Wa(l)ter At Another Mark - 1973 European Championships at Troon

A fleet of Mirror dinghies running down to finish a race

On Saturday 4th August. we set sail for the European Championships at Troon, Scotland. l was convinced I was going to win — so the rest is worth reading! Bowling merrily up the M6 we were overhauled by Bill and Ken Webber with their brand new boat 'Slithy Tove'. I felt sorry to see them so happy, wasn‘t I going to beat them!

 'Crisgar' sailed by Les Owen, and 'Mini', sailed by my son Chris, were two other Northwich boats heading towards Troon, We were all accompanied by the ladies who do the washing up — Pat, Norma and Megan — three of the nicest chorus girls you could wish to meet!

A selection of photos by David Paterson, Troon S.C. Hon. Sailing Secretary taken from the Committee Boat. Click to open lightbox display.

At Troon we found that the generosity of the Town Council meant we could camp right there beside the Clubhouse — along with about 70 other units. l abandoned the tent for the car in the early hours of Sunday morning as the wind got up.

Saturday evening saw us all stamping around in the pouring rain, while the band competed with the generators, and the warmth was found inside us (and the welcome from Troon Sailing Club).

The Practice Race was (comparatively) uneventful — won by Peter Barnes, sailing his usual superb style. He carried off the Collar Spars prize for this particular race. in the evening we all enjoyed the Commodore's reception. Monday was the day when the Champs really got warmed up eventually, and with such light airs that the race Officer had trouble setting a course. After several postponements, and a ‘follow me and await further instructions‘ we got started. Chris and Trevor Smith in 'Spook' had a battle of wits with paddles, while Peter Barnes tried to get down his spinnaker chute — I wish the damned  thing had swallowed him!

Race 2 on Monday afternoon — well! what can I say? A squall, or at least part of it, hit the entire fleet just as we were going out — and that was that. It was at this point the seamanship (or lack of it) showed — several boats were not carrying anchors, and when the Troon rescue boats took off the bodies, the boats had to drift — and sustained damage. I believe the race officer abandoned the race, l was too far inshore already! All around there seemed to be chaos, boats shaking themselves like shaggy dogs,  boats upside down, and worst of all, boats completely out of control, achieving speed which would have had Rodney Pattison reading Paul Elvstrom.

Next morning,  and a ‘Rear Commordore‘s purge!’ ALL boats had to show to Brian and Sally not only their anchors, but where they were attached to the boat — and you’d be surprised at how many were neatly wrapped up in plastic bags — useless when it came to the point!

Anyway, I held all the others back, finished seventh, and allowed son Chris to come in 12th, after forgetting his life jacket.

The briefing at the start of the Championships was excellent full of details and firm instructions — including the bit about the salmon nets close to the harbour wall! With true Scots cunning, Hugh Campbell laid the start of the third race quite close to this obstacle. With the cries of ‘Water‘ ‘Room to Tack‘ and ‘Starboard‘ and the slack water, I was completely baffled. I eventually came 26th, and Chris who sailed much worse, 12th — I shall have to keep my eye on him!

Tuesday evening the Provost and Councillors gave us a lavish reception — large quantities of the local malt, and a dance. Wednesday was a free day and we went on the steamer around the Kyles of Bute. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it would have been better had I helmed — perhaps they had seen my results!

Thursday: I waited for Jeckells van to arrive (many thanks Peter!) and hastily purchased a new — longer — spinnaker halliard, dashed down the beach, launched with the rest of the fleet, and decided to try it out on the way to the start. Now the wind was offshore, and I asked Eddie, my crew, to assist me in setting this wonderful sail. Once up, it began to pull and pull! I seemed to pass one or two boats quite quickly, the rest seemed to scatter like the crowd at a stink bomb demonstration! By this time, Eddie‘s face was white as a flour grader's and I realised that this must stop! I ordered the spinnaker down, but the boat would have none of it, and promptly laid down and died!

After what appeared to be only minutes in the water, a ‘Rubber Duck‘ arrived, and offered us assistance. I asked them to hang around for a second whilst I tried to get 'Maxi' upright.

That damned spinnaker had engulfed the jib, and all the surronding ropes. etc. After circling us for three or four minutes, the rescue craft said he would have to go unless none of the others wanted to race! He was the Guard Launch! Many thanks to Ian for standing by! and for taking Eddie and I to the nearest fibreglass dinghy which put us aboard the Catamaran whose skipper appeared to be Scots, and shouted with gay abandon ’Gie 'im a wee dram — Rum was the drink, and rum was the sight with boats scattered everywhere by the rising wind.

