The Amazon team at the prizegiving in the Crouch Yacht Club. From left to right; Harry, Iona, Tony, Chuffy and Tom, also helped by numerous other crew for part of the week who couldn’t stay until the end, Duncan, Barry, Steve, Graham, Diane, Matt, Chris, Dan and Jamie. Thank you all for sailing with us.
Final results for Amazon at the Dabchicks SailEast over the weekend, with winds ranging from 8 to 18 knots on Saturday and gusts of 25 knots on Sunday. Three firsts in class won us class 2 for the weekend and also a third overall, our best result so far on the Blackwater. The trip back with Stewart helping me was a little wet with a 20 knot foul tide beat all the way from the Spitway to Burnham, but at least we were back in the safety of a marina before the gales over the last few days. Click on this link for the final Dabchicks results http://www.dabchicks.org/saileast.htm
So for the year, we won class 2 and were fourth overall in SailEast and in EAORA we were also fourth overall but second in class – not a bad year for the new boat. Can’t wait for next season.
Final Burnham week results after another great week’s sailing with everything from zero to 30 knots and clear blue skies to torrential rain. We won the Bank Holiday Weekend overall winning the Royal Thames Yacht Club Emmett Cup which is presented at the black tie prizewinners dinner in the club in Knightsbridge in November and it is always a great evening. Over the weekend the Burnham Team Trophy was run again this year and we just won with Mantra as our team-mate. We were runners up in the Mid Week Series to Inn Spirit, winning the Watson Cup and we also won the Peter Jennings Trophy for the best IRC result for the week over 7 days without discard. Unfortunately we didn’t win the Town Cup, but were 6th, only 1 min 45 seconds from first place, so very very close – will have to try harder next year. So not a bad week in all.
Photos by Rod Tinsley
Another successful weekend for Amazon as this time we joined the Haven series race from Harwich to Burnham with 19 starters and decided to race two-handed, just Ollie and myself. The race started in about 13 knots from the south-west which gave a beat start from the Harwich breakwater, with Amazon breaking away right from the gun and leading the fleet to the windward mark of Medusa, laying it perfectly in one with most of the fleet having to put in a short tack. We then flew the code zero on the 5 mile leg to the NE Gunfleet and then it was back on the wind all the way to Burnham, but now with a fair tide. With the wind dying near the entrance to the river we slowed, having to change down to our No.1 and then back to our No.2 just before the finish when the wind came back gusting to 20 knots. The light winds scuppered our chances of winning overall, with Russell Walker’s Baltic 37 Cosmic Dancer taking a well deserved win. We were second overall and the first two-handed boat – not a bad result for our first offshore two-handed race, maybe I will be doing a few more.
Photos taken by Danny Walton from ‘Four Glory’ (click on each photo to enlarge)
From the Crouch Yacht Club website: On Sunday morning 7th August the fleet were started off Bradwell Creek at 9.30 am to race for the Clare Cup back to Burnham. Amazon had joined the fleet at Bradwell late on Saturday to be able to take part in the return race. Seven boats started with Mantra again hitting the line first, but with Elixir getting her spinnaker up quickest. There was a fast run past Bench Head and Eagle before the fleet began to harden up before Knoll to head towards the Wallet. Amazon were flying their Code Zero, and carried it much longer than the rest of the fleet, but consequently had to sail much lower than the rhumb line, having a few problems taking it down. Elixir was leading the fleet at this point, with Amazon second, Scaramouche third, and Quencher fourth. On the beat, Amazon and Elixir crossed tacks several times, before Amazon took the lead. Elixir were still close to Amazon, but a navigational error which meant she had to go back to pass Whitaker 7 on the correct side, costing at least a minute, which meant Amazon got away. Encore got through Mantra and then through Quencher. The fleet then sailed up river to finish at the Crouch Yacht Club. Amazon took line honours, with Elixir second. Scaramouche finished third on the water, followed by Encore. The heavens then opened, and a large squall passed through, with thunder too, and Quencher, Mantra and Polaris III came through torrential rain to finish. When Mantra were approaching the line, the wind headed and went light, and her and Polaris III finished the race in calm conditions.
On corrected time, Amazon won the Clare Cup, with Scaramouche second, Elixir third, and Polaris III fourth. Vice Commodore Sail, Phillip Harbott presented the trophy to Tony Merewether in the club after sailing, with all crews relieved to be ashore having sailed in 30 knot gusts to get home.
Great day on the water with a 50 mile downwind race in 20 knots from Levington to Ramsgate and we won!!!! Only by 9 seconds to Oystercatcher – the boat was flying.
