A total of 30 Folkboats are taking part in the Folkboat nationals at Yarmouth

A total of 30 Folkboats are competing at Yarmouth for the annual Folkboat Week (11-17 August), hosted by the Royal Solent Yacht Club. The event also includes the national championship which is sponsored by Lymington Yacht Haven.

With winds up to 30 knots for the Long Solent Race headed up to Royal Thames via East Lepe with kites up all the way – pitching and rolling through the heavy seas. Edward Donald (Madelaine) headed the fleet followed by Mike Stoner (Ayesha), Milly (R Webb), Sweet Caroline (R Carran).

Rounding the Royal Thames mark the fleet headed back, short-tacking up the north shore, giving the spectators an excellent view of the crews battling to keep the boats upright. A few boats, including Karla (Stephen Jones) and Woodpecker II (Bernard Turner) went in just a little too close and touched the bottom. Against the tide and with the wind on the increase the fleet battled their way back to Yarmouth, leaving Champagne Mumm to starboard forcing the fleet to time their course right to round the mark and then head back inshore out of the tide. With Madelaine taking a clear lead, Sweet Caroline (Rod Carran and Brett Dingwall) and Hannchen (Colin Dobner), Cloud Cuckoo (John Stork) and Ayesha (Mike Stoner) fought it out for second place, but the looming sea mist and tidal change caused many to overstand the finish line. All boats arrived back safely in time to witness the mass of yachts leaving the Western Solent heading out for the Fastnet. Despite heavy seas, strong winds and poor visibility the race committee set a sensible course and the folkboats excelled in the conditions.

Monday and Tuesday the fleet had two races per day. Mondays morning’s race was eventually abandoned due to misinterpretation of the course, but not before a few incidents causing boats to complete 720 turns. The afternoon’s race saw Sweet Caroline take their first win for the week followed by Karla and then Celia Mary, Madelaine having retired due to not completing the course correctly.

Tuesday’s weather was gratefully received by the fleet as a good opportunity to dry out the oilskins from the previous two day’s racing and to top up the tan. The morning race consisted of a triangular course with three rounds giving the crews a good workout on the foredeck and the helmsmen the agonising battle of playing catch up when four of the leading boats failed to go through the start finish line on completion of the first round.

Cloud Cuckoo took first place, closely followed by Madelaine and Celia Mary. With some 27 boats on the course, the one-design nature of the fleet ensured that good team work won the race.

Tuesday afternoon’s course took the fleet up to Black Rock then across the tide to Yacht Haven, back to Harwoods which became a real lottery of a leg with places won and lost being determined by opting for wind or less tide. Once again Madelaine scored a well deserved victory followed by Celia Mary and Hannchen took their best result for the week so far with a third.

Results (not including discards)

1st Sweet Caroline (R. Carran and B. Dingwall)

2nd equal Cloud Cuckoo (J. Stork)

2nd equal Cidron (R. Walters)

4th Karla (S. Jones) 5th Madelaine (E. Donald)