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Squib 2019 Report

Whilst the presence of a National Squib in Bridlington Harbour has been missed during 2019, The RYYC Flag has been flown at three regional and national events during the season.

Squib 800 Alchemy sees more of the walls of her boatshed in Bridlington than the water itself but when she is taken out by Gerard Dyson and Tony Saltenstall, she usually makes a mark of some sort!

The Alchemy Team have had little or no other competition with other Squibs at all during 2019 and the National Circuit is as hot as any with a number of well-known names to contest the events.

The main men are the Grogan Family Team (owners of Hyde Sails!), Dick Batt (another sailmaker), Ian Gray (of Lonton Sailmakers) along with numerous other National and World (Enterprise Dinghy) Champions. So, our local lads had some competition to face out there!

The first outing in 2019 was the Royal Forth Yacht Club in Leith, near Edinburgh. A warm Scottish welcome met a small but very capable fleet of sailors for five races over two days. The weather was good with mixed winds from 5-15 knots and windward/leeward courses over a cross tide that wasn't as strong as expected. The races were about an hour long and Alchemy managed five wins taking the trophy away from Scotland for the first time in its history. It now sits on the wall in the RYYC Lounge Bar for all to see. The Royal Forth is bidding for the Squib Nationals in 2023 and if they are successful the RYYC team will be there age and health permitting!

The second outing was to the National Championships at Torquay. A nightmare journey of over nine hours of congested traffic down the M5 resulted in a first night stop in Exeter. After a further slow journey the Royal Torbay Yacht Club and its excellent facilities made a pleasant welcome for over fifty competitors.

Everyone tells you that Torbay is the Riviera of the South with Champagne sailing! Well, not this weekend. Massive rollers and not much wind for most of the week made a lottery in most of the races and Alchemy had mixed results ending up a satisfactory fourteenth overall; probably faring better than the guy who won three races only to have each one judged OCS! The conditions changed little during the week but some good winds and waves towards the end made for some fantastic surfing. Some very good sailors had some very bad results giving some fairly high scoring in the overall results. Best averages were the key to success and Alchemy beat three former National Champions.

The final event was the ever-popular Squib Inland Championships at Rutland Water. This was the original idea od Gerard and 'Salty', now on its Twenty Fifth Anniversary! Alchemy has won it three times previously but the team were worried about the lack of practice for this year were not confident!

Rutland Water can be an unforgiving venue with shifty winds and tacking on every header is definitely not the thing to do! The start line wind headings can differ greatly at each end and finding the right one, usually 50-70 yards beyond the end of it can often be the key. Also getting off that line quickly to go the way you want without being buried under boats is paramount now Gerard is good at that!

There were four races on Day One with starts in four, six, eight and ten knot winds respectively. Alchemy got three good starts and a poor one (we finished twenty first in that race!). The other three made up for it and saw our team at the top of the leader board after four races, including a discard. Hot on our heels were the Hyde Sailmakers family team and Mark Hogan with his helm Josh you know the types Fit, young, ex National Champions and Olympic Squad hopefuls.!

The next day awoke to much more wind with three races scheduled; the first starting in fifteen to eighteen knots and the second rising to thirty! A voice came over the radio from the adjoining Firefly Class "Its blowing thirty two knots so we are coming in!" Another voice from a Squib responded "can we come in too" only to be met by silence! So off we went to the start sequence for race six

We had done quite well in Race Five so off we went with the attitude of "let's just get round!". Boats were capsizing all over the place severe broaches and wind headers on violent windshifts. But alchemy just flew up the beats and took off down the runs, screaming past others! This was looking promising as the hot shots were struggling at times. These two auld (out of practice) dogs were sailing with a relaxed attitude whilst others were busting their guts and breaking their boats.

We managed two decent results in races five and six and with race seven being cancelled it was not a steady thirty knots plus. This dropped us to second overall with only the very best getting ahead of us on points a much better result than we had hoped for!

I might also say that at these events we were looked after in Edinburgh by Will Davies (Squib 832), son of Tom Davies and ex RYYC member and Ex Squibber. At Rutland we more often than not stay with Randal Vaughan and Jenny Maddox (Redgate). We live like Royalty when we go to these places, it makes such a difference to have good quality relaxing places to stay and we extend our thanks to these tow FIVE STAR hostelries!

The winter is here and the Alchemy Team and Freddie Inghan (Diva) are continuing to annoy the Scarborough racing fleet as best we can in their Autumn (winners) and Winter Series sailing 'Vision' a SJ320 with her Scarborough based, but Bridlington born, owner John Livesey, his wife Sarah and mix of superb deck hands. Sailing has been a bit like Torbay Massive rollers and little wind or too much!

I sincerely hope that the Squib will return to out harbour there are several lurking in sheds! There are few other craft that can offer such a cheap, easy maintain and run dinghy. Tow it behind your car, store in a small shed or on the drive, little winter work and a full set of sails for £1250 in winter! It has a superb age-related rating this is a 1967 design. One sold on eBay with all the gear for just £275.00, ready to sail! Or buy a new one for around £22,000.

Happy New Year to all and good sailing.

Go Sailing the wind is free

Tony Saltonstall

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