posted on November 06, 2018
The Waples Wines Northern Traveller Series was reduced to just four events in 2018, partly as a result of the summer heatwave and partly due to Royal Windermere YC, one of the usual venues, hosting the Northern Championships in place of their regular open meeting this year.
The series instead kicked-off at Rutland SC in early June, with 15 teams competing. The Waples series has always deliberately aimed itself at regular club-level Flying Fifteen sailors rather than the championship hotshots, and the scoring system supports this both through the use of the Classic & Silver handicaps and also by excluding from the overall results anyone who has previously finished in the top 15 positions at a ranking event; those top sailors can of course still compete in the individual events, but their event results don’t count towards the Waples series itself.
The first event this year at Rutland SC was held in conjunction with the K1 class (goodness, aren’t those things slow downwind?!) in winds which were light-and-fluky on the first day and non-existent-and-fluky on the second. These conditions meant that only three races were possible during the weekend, and it was Ian Cadwallader and Ellie Devereux from Chew Valley SC who took the victory with two wins and a fourth place.
Ian and Ellie are one of those aforementioned top-15 teams though, so in terms of Waples series qualification it was Chris & Marion Bowen from Northampton SC who took the victory, followed by Mike Moore & Kayla Sheard from Bassenthwaite SC and Jeremy Arnold & John Allen from Notts County SC in third. We weren’t to know it at the time but this finishing order would prove to be a precedent of things to come!
Rutland SC winners Ian Cadwallader and Ellie Devereux
Six weeks later the fleet reassembled at Bassenthwaite SC in Cumbria for the second round of the Waples series, this time with 18 boats and a much more satisfactory breeze. Boats from the home club dominated the top ten, with Simon Longstaff & Jonathan Denwood taking the victory, followed by Neil Currie & Rory Yardley in second and with visitors Andy & Tom Goddard from Dovestone SC securing third place. The highest boat in the Bassenthwaite results that had also competed at Rutland was that of Mike Moore and Kayla Sheard, so they now led the series overall after the first two events.
Mike & Kayla at Bassenthwaite SC
The next two rounds of the series were scheduled for September, by which time the hot summer months had taken their toll on the reservoirs of the country – sadly causing cancellation of both the Burton SC and Dovestone SC open meetings.
For a time, it looked like the 2018 Waples series might be reduced to just three events and in order to salvage the situation an attempt was initially made to organize a one-day event at short notice at an alternative club to replace the Burton open – but then it was suggested that a better approach might be to propose that the Waples Northern fleet joined-in with the Southern Traveller fleet at their well established existing event at Middle Nene SC, who very graciously allowed us to gate-crash their party.
Low tide at Dovestone SC
The Southern Traveller series – and the Middle Nene SC home fleet in particular – have a much greater proportion of Classic and Silver boats competing than the Northerners, and this shared event proved an excellent demonstration of just how well the handicapping system works to provide a level-playing-field for Flying Fifteens of all ages.
Ironically the weather had now turned rather unpleasant and the (accurate) forecast of heavy rain and blustery winds undoubtedly subdued the entry for the Middle Nene event. Nine boats did come to the line though, with the very-well sailed local Classic of Mark Greer and Jim Reid taking the victory followed by the ever-reliable Bowens in their Modern boat in second place, and with another Classic – this time that of Matt Yallop and Katy Brown – in third. In fact the alternating positions of Classic boat – Modern boat – Classic boat - went all the way down to eighth place overall!
Close racing between Classics, Silvers & Moderns at Middle Nene SC
So going into the final event at Notts County SC the Bowens were now leading the series overall, relegating Moore & Sheard to second place, with Arnold & Allen/Hope/Stenson in third. Everything was still to play-for though since all three of these teams were competing in the final event unchanged, except for Jeremy Arnold who had yet another different crew for his home event!
An excellent 21 boats travelled to Notts County, and it proved to be another event where the winner of the event itself was a ‘top-15’ team whose results are ineligible for the overall series. Sailed in winds that varied from light-and-shifty to strong-and-gusty (sometimes in the same race!) the event provided a memorable and enjoyable ending to the series, and it was pleasing to hear the race officer comment afterwards about the gentlemanly behaviour of the sailors and the competitive-but-friendly nature of the racing.
Andy Mckee and Rich Jones from Dovestone SC dominated the racing at Notts County SC, with four victories from the five races. In terms of the Waples series though it was Chris & Marion Bowen who again took the victory, with Mike Preston & Paul Reid from Blackpool & Fleetwood SC in second and Jeremy Arnold & Andy Stewart from Notts County SC in third.
The biggest Waples fleet of the year at Notts County SC
So Chris & Marion from Northampton SC were worthy winners of the 2018 Waples Wines Northern Traveller series, with Mike Moore and Kayla Sheard from Bassenthwaite SC in second and Jeremy Arnold and various crews (!) from Notts County SC in third. Classic fleet winners were Graham & Alistair Lamond from Ripon SC. Thanks as ever to all the clubs and sailors who took part in the series, and of course the very generous Waples Wines for their continued support and sponsorship.
In total 46 different boats took part in the series in 2018 - slightly down on previous totals, but that’s to be expected given the cancelled events and other disruptions. Next year the series will be a slightly different shape as again some of the regular venue are holding championship events instead of their normal open meetings; 2019 will also see the introduction of the new venue of Blackpool & Fleetwood YC, which being on tidal water should make for an exciting addition to the series. It was also felt that the shared Northern & Southern series event was a good idea which should be explored further, so the 2019 Waples series will again include the Middle Nene SC open in addition to the usual events at Dovestone SC, Burton SC and Notts County SC. See the website for confirmed dates in due course, and see you on the water next year!
For full 2018 Results Table CLICK HERE
Waples Wines Northern Travellers Series Winners 2018 - Chris & Marion Bowen receiving their prize from Justin Waples
First Classic - Graham & Alistair Lamond from Ripon SC
Second Overall - Mike Moore & Kayla Sheard from Bassenthwaite SC
Third Overall - Jeremy Arnold & Andy Stewart (plus other crews!) from Notts County SC