2004 AEC Wayfarer Worlds
a Regatta report
by Uncle Al
Beautifully run AEC-Wayfarer Worlds XII
won by Ian Porter and Kevan Gibb, enjoyed by all

The 12th Wayfarer World Championships were most successfully hosted Aug. 1-7, 2004 by the Port Credit YC and the Mississauga SC just west of Toronto, Ontario. In cool summer weather but relatively warm Lake Ontario water, a fleet of 59 Wayfarers completed the planned series of nine races, all but two of which were powered by healthy hiking breezes. In addition to 35 Canadian entries which came from as far away as Vancouver, Thunder Bay and Fredericton,

There were also strong teams from the UK (17), Denmark (2), Ireland (2), the US (2) and our first-ever entry from the Isle of Man. With three and a half containers bringing 17 Wayfarers from England, Scotland and Ireland, only 5 entries needed to borrow boats.

As expected, the superb UK team of Ian Porter and Kevan Gibb gave the rest of us a gentle lesson in how it's done, counting 7 firsts as Ian took his fifth Worlds title in his last 8 attempts in a most decisive manner. In frequently shifty winds, the champions regularly worked their way through the fleet after conservative starts and low-risk strategy on the initial beats.

The fight for the remaining positions and glory was considerably more balanced as evidenced by the fact that no fewer than 17 crews managed at least one top five finish. The Waldringfield Sailing Club Wayfarer fleet on the River Deben on England's east coast brought its own container of six Wayfarers and underscored its stature as the strongest fleet in the Wayfarer racing world by placing 2-3-4, and taking 5 of the top 9 places.

The fine Danish team of Søren Jensen and Jesper Friis fell just one point short of cracking the top 5 in racking up one of the best Worlds finishes ever recorded in a borrowed boat. Taking the Bacardi Trophy as the best-placed Canadian Wayfarer were Al Schönborn and Marc Bennett who ended up in series 8th, while the speedy crew of Jay Colville and Ian Harley led the Irish contingent with a 10th-place finish. Top US team were Nick Seraphinoff with Joe Blackmore who ended 27th whereas the Isle of Man crew of John Dowling with Terry Holt piloted their borrowed Wayfarer to a solid 33rd among the 59 entries.

The racing weather:

Monday brought a typical Toronto area summer's day - sunshine, 25C and a southerly lake breeze of 10 to 12 knots - for our practice race windward-leeward of two sausages plus one more windward. Tuesday's pair of windward-leewards got off into another S breeze of 10-15 knots in 25C sunshine. As the first race wore on, the winds weakened to around 5 knots by the finish. After a brief lunch break, race 2 got off in about 12 knots under increasing clouds. About half-way up the first beat the wind began to do strange things: First, the right side got a great shift and wonderful pressure as though the NW winds of a front were coming in. Where we were, in the middle, we saw a strong W breeze gust in - one that was strong enough to require full vang/kicker. This new wind tacked us onto starboard and we roared along the lay line - for about 30 seconds! Then our wind died almost completely. After this, a light breeze appeared randomly in various parts of the course. In the end, the few boats coming in along the port lay line got just enough extra wind to round the windward and offset marks and to disappear on the strength of a surprisingly strong Lake Ontario current towards the leeward gate. The vast majority of the fleet spent the next half-hour in a frustrating attempt to find enough bits of wind to overcome the current and round the marks. Ultimately, the RC shortened after two legs.

Wednesday - slated to give us a pair of Olympic triangle courses - dawned cloudy and cool (20C) with a robust northerly breeze that would last for three days and vary from 10 to 20+ knots. Our admirably patient RC tested the unsettled winds for over two hours before getting off our only race of the day in 10 to 15 knots. Thursday - a windward-leewards day - saw the RC getting in three races to get us back on schedule. Strong overnight winds had left a 6-foot SE swell on Lake Ontario which soon became overlaid by the chop resulting from 10 to 15 knots of cool, gusty northerly under mostly cloudy conditions. As the day wore on, the gusts became stronger - exceeding 20 knots at times and causing several gear failures and/or capsizes in the day's third race.

Friday's pair of Olympic triangles was completed as scheduled in even cooler (18C) northerly breezes of 10 to 15+ knots which produced some fine planing reaches. The three days of northerlies, which the weather man had attributed to Lake Ontario's "warm" waters as a source of thermal lift drawing in the colder air from the north, finally ran out of steam overnight. Saturday brought sunny skies and a pleasant 22C as we drifted out towards our AEC-Wayfarer Worlds XII finale - a windward-leeward. After an our hour or so of waiting, we were rewarded with 5 to 8 knots of SE lake breeze.  When it shifted to south during the race, a very efficient race committee was prepared with a down wind course change.  The moderate winds gave our muscles a welcome chance to relax a bit after three days of hard sailing.

