Ajax National Championship 2006
A record entry of 26 boats turned out for the Championship of the Ajax 23 ft keelboat held at St Mawes 14th-16th July. Seven boats travelled from the east coast fleet. The St Mawes fleet included No. 12, recently recovered from Switzerland, restored to immaculate condition by the Kennett family and appropriately renamed Odysseus.
On Thursday two strong teams from Royal Harwich and St Mawes competed for the Lee Trophy, and the home team came off best to retain the trophy.
The wind blew from the east and the sun shone for the whole regatta. On Friday a force 5 and big seas in the bay led race officer Ron Medlyn to set a course in Carrick Roads between Myler and St Just. On a short course those who went left up the first beat came off best. Gannet (Chris Brown) reached the weather mark first, but they were passed by Athena (David Liddington) and Amalthea (Roger Wood) who finished in that order, with Avocet (Richard Chenery) coming through to take third place.
In the second race Athena led from start to finish. Aquilla (Lindsey Thomas) was second at the windward mark and Ajax (David Mathewson) third. By the end, Avocet had worked her way through to second and Ajax held on to third place.
Saturday brought a force 4, and the fleet raced in the bay. In race 3, Gannet once again reached the windward mark first, pursued by Nemesis (Robin Edwards) and Pegasus (David Kerridge). Athena worked her way past these three to lead at the bottom mark. The wind went lighter, and it became essential to go up the left side of the course to get the best of the breeze on the Pendennis shore. Nemesis held onto second place, and Thunderer (John Williams) came through to third with Avocet fourth.
In race 4, the wind went lighter. After a general recall, Athena and Nemesis were the first two at the weather mark, pursued by Mandalay (Peter Nicholls). On the second beat a wind hole appeared to leeward of the weather mark. Athena and Nemesis struggled in the windless zone, and the boats that sailed up the extreme left side of the beat and came out from Pendennis shore on the layline prospered. Ajax led from Thunderer, Athena and Mandalay. Thunderer passed Ajax at the leeward mark, and held on to win a shortened race in difficult conditions from Ajax, Athena and Pegasus.
Three wins and a third enabled Athena to retain the championship after two days.
On Sunday the wind was still light, and the lop on the sea created difficult sailing conditions. A black flag on the third general recall led to 7 or 8 boats being excluded, and the fleet got away at the fourth attempt. Guillemot (David Mayne) at last showed her true form to lead at the weather mark from Ajax, Athena and Aquilla. Thunderer worked her way through to second on the reaches but at the leeward mark the wind died, the fleet sat for 45 minutes becalmed and slatting and the race was abandoned. A short distance inshore there was a decent breeze. Who would be a race officer?
All agreed it had been an excellent regatta with superb hospitality from St Mawes Sailing Club.
1 Athena David Liddington (1, 1, 1, (3)) 3 pts (SMSC)
2 Thunderer John Williams (4, (5), 3, 1) 8 pts (RHYC)
3 Avocet Richard Chenery (3, 2, 4, (12)) 9 pts (RHYC)
4 Nemesis Robin Edwards (6, 4, 2, (11)) 12 pts (SMSC)
5 Ajax David Mathewson (8, 3, (12), 2) 13 pts (SMSC)
F:\ClaireV\JJS\WSC\Ajax National Championship 2006.doc