George Blanchard and Mike Codd report on the

11th Wayfarer International Championships * August 12-17, 2001

Hosted by East Down Yacht Club, Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland.

It was late June when Mike & Darlene were able to obtain the official forms to enter Championships just before the deadline of June 30th. Flight & accommodation arrangements were booked and Ralph Roberts, UKWA Publicity Officer and WIC Rep., confirmed he would arrange for pick up at the Airport. We owe many thanks to Ralph who was a great help in arranging our accommodations and other aspects of our trip before we left, and during our stay in Ireland.

Sat. Aug.11 We arrived at Belfast Airport around noon to be met by Ralph and Alan Bell, a member of the E.D.Y.C. This was a nice surprise and certainly appreciated after a tiring flight. It was decided to go to the club first, some 40 miles away and what a great surprise to arrive and see rows and rows of travel trailers, vans and tents, throughout the club premises. In addition, rows of boat trailers all stored neatly with identification tags attached. Cars were also located in specified areas.

After parking, we went directly to the race office on the 2nd floor of the Club House to register. We received a warm welcome by staff members. Anne Walker, in charge of registration, soon had us signed in and presented with a kit of data covering social, racing programs, boat/dolly storage, identification tags and instruction data. We located W75, a Mk. l wooden Wayfarer, which Martin Collen, UKWA Chief Measurer, had arranged to be transported with W 88 owned by his son, Martin Paul, for us to sail in this event.

We soon had W75 rigged and readied for Sunday’s practice race. We then visited the huge tent, approximately 125’ x 50’, that could seat around 250 persons. At one end was a bar and the other had an outside catering service that provided buffet lunches & dinners during the day.

Mike & I were busy meeting up with many of the UK and SWA teams that we had met at former championships. The four teams from Denmark had shipped their boats in a container. Unfortunately the transport truck was unable to fit down the one-way winding road from the main highway to the club and the container had to be dropped off at a local sports field. Boats were then transported to the club on trailers. 

By late afternoon, Mike & I had been up for over 36 hours, and Alan Bell dropped us off at the Denvir’s Bed & Breakfast Hotel in Down Patrick - about a 20 minute ride from the club. This hotel - previously an Inn - was originally built in 1642 and updated to provide an excellent place to stay with fine meals and a busy pub. 

Down Patrick is a renowned historical town, which attracts visitors from all over the world, so we were very delighted to be booked into this accommodation. Our large room on the 3rd floor overlooked a fair portion of this old historical area.

Jet lag hit us around 6 pm and we hit the roost. Unfortunately George was awake around 1 am, and that was that for him. He was just unable to get settled down thereafter. Anyway, we had breakfast at 9 am with Dick Harrington and Margie from the US. Dick had just finished sailing over from Scotland to the East Down Yacht Club with well known UKWA cruising enthusiast, Dick Tyrrell. We were picked up around 10 by Fergus, a member of EDYC, and taken to the club. Soon we had the boat rigged for the practice race.

The weather was great - around 19C, and we took off to the race area some 3 miles from the Club on the Strangford Lough which is connected to the Irish Sea by a narrow channel.

The race got underway with a nice sea breeze and we realized that it was going to be a tough week competing with some 80 competitors. We soon found out that we needed to borrow rear bench seats if George was going to sail without ending up on the floor. So, when we returned to the club, we were able to borrow a set from Alan Bell. Mike taped them into the boat and we had no more problems.

Sunday evening we were invited to the Club bar to meet with the Commodore, Directors, Wayfarer Class representatives and the local Mayor and her husband. Drinks were being served as everyone enjoyed the hospitality and relaxed atmosphere and excitement of this gathering prior to going over to the large tent for the evening program. George presented Commodore, Jay Colville, with the TS&CC burgee. Jay reciprocated by presenting George with their club plaque, a very pleasant surprise. Since then George has had the plaque labeled to remember the event, before displaying it in our Club.

The tent was jammed to capacity for the official opening of the championships. After an excellent speech, the Mayor presented the EDYC Commodore with their financial support towards the regatta operations, which was certainly appreciated. A six-piece band then entertained with their enjoyable Irish music. Mike & I were still pretty tired and we were able to get a ride back to our hotel by Paul.

Monday morning, unsure of how we were to get to the club, we got a ride from Elsie and her daughter, Leslie, who were staying at the hotel with us. We soon had the boat rigged and ready for the first 2 races of the series. We had to leave early so that we would have time for the 2-hour sail to get to the race area by the scheduled start of the 1st race at 11:00 hrs. It was the best racing conditions by far, and we enjoyed our racing, placing 57 & 61 out of 82 boats. It was a long day and, after having our dinner at the tent, we got a lift back to the hotel from Paul.

