burnham Week Bowl race. Greenward was the first mark before beating into Roach and Guy Fawkes lead from Spoof and Nenuphar (618) helmed by Andy Carley with a rare crewing appearance from teetotaller Mel Titmus who couldn’t even say she was after the champagne! With a close beat Spoof overtook Guy Fawkes with places changing several times for third between Surprise, Nenuphar, Chequemate and Lady Penelope. Lady Penelope just rounded 3rd in pursuit of the leaders for another loop in the Roach river.
Eventually Phil and Marion buckled allowing Malcolm and Jackie to steal 2nd and close the gap to Micky and Chris. The turning mark Holiwell gave a mainly port tack beat home and Spoof put an aggressive cover on Lady Penelope to ensure there was no way past to win the Final Saturday. Guy Fawkes sauntered home in 3rd and Marion gladly claimed the final bottle of champagne.