The recently-held Lymington Yacht Haven-sponsored Folkboat Week this year attracted 37 entries

It is hard to believe that Folkboat Week is in its 39th year and still continues to grow in popularity. Racing under the guidance of PRO Rachel Nuding and the support of the host club The Royal Solent, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight some 37 entrants participated in this excellent week.

The weather threw all sorts of conditions and the fleet enjoyed a mix of long races to Christchurch Bay/ Eastern Solent and short Olympic-style courses. A total of eight races were planned and the introduction this year of ‘no discard’, made for a very interesting event.

Race one saw the fleet race to Christchurch Ledge, taking in North Head on the outward and return Leg. A healthy Force 4-5 powered the tightly compact fleet round the 21-mile course. This first race saw ‘Crackerjack’ (Stuart Watson/Matthew Jones) take line honours and open their account for the week followed by ‘Svaerd’ (Martin Wilkinson) who had won the Southern Area Championship, the previous weekend. ‘Sweet Caroline’ (Rod Curran/Brett Dingwall) only competing for the one day due to other commitments claimed third.

Day two saw two short Solent races back to back, ‘Crackerjack’ continued where they had left off the previous day, scoring the first bullet, followed by ‘Cloud Cuckoo’ (Colin Dobner) and ‘Svaerd’. Race two saw the fleet sent on a course encompassing both Island and Mainland shores, with a strong flooding tide. This proved to be an excellent tactical, thought-provoking race as all competitors found. ‘Riot’ (Nick Burgin) sailed a near perfect race leading from beginning to score their first bullet of the week, followed by ‘Tak’ (Jeremy Austin) and ‘Cidron’ (Robin Walters).

The Wednesday was due a bad forecast which was duly delivered for the Ladies and Crews Race. Rachel Nuding conscious of the likelihood of further poor weather as the day progressed, put together two short races back-to-back. Race one (Ladies) delivered a first for ‘Gap Year’ followed by ‘Good Shepherd’. Race two (Crews) produced ‘girl power’ again, as both the first two boats were sailed by females. ‘Cloud Cuckoo’ (Sue Pinnell) took line honours from ‘So!’ (Catherine Jones).

The weather yet again proved to live up to its billing as; ‘Windy’ and racing for Thursday was cancelled allowing crews to tour the Island, rest and take in the local hostillaries.

Friday kicked off with a points race which some may wish to forget as produced four boats OCS on the Long Solent Race. The course sent the fleet on a short beat followed by a long run to Gurnard with a small hitch in the course on the way and finishing with a long western beat back to the finish. Conditions were excellent, again a steady Force 4-5 met with everyone’s delight. ‘Crackerjack’ led the fleet home only to be greeted by no gun allowing ‘Riot’ to take line honours. They were followed home in second by ‘Karla’ (Peter Macgregor) and ‘So!’ (Simon Osgood/Stewart Becker). The full effect of no discards had suddenly sunk in to those unfortunate to have been OCS but had certainly livened the fleet up in time for their AGM that night.

The Saturday saw the final race in a beautifully sunny summer’s day. The event was still wide open and the overall lead boats, ‘Gap Year’ (Steve Proffitt), ‘Riot’ and ‘Svaerd’ needing to put distance between one another to secure the week overall. ‘Crackerjack’ took line honours and would have clinched the event if not OCS on the previous day and could only watch as ‘Gap Year’ sailed into second place and take the week, followed by ‘Riot’ in third and take second overall.

‘Gap Year’ took Folkboat Week, sailing a consistent series with excellent crew work, which included a man over board recovery in race 7 and recover to finish 5th in the race. ‘Riot’ always showing great boatspeed but just counted one poor result to finish second by a mere two point margin and third ‘Svaerd’ third not quite able to follow their Southern Area result.

Credit must go the sponsors for choosing to support the Folkboat fleet which continues to grow both at Folkboat week and throughout the south coast under the guidance of the south coast organising committee and all the sailors who continue to make this a great class. Next year the class celebrates the big 40 with the potential of 40 boats competing. Overall Results

1st Gap Year – Steve Proffitt (RLYC)

2nd Riot – Nick Burgin (RSYC)

3rd Svaerd – Martin Wilkinson (RLYC)

4th Crackerjack – Stuart Watson/Matthew Jones (RLYC)

5th Karla – Peter Macgregor (HRSC)

6th ‘So!’- Simon Osgood/Stuart Becker (RSYC)

7th Rio – Mike Shepherd (RLYC)

8th Cidron – Robin Walters (RSYC)

9th Tak – Jeremy Austin (RLYC)

10th Cloud Cuckoo – Colin Dobner (CCYC)