Tuesday, we were again taken to EDYC by Elsie who then had to return to pick up Leslie, after a late night of partying . When we arrived at the club, it appeared that the wind had increased in velocity and the forecast was Force 4-5 for race 3, so we decided to miss this race and go out for race 4 which the forecast said might be around Force 3-4. 

We went out and were able to make it in time to start the 4th race. We had a good start but the wind sure started to increase in strength and by the time we were at the lay line to Mark 1, it was Force 5 and getting stronger. The horizon was also showing signs of a brewing storm so we decided to head back to the club. We were right. The gusts increased to 30 plus knots, and Mike had to take over the helm and I became the talking crew. We had just made it to the launching ramp when the heavy rain came down. We got soaked by a rain that continued for most of the day and evening. 

That night, we attended the short WIC meeting in the Club Lounge to review regulations and class rules. I presented Ralph Roberts with a proposal to run the 12th Championships at the Port Credit YC on Lake Ontario just west of Toronto in 2004. The date was suggested to be around the end July and early August, to facilitate attendance by UK & SWA competitors, who are affected by their school schedules. George & Mike agreed to finalize and report back. Keith and Helen Proctor gave us a lift back to our hotel, which we appreciated. 

Wednesday - one race was scheduled with light winds forecast. This resulted in our best race placing, 47th. For dinner, Martin Collen, owner of W75 along with his partner Liz Motherwell, treated us at the famous Dufferin Pub. Afterward we all enjoyed the three-piece 50’s rock band back at the club before motoring back to Down Patrick. All in all, a most enjoyable evening.

Thursday - again light winds were forecast for race 6 and everyone had a tough time making headway against the incoming tide. We got stranded near the weather mark when the wind died and tide picked up. After trying to beat some 30 boats behind us in the same situation and tacking back & forth for an hour and a half, we packed it in and, along with many other competitors, got towed back to the club. Some 12 boats waited out the wind and got around the mark and finished downwind to the shortened course finish line. We got a lift back to the hotel by Alan Bell.

Friday - Last day, race 7, winds again light and fluky. After 3/4 of an hour, the race committee cancelled the race and everyone was towed back to the club. As soon as we arrived back at the club, a nice breeze came up. Anyway, it was a disappointment especially for the top competitors as both Mike McNamara and Ian Porter had tied with a total of 9 points each after dropping their worst race. 

The prizegiving took place that evening, followed by a 6-piece band that certainly was entertaining and well appreciated by the crowd who enjoyed the dancing. During the awards ceremony, Simon Wynn, UKWA Commodore, gave an excellent thank you speech on behalf of all the Wayfarer Associations to the East Down Yacht Club and its members. 

In a short break before the dancing, the Club ran an auction for the sale of items that had been donated by local businesses. They sold all the items with the funds going to the Royal Life Saving Association.

During the prizegiving George was awarded a beautiful painted picture of a Wayfarer with the sail number 80 on the sail. This picture was painted by Alan Bell and was awarded to George for being the only competitor who has sailed in all 11 Wayfarer Worlds and Internationals. George has made a brass plaque and attached it to the frame to honour the event. George conveyed his many thanks to Alan for such a wonderful painting.

Alan Bell & wife, Heather, took Ralph Roberts and us to their place in Lisburn about half-hour from Belfast Airport to stay the night. There we met their daughter, Rachael, and we thoroughly enjoyed their lovely country residence and hospitality. 

Saturday morning, Alan took Ralph Roberts and us to the airport for our flight back home. It was a great ending to a splendid week of meeting old friends and making many new ones, especially staff members of EDYC who made us welcome at their splendid facilities.

We would once again like to congratulate the East Down YC and their members for hosting the largest fleet of Wayfarers ever to participate in our Class International Championships since 1974.

George Blanchard & Mike Codd

(l to r) Co-Champions at Wayfarer Worlds XI: Ian Porter with Kevan Gibb and Mike McNamara with Simon Townsend
Penelope (W75) was kindly loaned to George Blanchard and Mike Codd by Martin Collen
and is here disguised as CAN80.
The burgee - plaque exchange: George Blanchard and Jay Colville, EDYC Commodore.
Mike Codd letters from the Worlds
George and Mike report on the Worlds
UKWA Commodore thanks our hosts
Poul Ammentorp's Worlds pics
2001 Worlds results