WORTHING greeted its 65 entries with a steady, somewhat onshore wind which remained throughout the weekend at force five and six. This created some problems at high tide, on both days, the last few feet of the beach being a little steep and creating surf. Very few people, however, got into trouble either launching or beaching and there were few breakages.
This had little to do with the skill of our helmsmen but was almost entirely due to the enthusiasm of the club’s beach party. I don’t know whether others had the experience, but I for one was once invited to climb into the boat, yards up the beach, and carried onto the water. I can’t say I took it as a compliment — it’s like being helped off a bus — but I’m sure it saved a disaster. In fact I am told that Worthing have done this sort of thing before — once, it seems, to someone who didn’t want to sail. Retrieving was just as efficient with Mirrors shooting up onto the beach like penguins popping up onto the Antarctic ice shelf in a B.B.C. film.
The practice race was mercifully reduced to one triangle. This, of course, meant only one jibe in the race, but it was one too many for Derek Beere who capsized at the first opportunity when lying second. I hope I wasn’t feeling smug, but if I was, it didn’t last and we were shortly upside down alongside him. As I came ashore on the surf I moved one point ahead of Derek by capsizing again being saved from damage by the beach party. Richard Dalby won the race.
We had a taste of things to come at the start of the first points race when the pathfinder, David Thompson, capsized before he could complete his run. The committee wisely decided not to make use of their reserve pathfinder and changed the race to a line start. Peter Barnes won the race, as he did the rest, with Richard Dalby the runner up in each race.
The other two races were of the same pattern, though in the first of these a good gate start was achieved but due to the very rough seas the length of the legs of the course was reduced. We have often seen bigger waves, but, perhaps due to their confused pattern, I personally have never before taken so much water aboard. I had always maintained that more than one self-bailer was an unnecessary luxury but I don’t think I was the only one to now have second thoughts.
John Petty of Reading rounded off an eventful weekend by, having picked up a spinnaker pole on one leg of the last race, on the next leg catching a fish — a fair sized one at that. It jumped into his boat — it must be hairy when the sea is too rough for the fish.
From Harry Taylor, M27320 - Humbug, Horsham.
Editor's note - This article is from Reflections No. 11 Autumn 1973, page 14 and has been captured by OCR, so typos & errors are possible.