The first of the Squib class Travellers' Trophy events took place at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham on Crouch, over the Bank Holiday weekend. Twenty boats from as far as the Isle of Wight and Yorkshire arrived for an unexpectedly blustery day, one with winds up to 30 knots.
Micky Wright and Chris Dunn, Spoof, led from start to finish in Race One coming from the committee boat and taking up the north shore out of the tide before getting the difficult lay line call across the river just right, setting the pattern for all four races on day one. Behind them Gerard Dyson and Tony Saltonstall, Alchemy, just crossed the line ahead of Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey in Lady Penelope.
The Grogans, Helmut Shöing II, proceeded to win the next two races back to back before a crash in Race Four on the start line put them and Owen Delaney and Tony Holman Firebird out of the race. With a steady force 6 blowing, the fleet was reduced to nine finishers as several other boats were damaged or decided that the club bar was a safer place to be, including the Rileys, Brimstone and the Coyles, Humphrey. Nick Tolhurst, just returning to the Squibs, and Richard Tucker, By the Lee mastered the conditions to win leaving Micky and Chris as overnight leaders.
Sunday's conditions were seasons apart with a gentle southerly leaving race officers Kim Allen and Edwin Buckley the challenge of setting inner trapezoid courses in the narrow confines of the River Roach.
Ian Gray and Ian Simons Chequemate won Race Five by a long way, proving expert at the short tide cheating, tacking up the shore. Behind them were Malcolm & Andy and Micky & Chris. The Grogans had a disaster with a 14th, but with two discards available if eight races were sailed, things were tight and open with almost half the fleet still having a chance to win.
Race Six was all about getting the start right, either out in the tide at the favoured end, or closer to the shore at the unfavoured committee boat end. It was a struggle to cross the line on starboard but the Grogans got pole at the pin end and went on to win by a long way with Mike Probert and Mel Titmus Pani Munta getting to grips with the conditions second just ahead of visitors Martin Harrison & Alex Porteous in Hussar.
The wind had now swung more to the south east making the beat very one sided and with only one place to start. The Grogans again got pole and went on to win from Ian Gray and Ian Simons ahead of Nick Tolhurst and Richard Tucker with class legend and father John Tucker observing proceedings from one of the several spectator boats.
The race area for the final race was moved out into the Crouch with four laps of a short course making starting and boat handling the key skills.
A general recall added to the pressure and the Proberts were black flagged. The Grogans got pole at the committee boat but were just crossed by the two Ians who had done the same at the pin end. The Ians just held on to win by a boat length from the Grogans with the very consistent Malcolm and Andy in third. Micky and Chris blew their chances with a poor last race 6th position.
Overall that left the Grogans the winners with a 4,1,1,1,1,2 scoreline ahead of Malcolm and Andy followed by Micky and Chris.
All four top boats in the Gold Fleet had the latest Hyde sails which appeared to show good pace across the extremes of the wind conditions, as did the top two in the Silver Fleet, Mike Bradley and Jools Briggs in Frodo followed by Simon Sanders and crew's What’s the Story, Probert and Dyson in 5th and 6th had Batts with Ian Gray with his own sails in 7th.
The weekend was rounded off with a prize giving dinner at the RCYC followed by dancing to the early hours of Monday morning.