This is the 6th year of running Bart’s Bash at FFSC, giving us an opportunity to commemorate and remember the life of Andrew Simpson and donate money towards the work of the Andrew Simpson Foundation.
Club Line Start at 1030hrs – Downriver start
Channel Course out to sea
Cobbolds Point (Port)
Woodbridge Haven (Port)
Channel Course into the river
This year’s edition of Bart’s Bash brought some plain sailing conditions; a perfect 12 knot breeze, lovely sunny weather, a neap ebb tide and low water at 2:30pm. It was a perfect chance to dust off the sailing boots. Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club saw an incredible turnout of 23 boats for this year’s event which included Dave Coles on his foiling windsurfer, Tom Creane on yacht ‘Moonshine’ and two visiting dinghies from Waldringfield Sailing Club, Andrew and Daisy Nunn on their RS 200 and Karrie Clark and Lia Fletcher on their 29er. RO of the day, Tim O’Leary had a perfect course planned for the day and explained how racers could donate to the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.
The 5 minute gun went, and nearly all boats were afloat. Ed Swain, singlehanding his Dad’s Dart 18, was nowhere to be seen on the line. He had left his mainsheet at home and only realised as he was about to launch. Fortunately, he borrowed a Dart 16 one and would have absolutely no more problems during the race (absolutely).
At the gun, the sailors were off, with the RS 400s, RS 200 and 29er taking the lead. Perhaps, some sailors were too keen as a couple boats were recalled, causing a doubleback across the line for some and one of the Lasers to receive an OCS. First Laser off the line was Max Evans and John Daniels, showing the younger laser sailors how it’s done. Ed Swain continued his string of having no problems, after being late to the start, managed to catch up to the rest of the fleet and was gaining on the leaders. That was until his mainsheet jammed and he capsized. Eventually the front of the fleet broke free from the river into the choppy waters; Dave Coles disappeared off into the sunset on his magic flying board as soon as he hit the sea.
The race was now really on; who could find Cobbold Point first? Sam Walker and Mont Barker on their Dart 18 managed to get some speed going on the clear water, and then discovered how much faster dinghies can tack than them after a close shave with the 29er. The RS 400 sailed by Dave Robertson and Chris Coe was in close company to Roger Lewis and Gemma Smith in their RS 400 and the visiting RS 200 of Andrew Nunn and Daisy Nunn as they all opted to stick closer inshore to avoid the tide; a tactic adopted by the rest of the fleet. Whilst the 29er, Hurricane and Dart 18 sailed on longer tacks further out to sea. First round the mark was obviously Dave Coles, followed by the Hurricane, Dart 18 and the 29er.
Spinnakers (if they had one) were hoisted for this sprint leg back to Woodbridge Haven. The 29er shot off downwind, overtaking the Dart 18 and closing down on the hurricane. First round the mark was Dave Coles again (Hint: Dave Coles is first to every mark) followed by the hurricane and the 29er. The race now turned to a twitchy beam reach back to the channel cans, which proved too tight for the asymmetrics, until they were through back into the river. Mont and Sam’s kiteless boat now had the advantage as they overtook the 29er and the Hurricane (who were too busy doing 360s near the red can for the thrills).
When someone mentions the bar, they’re either referring to grabbing a pint or the inhospitable sandbank between the sea and the River Deben. Noone is safe from running aground, even the regular club sailors. Unfortunately, despite sailing on top form so far, the visitors, Karrie and Lia, were not as familiar with the shingle and ran the 29er aground on the central bank, pitchpoling the boat onto the bank. The RS 400 match race was promptly halted as Roger conceded and decided to go swimming instead on his way into the river, allowing Dave to break away.
Once those who survived the bar made it into the river, it was a fight against a weak tide to oyster and round to greenpoint before reaching back to the line through the moorings. Taking line honors was an easy feat for Dave Coles as he proved that his new foiling tech was the way forward and way faster, finishing the race in an impressive 60 minutes. Over 10 minutes later, the Dart 18 of Sam Walker and Matt “Mont” Barker crossed the line, followed by Ed Swain who had managed to make a small redemption after his swimming practice. Across the line next was Mike Hill on his Prindle 15, Paul Williams on his Sprint 15. First double hander across the line was Dave Robertson and Chris Coe in the RS 400 and first Laser across was Max Evans, followed tightly by John Daniels.
Bart’s Bash isn’t all about the racing; it’s about inspiring the next generation of sailors. This year saw three family boats with young competitors on the water this, with Simon and Libby Scammell on a club 2000, Matt and Fynnley Read in the club RS Vision. With our youngest helm on the water being Charlie Downey in a 2000 with Malcolm Last.
In third place was the visiting RS 200 sailed by Andrew and Daisy Nunn. After a tight battle between the two Laser professionals, John Daniels settled for second place whilst Max Evans took the glory and won first place. First Multihull was Sam Walker and Matt Barker in their Dart 18; first hired club boat was Simon Scammell and Libby Scammell in the club 2000 (Woolf). Congratulations to Max Evans for winning the FFSC Bart’s Bash 2020 Race.
Currently, we are still waiting for the global results so keep an eye on the Bart’s Bash website. We would like to thank Tim O’Leary for being the Race Officer, the Safety Team, Richard Woolf, Ed Swain and Sam Walker for assisting in the smooth running of the race.