as seen by the CWA Whiffle
“Hike for Canada!” was the cry aboard BUMBLE BEE - and, by George, it worked - Chris and Carolyn Kofler of Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club have brought the Wayfarer World Championship to Canada, the first ever victory by a non-UK boat.
Everything came together for the Koflers at the perfect time. They sailed a sane, careful series that was free of major blunders and finished at the front of a close group of five contenders. Meanwhile, three of the next four were hurt badly by foul trouble.
Leading the heartbreak parade were runners-up, Geoff Hodshon with crew, Neil Harvie, of the UK. Despite losing a well-earned first in race 5 as the result of a four-way protest that easily might have gone his way, Geoff ended only 2.9 pts. back of the Koflers.
Only 0.7 back of Hodshon were Scotsman, Alan Neville, and Brian Dodd, who sailed well in six races and retired in one at the start after an alleged foul that most of the rest of us would likely have (successfully?) contested.
The U.S. team of Skip Remter and John Weiksnar sailed a steady, competent series, discarding their only mistake (a 26th) and placing 4th, only 1.3 pts. out of third.
The WHIFFLE hit the top five, a mere 7.3 pts. out of first. Al and Julia Schönborn 0f Bronte Harbour YC, Oakville, lost their chance at the overall victory when they had to count a 15th instead of a first-race 4th that became a DSQ due to a misunderstanding of the “One-Minute Rule”.
Following the closely-knit bunch at the top, some daylight began to appear between the finishers. Canada was, as expected, well represented with three more boats in the top ten. André Laframboise with his new crew, Peter Rahn, was a bit off his usual top form but still managed 6th, well ahead of the irrepressible Nick Hodshon (brother of Geoff) and his son, Michael.
Linda and Patrick Sweet of Bramalea nipped out a fourth UK team, Martin Scobie and Mike Breed for 8th. Rounding out the top ten was another hard-luck entry, Bronte’s Alf Easy (with John Pocock very ably replacing the exam-ridden Mike Codd). Alf suffered the ironic fate of fouling Al S. right on the finish line and losing a sure 4th as both skippers were unaware of Al's impending love note from the RC in race 1. Canada was well represented by its remaining four entries also in the extremely well balanced fleet.
George Blanchard set a record by appearing in his fourth consecutive Worlds, as he crewed in Graham Dodd’s solid 15th place finish.
Even though nothing ever seemed to quite right for the Rogers, Mister Bill and Ann nonetheless took 16th in the select fleet. And perhaps the most deceptive placing in this Worlds was the 22nd logged by Brian Love and Dennis Langley. They never really placed anywhere near a lowly(?) 22nd. In race 2, the boat beside them was informed by the Rescue Boat that they had started early. After allowing Love to sail another 500 yards, the boat returned and informed Brian that he, too, had been over early. A five-minute spinnaker run brought them back to the start line and a subsequent broken outhaul confirmed 31st. Twice more in the seven races, Brian and Dennis had foul trouble, including a boo-boo that cost them a potential 4th in the final race.
None of us, however, suffered like Derwyn Hughes who had trailed in all the way from Calgary. Derwyn was hospitalized with intestinal infortitude (of some kind) after race 4. He was well on the way to recovery by the time we left, but had to miss the final three races.
IT WAS A GREAT WORLDS DEPT.:
PRACTICE RACE: winds NE, 2-12 knots; four legs (triangle - windward)
A sizeable back just prior to the start favoured the port end of the line where both Al Schönborn and Geoff Hodshon were recalled (in error, it later turned out). Geoff went back and never recovered as the race subsequently turned into a parade with a one-tack beat, a close reach, a run and a one-tack beat. Al sailed on into the header too far and overlaid the mark so that Danes, Peter and Søren Gøtzsche rounded first, with Al and Dick Rothery close astern. A further back in the wind ruled out continued use of spinnakers. Fast reaction from Julia put Al into the lead while both Peter and Dick were hurt by delayed spi takedowns. The former also suffered from trusting the bearings provided by the RC. Chris Kofler moved into contention on this leg, challenging the Danes for 2nd during the ensuing run. In view of the earlier recall, Al chose to pass on the wrong side of the finish mark. Peter and Søren thus took the win in a close finish with Chris Kofler.
MONDAY - RACE 1: winds W, 10-15 knots.
After two General Recalls and a Postponement, the race finally got underway. Those who went to starboard early and to the port side late in the first beat got the best of things. Skip Remter was first around, followed by a horde of boats that included Geoff, Alan, Martin Scobie, Linda, Dick, Nick Seraphinoff and Al. By the gybe mark, Geoff had taken a lead that he proceeded to increase throughout the remainder of the race, as he grabbed off the U.K. Trophy for race 1.
