AJAX 23  CLASS ASSOCIATION

                        Chairman’s Report  2010

Looking back over the past 12 months the 2009 National Championships at RHYC was a most enjoyable and sociable Regatta. 2 boats from the SW fleet were welcomed: Kali sailed by Charles Emmett and Pintail sailed by Richard Bown and a total of 17 boats competed. We had 3 days of racing in fine weather with one day of good breezes and 2 days of light variable winds.

The Championships were won by Chris Brown in Mars and in winning Chris maintained a remarkable record of winning the Ajax Championships in every decade since the boat was designed in 1966. The next 3 places were closely contested with Guillemot (David Mayne) second, Pegasus (David Kerridge) third and Avocet (helmed by Cedric Thomas) fourth. Well done Cedric !   Pintail won the Vim Trophy for the first visiting boat.

This year the East Coast fleet has had an average turnout of 7 boats for club racing and Pegasus won the spring series with a perfect score of 6 for the best 6 races in the series. Guillemot was second and Telamon (Gordon Sutton), who in sailing fast this year, was third.

The East Coast Championships were held over the weekend of 19/20th June. The skies were grey, the temperature low and the wind at times, quite astonishing. On the Saturday, some Ajax sailors wisely stayed ashore, whilst others ventured out into Dovercourt Bay. Race officer, Doug Brown set a windward leeward course and on the second beat of an exciting race, a 38 Knot Northerly line squall hit the fleet with Pegasus (David Kerridge) a casualty and others left struggling. David was swamped and his buoyancy tanks were fully tested whilst he was towed into sheltered waters. Eventually the wind moderated a little and Thunderer (John Williams) won the race from Mars (Chris Brown). The second race on Saturday was equally exciting but this time a line squall hit the fleet on the run with all spinnakers set. This resulted in some spectacular high speed planing for the fleet.  The race was again won by Thunderer sailed by the Williams trio of John, Richard and Hugh.

The winds moderated somewhat on Sunday and the first race involved a modified Olympic course. Thunderer once again stormed off into the distance leaving the rest of the fleet to fight for the minor places. Artemis (Malcolm Mackley) secured a close second from Guillemot sailed by David Mayne, Tim Hunt and Michael Prosser. The final race reverted to windward leeward and here Mandalay (helmed in different races by Peter Nicholls and Doug Sharps) went on to win a tight contest from Mars. The Williams team secured a resounding overall win and a tie break separated Mandalay from Mars with Artemis fourth:

1st Thunderer.  John, Richard and Hugh Williams (1,1,1, 8)

2nd Mandalay.  Peter Nicholls/Doug Sharps, Jon Pack, Joe Hunt (4,2,4,1 )

3rd Mars.  Chris Brown, Alex Davey, Mark Blackwell (2,3,5,2)

4th Artemis. Malcolm Mackley, Mike Moore, Joff Hudson (3,4,2,4)

 

With regards to the South West Fleet, Class Captain, Lindsey Thomas, writes as follows:

Turnouts were sadly low at the beginning of the season, but thankfully the lovely June weather inspired people into action & we are no regularly getting 7 to 8 boats out & hopefully will improve on this as the season continues. 2009 saw two boats change hands. Firstly we said goodbye to the Holbrook family, Richard and Suzanne really made good use of Nimrod as a family boat and all three of their children (and the dog!) were regularly seen out racing on her. Nimrod was bought by Tim Godber and has sadly been taken out of port and is currently in Guernsey.

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Simone Kennett also decided to sell Aeolus in search of a more lively boat and has bought an SB3. Thankfully for the fleet, Aeolus was bought by two old Ajax stalwarts Richard Beaman and John Howard and has since been out racing regularly.

We also said goodbye to Richard Boucher-Giles and although at this time he is still the owner if Mary B, Richard has defected to the Marieholm fleet in search of a more comfortable boat he & his family can go cruising on.

To date there are two boats on the market that I know of, Mary B and Fringilla which is owned by Chris Snell. We are desperately trying to find new local owners for both boats and would appreciate any help in achieving this.

We enjoyed some superb weather through June which meant it was possible to sail without oilies, something we did not do a lot of last year.

The first race of the season, the May Day Cup Race was won by Roger & Claire Wood in Amalthea with Cedric in Troy in second.

The Frankie Peters Series at the end of May saw a return to the three race format set over the weekend. Unfortunately the weather conditions were against us with extremely strong winds meaning only three boats turned out to race on the Saturday. During the 1st beat, just after tacking, Amalthea was hit by a gust and Claire Wood fell overboard. Roger and his crew were able to get her back onboard but they lost the lead and Aquila won the first race with Cedric in third. Claire was badly bruised and unable to sail the second race but Roger luckily managed to find a third crew. Cedric decided not to sail in the afternoon as the wind had picked up and he was only two up so he joined the crew of Aquila and a weight advantage saw them claim a second victory over Amalthea. On Sunday thankfully conditions were a little calmer and Cedric with a full compliment of crew took first place denying Aquila a clean sweep coming in second with Mike Evans in Kittiwake in third.

The fleet remains strong in the South West but it would be great to see more of the locally owned boats appearing on the start line earlier in the season and on a more regular basis.

At the end of last year John Williams discovered a long lost Ajax, Poseidon No. 35, which was advertised for sale in Nova Scotia, Canada. In the hope of bringing her back to the UK we made an offer for her and sorted out shipping details using a shipping line from Halifax to Liverpool. Unfortunately the owner withdrew her from sale at the last moment and there was nothing more that we could do.

Polly Oliver has been purchased by an East Coast syndicate and brought up to RHYC. We feel it is useful to have an Ajax for sale locally in order to enlarge the active fleet and some interest has been shown. Meanwhile she was borrowed by Philip Mayhew and Simon Quantrill for the East Coast Championships, whilst their own Ajax is undergoing a refit, and she was fully tested by the conditions described above.

5 Ajaxes will be making their way down to St Mawes for the Nationals this year: Teal, Pegasus, Guillemot, Thunderer and Sirius and we are all looking forward very much to the racing and socialising.

 

Bob Tate – Chairman                                                                                                                        July 2010