2004 AEC Wayfarer Worlds
the Worlds from a USWA perspective
by Richard Johnson and Michele Parish

Chick'n Chastened by the Worlds

Wayfarer Worlds XII, Mississauga, Canada 2004

Denmark Looms Large in 2007

By Richard Johnson and Michele Parish


As you might have guessed, this is no “Sea Biscuit” story.  We did put in a mighty effort, and mighty efforts are a great thing, but in the end, as it should be, experience and expertise ruled.

We rolled into the Mississauga Sailing Club at about 4:00 pm Saturday, the 31st of July.  We shoved the boat into a parking place and had a look around.  It looked like a pretty tame crowd, Abbott W’s (Canadian Wayfarers Mk I’s and Mk III’s) and a few nicely maintained woodies.   All in all, a pretty tame suburban well established looking crowd.

We moved the boat to the neighboring Port Credit Yacht Club on Sunday morning to get measured and I got that odd, I’m under surveillance feeling. The boats from the UK were unloaded from their shipping containers.  These were dark edgy (as a boat with a double chine will) looking craft with names like Scavenger, Tri-Panic, Bizarre, and Finitor.  Granted, these boats measured in every way to the rules, but with every control line split and routed to port and starboard. Our little yellow Abbott “Cottage” craft seemed a little less than pugnacious.   We measured in and in the process discovered that our centerboard has never been extended to the full down position, falling short by about 20 degrees.  We quickly made the correction and hoped it would add 5 degrees of pointing ability.

Monday was a practice race day.  Official racing began on Tuesday with two races. The daily routine for the week was as follows: hit the dock at 9:00, the water at 10:00, and the starting line at 11:00.  We were back at the dock by 5:00.  I’m not enough of a sailor or story teller to take you through each race, leg by leg. So a brief summary will have to do.   The races on Tuesday were in 5-10 knots wind and extremely pleasant. Wednesday was a lull; we finally completed the first race by 4:30 after a very late start.  We, Team Chick'n, missed making the time limit to finish by about 10 seconds. I could have jumped from the bow and crossed the line, but the horn sounded and we were DNF’d, in pretty good company, and a foul humor.  

Wednesday night a cold front passed through. Thursday’s sky was patched puffy clouds.  The forecast was for north winds 16 to 25 knots, and an odd easterly swell of 1 meter.  One of the Canadians worked for the weather service, and I’m told that gusts up to 40 mph were recorded and swells to 2 meters were common.  We raced three unbelievable races. It was without a doubt the most exhilarating sailing we’ve ever done.  On port tack you would fight your way over what looked like huge rollers with a very short wave length. On starboard tack you surfed to the point your sails would collapse.  The reaches were all white water, the deep runs, fast and nervous.   We raced three races, and due to retirements, capsizes, and equipment failures (mast, rudders and a boom) this was our best day. We stayed on top of the water.

Friday was a carbon copy of Thursday but without the swells. The perception was that the wind was stronger on Friday, but I expect that it was fatigue setting in. We had a really un-inspiring day, allowing a boat we’d been jousting with to get away in the second race.  While drowning our sorrows in pitchers of Old Port Credit Ale, Kevan Gibb (crew for Ian Porter, the eventual victor) mentioned we weren’t running anywhere near the required rig tension, and did we know it?  I was aware we were slack (and in more than one way) but I’d been told it wasn’t anything to worry about.  On Saturday morning, with the aid of Al Schonborn, we shortened the jib halyard by 3 inches and all of a sudden we had new found pointing ability.

Saturday was our best race, not so much by results as by intention.  If we went the wrong way, at least we did it on purpose, and actually we stayed pretty much on the fast side. We were much better with the wind shifts and in the end, put a lot of distance between ourselves and the boat that buried us the day before.  The finish line was about a mile or two miles from shore. The winds were from the southwest  at about 5-10 knots and we surfed and planed our way north back to the Mississauga Sailing Club - an absolute perfect end to the racing.  Our final place, 51st out of 60.  We had hoped to be in the 40’s.

The next Wayfarer Worlds are in Denmark in 2007, and at this point we are committed to going.  We’ll have to borrow a boat but our goal is to finish in the 40-30 range, which hardly seems a lofty goal. But considering that there will be more and better sailors from Europe, that will be quite an achievement. In the meantime, it's club racing, Midwinters in Florida, the Cottonwood,  a River race on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay and any Portsmouth Handicap-based regatta we can find, not to mention next summer’s Assault on Cumberland Island.

At the Catawba YC, the Wayfarer is the odd boat out, and my boat may soon be the one and the only, which is a shame.  If you were to take all the dinghy designs at the club (Lightning, V 15,  Laser, etc.) morph them into one boat, it would probably look  a lot like a Wayfarer.  The boat is capable in a wind, but not so safe it’s a bore.  The boats are responsive but in the end, to win, it does require a certain experience and nuance.  Mk I’s which are the preferred used boat, can be had for $2500 Canadian.  Quantum now offers excellent (Mike McNamara design)  sails at a very competitive price.  And with a little ingenuity, all the control lines can be split to give you that predatory feel.  All in all, if I had to do it over, my boat would be black and have a name in red on the side like “Raptor” or some other voracious carnivore.  I think the yellow is just a little too jaunty and cute to capture the imagination of the adrenalin dependent set.  

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