For full report from Yachts and Yachting below:
This year’s Walker Challenge Cup race on 23rd July was a 50 mile downhill sprint from Harwich to Ramsgate rounding the Gunfleet, Longsand and Kentish Knock sand banks on the way. With all three classes starting together at 08.20 near the Harwich breakwater in a north-westerly 20 knot breeze, the fleet got away cleanly with Tony and Chuffy Merewether’s Sunfast 3200 ‘Amazon’ leading the fleet out of the harbour, until Richard Matthews in his Humphrey’s 54 ‘Oystercatcher XXVIII’ took over the lead after first gybing away from the fleet just after the start to find the deeper water offshore, while the rest of the fleet took the rhumb-line course to the first mark.
At Medusa the fleet qybed onto port on a fast reach, past the North East Gunfleet all the way to the Longsand Head buoy. Now with the right wind angle Tim Cross’ J92s ‘Upstart’ picked up her skirt and planed down the waves to catch Alan Bartlett’s Humphrey’s 36 ‘Inn Spirit’ and ‘Amazon’, who were still only a boat apart and by now ‘Oystercatcher’ was hull down to the rest of the fleet.
With another gybe at Longsand Head the fleet headed south to Kentish Knock with the wind now further aft and after a bad gybe ‘Upstart’ started to drop back from the leaders and further back Ray Althorp in his Sunfast 37 ‘Kahuna’ in his first EAORA race was still doing well and by now Russell Walker’s Baltic 37 ‘Cosmic Dancer’ was the back marker. With the tide now fair the fleet was speeding towards Ramsgate with ‘Oystercatcher’ topping out at 22 knots and ‘Amazon’ at 12 knots.
As ‘Oystercatcher’ approached Kentish Knock their A3 reacher blew out costing them considerable time while they took it down. Jason and Judy Payne James’ Dufour 45 ‘Heartbeat IV’ was also having problems with their spinnaker pole end fitting and then a big spinnaker wrap, eventually sending young Robbie Hooper up the mast twice to sort out their problems, before sheeting in hard to avoid going through the Thanet windfarm which was close to the rhumb-line course.
‘Amazon’ set her code zero which was ideal for these conditions, while ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Inn Spirit’ and ‘Upstart’ struggled to hold the course or sail in full control. ‘Amazon’s problems started at the East Brake buoy when the headsail jammed in the pre-feeder, half up and completely stuck, but with some slick crew work the No.3 was set instead just in time to round the buoy for the short 2 mile cross tide beat to the finish off the Ramsgate pierhead.
‘Oystercatcher’ finished in just over four hours with ‘Amazon’ one hour and three quarters later, which was just close enough for ‘Amazon’ to win the Walker Challenge Cup by just 9 seconds from ‘Oystercatcher’ and with ‘Upstart’ in third place.
At last I have the link to Jason’s really great video, which he has now published on YouTube, of the Sun Fast 3200 Amazon surfing down Heartbeat IV’s (Dufour 45) wake in this year’s Sunk Race to Holland in about 25 to 30 knots.
The first sequence is as Heartbeat IV comes through us to leeward (they started 10 minutes behind us) but just after they got through they did the most amazing broach and we then surfed through and it took another 20 minutes for them to pass us and that’s when the second sequence was taken, with us glued to their transom.
We surfed down Heartbeat IV’s wake for about 20 to 30 minutes and it really helped us to our class win and third overall for the Sunk Race. We covered the 90 miles from West Mersea to Ostend in just over 10 hours, unfortunately Oystercatcher XXVIII did it in 6 hours, but she is a 54 footer! The first 6 minutes are the best with lots of great shots of the new boat.
First inshore regatta for us on the new boat, so a big learning curve, but the crew handled it superbly and the results weren’t too bad either. We had 7 onboard for the weekend with me, Chuffy, Iona, Ollie, Stewart, Graham, George for the Saturday and John Parker, now from Onesails on the Sunday.
Friday was a very fast delivery trip from Burnham downwind in up to 34 knots and brilliant sunshine, with me, Ollie and Stewart, in just under 5 hours. delivery main and number four. Big smiles all the way.
Saturday was also a great sail in about 20 knots with the boat performing fantastically upwind, leading the class round the course and if it hadn’t been for my OCS in the second race we should have had three firsts in class, instead we scored 1, 4, 1 and won the Fox’s shield for the best result in class 2 for the day. Sunday unfortunately wasn’t quite so good with about 7 knots for the first race and about 11 knots for the scond race which is rather too light for us and although we led on the water at times we could still only manage a 4th and a 5th. So for the weekend we were third in class to a well sailed X-332 and a J80 and 10th overall.