The fight for the remaining top positions tightened up considerably on the final beat as the wind veered and several starboard side boats (notably Alf Easy) made substantial gains. Skip Remter managed to hold off Martin Scobie to take 2nd. A wild finish line confrontation saw Al and Alf get tangled up, resulting in a DNF for Alf and a (temporary) 4th and a (permanent) hole in the bow for Al.
Close behind and rushing over to make sure someone had dropped out was Linda who was just in front of Nick Seraphinoff. Dick Rothery, Chris Kofler and Alan Neville rounded out the top contending group. Those finishing 6th or lower got a bonanza in this one, as three of the top ten were thrown out: Al for a one-minute rule infraction, Alf for his encounter on the finish line with Al, and Nick for a premature start.
- RACE 2: winds E, 8-15 knots.
Martin Scobie took 3rd once more, while Nick Hodshon nipped out brother, Geoff, by being on starboard at the finish line. Linda Sweet led another close group in 6th, just beating Skip Remter and Jim and Linda Heffernan. 9th and 10th went to the quartet in yellow from TS&CC: Bill and Ann Rogers and Chris and Carolyn Kofler.
TUESDAY - RACE 3: Postponed to Wednesday due to thunderstorm.WEDNESDAY - RACE 3: winds W, 10-12 knots, oscillating and decreasing to flat calm; replaced by slowly increasing lake breeze E on the final two legs. For photos, click here!
An untimely dead spot back of the start line cost the WHIFFLE a view of the leaders until these got their own dead spots near the windward mark. Early contenders, Nick and Dave Seraphinoff were the first to fall, as they retired after much of the fleet had passed them while they sat becalmed.
Bill and Ann Rogers made the most of their wind, however, to round first with the hungry pack (including Geoff, Dick, Skip, Linda, Phil Warner with Mark Acaster, André and Al) nipping at their heels. Going high was not the move this time, however, as the wind died there first. Dick and Dolores Rothery took over the lead at the next two marks, with Geoff and Al overlapped rounding onto the second beat in the fight for 2nd. Still very close were Nick H., André, Joe and Brian DeBrincat, Linda, and Peter Gøtzsche. Al rode the dying westerly into a narrow lead onto the run, just ahead of Joe and Nick H. Nick H. and Al, on the premise that a dying wind lasts longest near shore, gybed onto port tack. Well… it didn't this time as Joe and then Linda and Gary Warner with Mark Olin rode a fine wind streak into the top three places. By the time the west wind died entirely, Linda (1st) and Joe (2nd) had 300 yards on the rest of the fleet while Nick, Al and Gary were neck and neck for 3rd. As the wind filled in from the lake (E), Linda widened her lead to near half a leg. All was not yet decided however, as Linda reached the no-wind zone between the new lake breeze and the weather system wind. Nick Hodshon and Al closed in on, and passed Joe, and then the becalmed Linda. With Nick holding a slight edge over Al and Linda (as seen along the rhumb line), the Finish Line took over. Instead of the usual angle of 90º to the rhumb line of a free leg, it was angled at about 135º to it, vastly favouring the leeward end where Linda was.
No one was more surprised than Linda and Pat (thinking there was another leg and busy taking down the spi) when they got the gun in the closest finish of the series to win the Scandinavian Wayfarer Trophy. Runner-up, Nick Hodshon, and 3rd place Al Schönborn both overlapped the winners in the extremely lively finish.
Joe DeBrincat took 4th despite a late challenge from André Laframboise and Gary Warner. Geoff Hodshon managed 7th before early leader, Dick Rothery crossed the line. Skip Remter had his third straight top ten placing in 9th while our own Graham Dodd with George Blanchard took 10th.WEDNESDAY - RACE 4: winds SE, 5-10 knots. For race photos, click here!
Patchy winds at the start saw Gary Warner and Mark Olin take off like a shot on a long port tack. While Gary was building a huge lead off to starboard, the WHIFFLE boat got into a fairly lengthy and dangerous duel off to port with Deem and Donna Hirschfield, away from the main body of the fleet. The "gods" were smiling, however, and Al ended in a close fight over 2nd around the windward mark with Chris, Jim H. and Graham. After two spinnaker reaches, Chris, Jim and Al were a bit closer to Gary, and virtually even with each other going onto the second beat.
A progressive back in the wind saw Kofler and Heffernan go left and take the inside route on Schönborn and Warner for further gains. Kofler finally put some excitement into the race as he just got past Warner near the end of the run, while Al did the same to Jim. Kofler, as usual, became invincible once in the lead, and easily took the U.S. Wayfarer Trophy. Meanwhile, Gary continued to sail his own race, while Al was determined not to let Jim get away.
But wait! Who are these guys in the white suits???? 7-2-2-7.... Neville: But he was so far back... Meanwhile Gary Warner hits two dead spots near the finish and the race for 2nd goes down to the wire. Al just in front of, yes, Alan who just nips Gary, who has barely enough wind to beat Jim across the line.
