as seen by the UKWA News
A Biased Report by Nick Hodshon

The Strand Glass-sponsored UK Wayfarer crews had a tremendous time at the Fourth World Championship held at Tawas Bay, Michigan, USA from July 20th - 25th.  Remembering that all crews were sailing borrowed boats, it was an excellent UK result with a very dubious protest decision robbing Geoff Hodshon and Neil Harvie of the Championship title.

All but three people joined in the package-deal holiday arranged by John Williamson of Huntley Lambert Travel.  This involved flying from Heathrow to Amsterdam and then by DC10 to Toronto.  Here we picked up our rented cars and drove the 350 miles to Tawas Bay. There were only two packages missing when we arrived in Toronto - Alan Neville’s sails and Geoff Hodshon’s clothes and rudder; the sails turned up but Geoff had to re-kit himself completely with some decent clothes (for a change).

Most of the boats arrived on Saturday just in time to complete the measuring.  Sunday’s practice race started in almost calm conditions but with quite a popple on the water.  The Danish crews won by a convincing margin and were obviously delighted; the UK crews gave an appalling performance.

1st Race Force 2/3.  Geoff Hodshon and Neil Harvey took over the lead on the first reach and finished over three minutes ahead on the standard Olympic course.  This is the first time that a World Championship race had been won in a borrowed boat. Skip Remter of the USA was second, but it was a good day for the Brits with Martin Scobie and Mike Breed from Devon in third place; Alan Neville and Brian Dodd from Scotland were seventh.

2nd Race Force1/2.  Alan and Julia Schoenborn lead from the start closely followed by Neville and Scobie.  Nick and Mike Hodshon jumped into fourth place at the gybe mark and only just held off brother Geoff on the finishing line with the Koflers tenth.

3rd Race Force 0/1.  Nick Hodshon led up the first beat until he sailed into a hole 100 yards from the weather mark and rounded twelfth.  He then jumped into the lead again on the gybe, led up the beat and into the hole again to round fourth. The run turned into a beat and Linda and Patrick Sweet from Canada took over the lead. They beat Nick over the line by a foot with Schoenborn 3rd.  Geoff Hodshon was 7th, Scobie 11th and the Koflers 12th.  Alan Neville retired, perhaps unnecessarily, on the first beat and probably ruined his chances of the Championship title.

4th Race Force1/2.  There were big swings in the wind on each beat causing tremendous position changes.  Chris and Caroline Kofler worked through from 4th at the weather mark and covered carefully to win. Al Schoenborn was second with Alan Neville making up ten places on the last beat to finish third.  Geoff Hodshon finished 16th, Scobie 17th and Hinton 18th. Nick Hodshon threw away any chances of the title by losing 15 places on the last beat and finished25th.

5th Race Force 3/4.  This was a closely fought race in freshening conditions.  Geoff Hodshon was involved in a raft-up at the end of the second reach whilst in 15th place; he then turned on the power on the last two beats to finish a good first but was later disqualified to most people’s surprise.  This left the powerful French-Canadian, André Laframboise in first place and Skip Remter 2nd.  Graeme Hinton and Mark Loefler , the heavywei-ght Aldeburgh team really motored on the beats into 3rd position. The Koflers were 6th followed by Scobie and Neville in 7th and 8th respectively.

6th Race Force 3/4.  In ideal conditions, which many host sailors thought was a gale, Geoff Hodshon just beat Alan Neville, the pair of them really making up places on the reach and involved a prolonged tacking match on the last beat.  The Koflers had a good third with Remter 4th.  Nick Hodshon was 8th just ahead of Graeme Hinton who sailed half the race with his rudder lashed on after a pintle broke.  Scobie’s chances disappeared as he went over the side and capsized with a broken toestrap.

7th Race Force 2.  Again there was a big swing on the second beat which caused considerable changes of position in the middle of the fleet.  Any one of five boats could win the Championship, but it was the consistent Koflers who led all the way to take the race and the Championship.  Geoff Hodshon battled all the way to second place.  The Schoenborns were third, Remter, fourth and Neville fifth.  As the wind freshened, Hinton powered home seventh and Nick Hodshon recovered from a disastrous second beat to finish 11th.  Scobie, completely demoralized, finished 16th and Philip Warner and Mark Acaster finished a disappointing week with a 20th.

This was the fourth Wayfarer World Championship and it is obviously no coincidence that family crews have always won - father and son, and now twice running, husband and wife.  Chris and Carolyn Kofler are very popular winners in their 1976 GRP MkI boat built by Abbott with sails also made in Canada by Raudaschl.  Geoff Hodshon used a Moores GRP MkII which had previously won the North American Championship three times, using Seahorse sails.  Alan Neville had a brand new Abbott with Mountifield sails.  Scobie and Hinton also had Abbott MkIs with good reputations.  Nick Hodshon and Phil Warner both had what the Americans call ‘dongers’.

We were asked to produce someone to talk on local radio and Graeme Hinton made sure he drew the short straw.  With typical British phlegm he used three words never heard in Tawas Bay before - Aldeburgh and strong winds.  The hospitality of both Americans and, on the way home, the Canadians, was tremendous.  The size of hamburgers, pizzas and Coke cartons is immense and almost as impressive as the Niagara Falls, which we all marvelled at on our way home. We felt we had travelled a long way but Jay Gregory, the US measurer, had towed his boat nearly 3,000 miles from Washington State and had even bought us all a bag of Mt. St. Helen volcanic dust collected from his garden.

It really had been a wonderful championship and the hosts for the next event have a very high standard to maintain.


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