Our thanks and gratitude to

  • John Weakley: John was the very hard-working Chairman of our Organizing Committee which also included Rob Wierdsma (Mississauga SC liaison) and Uncle Al (Wayfarer liaison). It would be safe to say that John did the lion's share of the massive amount of work involved in making our Worlds the outstanding success it turned out to be. In addition to his trademark pith helmet, John wore numerous metaphorical hats. Courtesy of John, the AEC-Wayfarer Worlds had its own very informative web site started a year ahead of time. John also came up with the wonderful idea of making the excellent PCYC Junior Sailing Programme available - free of charge - to children of competitors during Worlds week. As a Past Commodore of PCYC, he used his wide-ranging contacts to locate volunteers for everything from T-shirt distribution to banking to fleet-at-sea requirements. Some things John did himself: the Notice of Race, the Sailing Instructions, plus of course, he ran the races in a way that drew unanimous praise. And even after the racing was done, John was not: He posted results on the web site each night after the necessary beer drinking had been completed and was the MC for the daily awards plus the grand finale on Saturday night. An amazing job, John!! Thanks very much from all of us.
  • Jim Wilkinson: Jim, another PCYC Past Commodore, was our very efficient Regatta Treasurer who handled all of the registrations as well as arranging "accommodations afloat" at PCYC by "borrowing" boats with sleeping quarters from club members for nearly a third of our competitors. He also played host to our wonderful sponsor and guests, including a special tour of Toronto on his “Wayward”.
  • Rob Wierdsma: Rob and his Mississauga Sailing Club played a crucial support role in this Worlds. In addition to hosting a lovely BBQ complete with bargain beer, the very friendly and helpful MSC members cheerfully crammed those who could not launch at PCYC due to lack of dollies, etc. into their limited facilities. Moreover, there was free coffee available each day, all day. Plus of course, there was …
  • Bill Taylor: Every morning, before any of us arrived, Bill was already ensconced in his "throne" beside the MSC boat park gate, ready to direct traffic and to be a congenial, helpful resource that could help us overcome any problems that arose.
  • Frank Koreman of Winnipeg's AEC Systems Ltd. was our most generous title sponsor. Frank and his friend, Paul Robinson (our new Whiffle editor who brought a fine, fresh Whiffle, by the way!) brought their wives all the way from Winnipeg just to be part of our Worlds. It was a pleasure to meet the four of you, Frank, Karen, Paul and Barbara! We look forward to seeing and - I hope - sailing with you at more W events in the near future.
  • Quantum Sails, North Sails, Fogh Marine, and Scotia Bank were other sponsors who generously donated time, products and services to add to our enjoyment of this Worlds.  
  • Sponsors who assisted Team UKWA are: CP Ships (2  'free' containers), Banks (sailmakers), Selden Masts (loan of masts) and last, but certainly not least, Porter Bros. who organised loading, used their staff to help, etc. etc. etc. UKWA Chairman, Liz Feibusch writes: "We're having Team Photos made for each of them & framed with 'thanks from the UKWA Team' written across them. The UKWA sponsored us with the Team shirts which I organised. Thanks, Liz"
  • Stewart Reed of England and Robin Ball put in a lot of time and effort to ensure smooth container transport which was generously subsidized by CP Ships. The same Robin Ball, as Director of the PCYC Learn to Sail Programme, arranged for the five young lads from Essex, and the two lassies from Charlotte to be entered in the programme gratis.
  • Our absolutely essential and tireless Measurement Team of Sid Atkinson, George Blanchard, Bill Fyfe, Ted Lacelle, Fred Black, Mike Codd and Len Macdougall who spent the better part of the two months leading up to the Worlds giving up day after day of their time to get everyone measured in and buoyancy tested.
  • Fred Black: Fred was our official Borrowed Boats Co-ordinator who, along with George, Hans and Uncle Al made sure boats were sail-ready, insured and on site on time - and returned to TSCC in good shape after the Worlds.
  • the Jury: Lynne Beal (IJ) was the Chief Judge.  Others included Wendy Loat, Katie Nicoll, Ian Gow, and Jake Starr.  They were there waiting for us when we came off the water each day, and did a fine job, and we were mostly good and did not overwork them.
  • Mike Codd, Ed Tait, Tim Bider, Ken Devlin and Knox Ritchie very kindly gave up the use of their Wayfarers for nearly two weeks so that distant competitors could sail a competitively equipped Wayfarer in the Worlds.
  • Bob Thayer: Bob was our official photographer who got great action shots all week and then produced a fine collection of these on a CD that was presented to each competitor as a memento at the Banquet.
  • Diane Zaremba: As she had done for us in 1995, Diane (W440) spent her Friday night creating treasured mementos of this Worlds in the form of caricatures of any Wayfarers who were willing to sit still and look thoughtful for a couple of minutes.
  • Roger Proctor, our Copyright Holders' Representative, came all the way from England just to meet a world-wide cross-section of Wayfarers and to attend Tuesday night's Wayfarer International Committee meeting where he openly answered any questions we cared to ask.
  • Ralph Roberts, the WIC International Secretary, extended his Canada visit past the International Rally at Killbear Park, to attend the WIC meeting.
  • Hans Gottschling co-ordinated shore billets in a number of Wayfarer homes in the Toronto area and pitched in whenever help was needed, be it with measuring, boat transport, arranging RV rentals or whatever!
  • Our many hosts who gave visiting competitors a free home away from home
  • Our "buddies" who became instant friends and support teams to their assigned guests from afar

And last but not least, thanks to our unfailingly gracious and appreciated guests who made all the work that was done totally worthwhile.

AEC Wayfarer Worlds links
competitor profiles
complete results
report by Uncle Al
report from Richard & Michele
the real story by Toby Mace and Neil Fletcher
how we all fared
we got letters
the Whiffle that covered the Worlds

photos from on shore
on shore with Richard Johnson
on shore with Gord Leachman
at PCYC with John de Boer and Dave Hansman
at PCYC with Liz Feibusch and Tony Hunt
on shore with Uncle Al - 1
on shore with Uncle Al - 2
caricatures with Diane Zaremba (W440)
Saturday's Banquet
the Awards
one group's aftermath
a few pics of the champion boat's layout
the AEC Wayfarer Worlds Annex
at PCYC with Geoff Lepper - 1
at PCYC with Geoff Lepper - 2
at PCYC with Geoff Lepper - 3
Wayfarer Worlds XII: as Paul Robinson captured them:
Thursday's racing - 1
Thursday's racing - 2
Friday night was caricature night
leaving MSC for Saturday's final race
the Banquet