Ajax Keelboat Class at Falmouth Week - August 2005
A record entry of 29 Ajax keelboats competed in Falmouth Week 2005, including three boats from the East Coast fleet. They enjoyed nine races with hot weather and light breezes at the start of the week, and some better breezes later on.
The week started with the Angela Beaman Trophy on Saturday. The fleet sailed over to Mylor for tea. This year’s theme was Little Red Riding Hood. As usual points were awarded for answering general knowledge questions, dressing up style and number of feet and paws in the boat. The East Coast boats Gannet and Avocet showed good dressing up style, but Achilles (the Townshend Family) won once again by half a point.
Helford day involved a race in Carrick Roads instead of the promised passage race to Helford. In a light southerly breeze Athena (David Liddington), Nemesis (Bob Edwards) and Samaki (Alan Williams) made the running initially. However the wind died on the second beat, to be replaced by a fresh northerly which turned the fleet inside out. Troy (retiring class captain Cedric Thomas) was first to Pendennis on the second lap, but by the finish the winner was Athena from Ajax (new class captain David Matthewson) and Pegasus (David Kerridge).
Mylor day brought the same conditions. Indefatigable (Robin Edwards) stayed in the tide and led at the weather mark from Nemesis and Pegasus. These three pulled away from the rest of the fleet as the wind dropped. Most of the fleet struggled to get round Governor against the flood in company with the working boat fleet. The finishing line was set in strong tide and no wind. Only eight boats managed to finish before the time limit expired.
Restronguet day took the fleet out into the bay for two sea races. Lack of wind, a series of mishaps and two general recalls meant that the first race did not get going until 1330. Avocet (Doug Sharps) and Athena went left up the first beat and contested the lead in a fitful breeze. Avocet won from Athena with Aquila (Lindsey Thomas) third.
Once again the light southerly was replaced with a fresher northerly. The second race was held over a short course, Athena winning from Ajax and Sandpiper (Glen Litherland).
Two more sea races on Flushing day went more smoothly. In the first race Indefatigable led at the weather mark from Samaki. However, most of the fleet wet left on the run and sailed into a hole. Osprey (Paul Smart) went right and came out with a big lead on the second lap, which she held, winning from Athena and Ajax. In the second race, the leading group of Athena, Nemesis, Indefatigable, Avocet and Ajax fought a close battle all the way round. Nemesis got ahead on the run to win from Athena and Avocet.
Back in Carrick Roads for St Mawes day, a record 28 starters turned out in a fresher north westerly breeze. There was predictable congestion on the starting line as the fleet tried to squeeze round the pin mark against foul tide and tack up the Pendennis shore. Athena led at the weather mark from Amalthea (R. Wood) and Pegasus. The shifting breeze between St Mawes and Trefusis caused many place changes on the beat, and at the finish Athena won from Ajax and Avocet.
Royal Cornwall day brought similar conditions and a terrific battle between Ajax, Athena, Aquila and Avocet all the way round. At the finish Athena had got through to win once again from Ajax, Avocet and Aquila.
Falmouth Town Regatta day brought rain and a reduced turnout. After the fourth general recall of the week, Athena led at the weather mark from Amalthea and Pegasus. The race was a bit processional, and at the finish Athena won from Amalthea and Ajax.
Athena won comfortably overall, having won five races. This year David Liddington has won the National Championship, South West Championship and Falmouth Week, despite tough competition. Returning star David Matthewson in Ajax did not win a race but placed second overall. East Coast experts Doug Sharps, Richard Chenery and Gordon ‘Marrows’ Sutton placed third with one race win on their second attempt at Falmouth Week. Ever consistent Bob Edwards placed fourth in Nemesis. The Woods family as new owners of Amalthea announced their arrival in the fleet with a consistent performance and a second place in the final race for fifth place overall.
Cedric Thomas completed seven years as class captain at St Mawes. Record turnouts, keenly contested racing and a steady stream of new Ajax owners show the health of the fleet under his leadership.
1 Athena (David Liddington) 9 points
2 Ajax (David Matthewson) 19 points
3 Avocet (Doug Sharps) 25 points
4 Nemesis (Bob Edwards) 31 points
5 Amalthea (R. Wood) 33 points