After all this, a seemingly huge gap before two Canadians appear in 6th and 7th: André in front of Brian Love and Dennis Langley in the LOVE BOAT. Dick Rothery is 8th once more while, grinning from ear to ear, Alf and John cross 9th, having taken the starboard side flyer and moved up from 20th on the final leg. Joe DeBrincat is still up there with a 10th.
With two days and three races to go, the top contenders have taken shape as follows (dropping one race):
THURSDAY - RACE 5: Race time came along with dead calm and indefinite postponement. Lake breeze starts to fill in near noon from E to SE. WHIFFLE goes out first, eager to test the developing breeze. Two hours elapse as RC prepares course. Winds continue to develop and Al wishes he had left later and taken the sails that are so good in the heavy going...
5: winds SE, 12-20 knots.
Crossing 4th was the cigar-puffing owner of the venerable W 32, Graeme Hinton and crew, Mark Loeffler. Quick, now, who else do we know that likes heavy air???? Of course, Alf was there in 5th in front of Linda Sweet who moved very well considering the light-weight crew. Chris Kofler then took 7th over three more UK boats: Martin Scobie, Alan Neville and Nick Hodshon.
- RACE 6: winds as for race 5.
When Geoff won, he apparently had locked up the title for 1980. Chris and Carolyn, hiking for Canada, took 3rd over Skip and Alf. André could do no better than 6th in this one, while Jim Heffernan took a close 7th from Nick Hodshon, Nick Seraphinoff and Graham Dodd.
THURSDAY - THE PROTEST: The four-boat collision at the leeward mark in race 5 resulted in a lengthy protest. Graeme Hinton, Al Schönborn, Geoff Hodshon and Linda Sweet approached the mark overlapped. The only disagreement arose between Geoff and Linda. The former stated that his boom had hit Linda's forestay during the rounding and that he had been given insufficient room. The latter stated that she had neither seen nor felt a collision. After lengthy deliberation, the Protest Committee disallowed Geoff's Protest, resulting in Geoff's DSQ from a 1st. After this protest, the Worlds was once more wide open, with Alan Neville holding the inside track as follows (one drop):
FRIDAY - RACE 7: winds SW, 12-15 knots, dropping to 6-8 knots in mid-race, finishing 15-20 knots. For race photos, click here!
With new sails (Richard's ultimate all-weather answer) and some sheeting tips from the UK Team, the WHIFFLE boat was ready to have another go at the heavier weather. Suprise, surprise! We are passing boats. Another surprise: we tack to port after a not too long starboard tack and are on the port tack layline! Fortunately, we don't have to pay too badly for this blunder as only Chris sits on us for the long ride to the mark.
BUMBLEE BEE moves well and holds 100 yards of lead going onto the reaches, with Geoff, who had correctly put in the long port tack first, rounding just in front of Al. Brian Love rounded a heady 4th over Alan Neville but lost the latter on the spi legs.
Meanwhile, Geoff and Al had closed in on Chris and the three rounded onto beat 2 in a close group. In lighter winds, the Koflers were in top form while Geoff, Al and Alan all missed shifts and/or scored direct hits on dead spots.
Brian moved briefly back into 4th before fouling Alan and retiring. Skip, meanwhile benefitted from a long starboard side flyer and roared around onto the run just behind Al who was staying close to Geoff. A further veer in the wind which was now up to the previous day’s strength, turned the final beat into a one-tack ride.
Chris and Carolyn Kofler, with a comfortable lead, made no mistake to take both the final race and the 1980 Worlds title. Geoff Hodshon and Neil Harvie held their one-boatlength edge over Al to finish 2nd in both the race and the series.
Al and Julia Schönborn, meanwhile, were thrilled and amazed at being able to keep right up with the considerably heavier Hodshon/Harvie crew despite being consistently overpowered up the entire final beat. Their 3rd gave them 5th in the series.
Skip Remter and John Weiksnar held 4th in both the race and the series, while Alan Neville and Brian Dodd dropped out of the lead into 3rd overall by placing only 5th in the final heat.
Joe DeBrincat had another good race with a 6th in front of Graeme Hinton and André Laframboise. Nick Seraphinoff brightened his series finish a bit with his second straight 9th, as did Bill Rogers in 10th.
Some of the better sailors overlaid the first mark badly and bombed out as a result. The mark was nowhere near dead upwind, but it was correctly placed at 245º , as the RC indicated, and the 265º port tack heading should have made more of us suspicious.
APPENDIX: Did Chris and Carolyn get thrown in????? - Not at Tawas, but at TS&CC which is infinitely WORSE... ah, the price of glory...
CONGRATULATIONS FROM THE WHIFFLE, CHRIS AND CAROLYN!
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