A record 19 Marbleheads and 4 BOTTLE boats from 3 MYA districts entered this Guildford Model Yacht Club Christmas event and enjoyed some wild sailing at times in a gusty variable west south-west wind, which varied from 30 mph down to 5 or 6 mph at the end of the day. It was only then that the tall A rigs were used, as for most of the day the Marbleheads were using C or C2 rigs and the small rig on BOTTLE boats.

All raced together on the same countdown with BOTTLE boats starting at 30 seconds and sailing a smaller windward leeward course, roughly half the 180 m Marblehead course. This proven objective was that both classes should finish at more or less at the same time. During the briefing a strong gust collapsed one of the gazebo legs and created a delay whilst this was packed away and the contents rescued. 

Only 8 finished the 2nd race as a massive squall caused a lot of rig and some gear failure. With several new faces to this form of racing, it took some time for them to settle on the right rig and trim and some had to retire permanently where no repair was feasible.

MYA vice-chairman Phil Holliday won the first race followed by multiple world champion dinghy sailor Colin Goodman in the 2nd and Martin Crysell in 3rd place. Colin, who had never used his C rigs before, set up a good trim and went on to win the next 4 races in fine style. In Race 5 Peter Stollery was the runner-up, but only 2 places behind him was his 9 year old son Oliver sailing a refurbished UPROAR and was absolutely delighted to be sailing so fast, especially downwind! The last race before lunch, Race 6, was won by John Shorrock after a really good start taking him to the windward mark first, after which he developed a big lead to the finish. 

This didn’t dent Colin’s score by very much and left him top of the lunchtime leaderboard with 6 points ahead of Martin with 15 and Phil on 16 points. As is traditional at this event GMYC served mince pies and hot mulled wine for lunch, which was welcomed to warm up cold hands and provide a central

gathering point for lots of chat etc.

When racing resumed the wind was still blowing hard from the westerly or west south-westerly direction and Colin demonstrating how good he was by winning races all the final 7 races with the exception of Race 9 when Peter beat him and Race in 11 when Phil beat him. During the afternoon the wind lightened and A rigs got an airing for the last 2 races.

The BOTTLE boats changed to their big rig at the same time, but it made little difference to the results as Peter Shepherd continued to win every race, beating either Keith Parrott or 7 year old Nathan Stollery into 2nd place!

Race Officer, Roger Stollery added up only the best 9 scores as he complained that he did not know his 19 times table for adding all of the multiple DNCs or DNFs scores! He first presented the BOTTLE boat trophy to Peter Shepherd and then called on the runners-up to collect their wrapped present, which was the only entry fee for this event. Peter thanked Roger and the Guildford team for running the events in somewhat difficult circumstances.

Colin collected the Brass Monkey for winning this event and also the MIDGLEY Memorial MUG for winning the whole GAMES series for 2019 with a perfect score of 500. He also thanked Roger and the Guildford team for creating a marvellous day’s sailing. One visitor from the Cotswold club, Garry Stephenson, who was new to Marblehead sailing had a smile on his face all day because he was thoroughly enjoying just sailing his Marblehead in such good whizzy wind conditions. His STARKERS hardly ever left the water!

This year GAMES included events in the Midland as well as the Eastern districts, which increased the number of competitors racing Marbleheads in open events to such an extent that the 65 total is nearly twice last year’s numbers and 50% more than those on the current Marblehead ranking list. It is a popular format encouraging average club skippers to go racing and with 10 events next year prospects look good for more relaxed, but competitive Marblehead sailing in 2020.

Marblehead Results:

1st Colin Goodman Chelmsford GRUNGE 13

2nd Phil Holliday Datchet GRUNGE 32

3rd Martin Crysell Guildford PRIME NUMBER 32

4th Peter Stollery Guildford UP 46

5th Peter Dunne Woking STARKERS 59

6th Alan Viney Guildford PRIME NUMBER 89

7th Peter Jackson Abington Park UP 90

8th Oliver Stollery Guildford UPROAR 94

9th Garry Stephenson Cotswold STARKERS 99

10th John Shorrock Datchet QUARK 111

11th Roy Pearson Guildford ROK 121

12th Charles Wand Tetley Guildford WHISPER 165

13th David Wilkinson Cotswold ROAR EDGE 184

14th Alf Reynolds Chelmsford ROCKET 189

15th = Mark Mortimore Guildford UPROAR 209

15th = Graham Hetem Datchet QUARK 209

15th = Andy Davies Cotswold ROAR EDGE 209

15th = Peter Kirby Woking PARADOX 209

BOTTLE boat results

1st Peter Shepherd Abington Park 11

2nd Keith Parrott Frensham Pond 30

3rd Nathan Stollery Guildford 36