Burghfield Travellers Trophy – Hansa Class National Series No.1 & Western Series No.1
Burghfield Sailing Club, near Reading, was the venue for the first of this season's Travellers Trophy series on Tuesday 28th April. Leslie Philip and I represented Tideway in the 303 Single and Liberty classes. Conditions were ideal with a good fresh breeze and sunshine all day. 27 boats turned up to race: 7 x 303 single, 2 x 303 double, 4 x 2.3 and 9 Liberty's. This was a good turn out, especially for the Liberty class; this fleet has grown since I last took part in 2011.
We were supported on the day by Kate Tierney and Hugh from the club along Des, with my P.A.. A friend of mine, Steve, towed the boats to The venue on the day before, giving us time to unload and prepare the boats without pressure.
There was a bottleneck at the pontoon with only a single hoist in operation; more sailors had turned up than expected. This gave me time to get set up in my boat – (we are on a learning curve without Dave Shill) – I still managed to be the last away to the start.
Two 30 minute races were held, back to back, around a trapezoid course before lunch and two after. Each class started separately, with the Liberty's going first. I had a poor start to race one but got lucky with the wind shifts on the windward legs and managed 2nd place. A good start to race 2 put me in the lead. I just managed to hold on until the end of the race whilst having a good tussle with Dave Durston, the Liberty Champion.
I couldn't resist the cooked lunch on offer in the club house but that was no excuse for the terrible start I made to race 3. I pulled back a couple of places to finish 6th. I made up for it with a good start to race 4 but despite leading for most of the race, I allowed DD to get an inside overlap on the last downwind leg and finished in 2nd place giving me 2nd overall.
Next time I'll have my wing mirrors and be able to better defend my position.
Deaf Tideway sailor Leslie in one person class
Our Deaf sailor Leslie Philip has been racing the two person 303 Access class on the circuit for over two years. This will be his first season sailing the 303 one person class. At the briefing, as previously planned with Leslie, the means of communicating a protest if hearing sailors felt he had breached the rules was discussed, and readily agreed. All Access racing, whatever the class, requires a single 360 degree penalty turn. Racing rules for small boats require a hail of ‘protest’, which a profoundly Deaf sailor won’t hear. A protest hand signal with the index finger pointing downwards swinging in a circle was shown to the hearing sailors (it doesn’t matter in which direction the finger circles). It was also explained that Leslie would not be intending a breach of the rules, so hopefully the signal would not be needed.
It is not intended to impose this hand sign as a definitive protest signal for Deaf sailors in all classes of sailing boats. The Access classes all have sailors sitting facing forwards, suiting this way of communicating. The sign is also pretty intuitive for a hearing person to indicate a boat needs to turn in a circle.
It was also asked that a visual signal be given by the committee boat when Leslie crossed the finishing line in addition to the sound signal given to hearing sailors. The committee boat crew at the briefing signalled the thumbs up sign.
At the end of racing
Leslie scored 2nd then 3rd in the morning, then 3rd and 2nd in the afternoon. The photo shows him coming in after the last race signing that he got a second place.
At the prize giving
Leslie scored third place overall. Frensham sailor, Peter Etherton, who got first place in the two person class, asked us to tell Leslie that he had sailed supremely well, splitting the two Frensham sailors, who won first and second places. Leslie is heavier than them, one disadvantage to overcome. He enjoyed his days racing, and wants to work on tactics to prevent boats getting past him.
Deaf people wanting to try sailing, or sailing already, are welcome to Tideway to build your sailing community. Leslie will be at Tideway on Thursdays.