A solitary boat — sail number 14! appeared, called 'Mimi', and the helmsman, Harry Taylor, shouted to us in astonishment “What are you doing up there?" “Having a drink,” I replied, “where else could you get one so cheap?" He was quite a long way from the start, but then, so was I!

I had left 'Maxi' on her side, anchored, and didn't realise she was later to drift way down the coast. This was due, so I was told, to me not anchoring her properly — I had the warp around the mast instead of from the ‘sharp’ end. However, after Harry had sailed out of my life,  I noticed 'Mini' was also riding at anchor, and Chris and his crew were also taken aboard the Cat to the tune of the skipper's ‘Gie 'em a wee dram!‘

'Mini' had been swamped whilst hove to, and finally capsized, so Chris and Garry had righted her, dropped and lashed the sails and left her snugged down to be picked up later — she was riding at anchor when they left her. I consider this to be the most sensible action, though the boat later drifted for miles and could have been lost — at least my son and his crew were with me and others on board a large, safe, cat.

Later a naval helicopter spotted 'Mini' and hovered over her which aided the Troon rescue boats, and the borrowed army jeeps (complete with drivers for the week) to drive around to fetch her home.

At this point, may I thank ALL concerned with the rescue facilities at Troon. I believe a full air and sea search was launched, and can only think that our Association Committee made a very wise choice in their venue. Should there ever be another opportunity to stage a Championship at Troon, I should delighted to attend.

Thursday night: the local Gas Board (a welcome sight as we came ashore each day, as they served hot bovril) sponsored us all to haggis swedes and mashed potato! I am told I should have poured whisky over the haggis — I didn't, I poured it in afterwards! The occasion was the traditional Scottish Ceilidh! We all danced, reeled (!) sang, watched demonstrations of superb Scottish dancing, listened to pipes, and were entertained by the competing National Associations. The Danes sang, the Swedes composed a song for the occasion, so did the Dutch. My son Chris led a team of young English with his guitar and Norman Long (Chairman of the Irish Association) entertained us all week with The Long Boat — Mirror Dinghy 04 — which is out of Class on at least a dozen points — and which he sails wearing a crash helmet — the sense in this scheme is apparent!

Friday arrived all too soon, and the racing got underway. I got off to a lovely start — eventually worked up to about 9th, but, seeing all the unhappy faces I had decided I was definitely best and came passed, dropped back to 15th! Chris 31st!

During the week, several things happened to make life almost worth living. Like the Swedish girl skipping down through the tents! She was beautiful, though poor — what I mean is, she had no visible means of support — and in eyeing this well rounded maiden,  I smiled and promptly fell over a guy rope (in doubt put there by Megan). And the toilet tent which smiled a welcome with it's shining zip, but would not let me out when I had reported for duty! This had me caged up about four times in the Week. On the camp site there was one happy family whom I christened the “quality street gang" This is the family of George Meller. There are six lovely children, one bearded dad, and a long suffering, happy-go-lucky wife called Anne. The warmth of this family is quite astonishing, and it shows the care and affection which ‘large family’ living generates. one of those children crewed for me — Edward. The thing about him was the care he put into my boat. He didn't knock or scratch, drop or crease any put of it, he even washed her down and covered her up for me. If my sailing was as good as his crewing we should have done better.

Even though he had never capsized on the sea before, though frightened, he did exactly as he was told, amd gave me not a moment’s worry. Together we came 15th overall — thank you, Eddie, see you up at the blunt end at Looe. And thank you, George and Anne for the wonderful production!

Now next to our tent there appeared a strange creation which, though battered all week with never a tear shed, housed one Peter Barnes. I sent Chris in to stay, in case he talked in his sleep. As these two rebels bummed their way all over Troon, this long-suffering tent gradually reached the kneeling position by the end of the week. Finally to be ‘put down’ on the Thursday night. On Thursday we spent a very rough night with Lynn and Harry Taylor, while Chris and Peter spent a ‘free night‘ with Willie Allison who was none other than the 'Gie 'im a wee dram’ skipper. This kind gentleman looked after them when they should have been jailed by the ‘Blacks at Greenock' for cruelty to tents.

I should also like to thank Frank Moon who kindly loaned the Shearwater to Peter and Chris who hasn't stopped talking about it since. Chris hasn't said much about his trip on horseback — and Harvey Smith to you too, lan!

The Northwich team, though not covering themselves with glory, nonetheless sailed well. Peter Barnes, with three firsts, a second, and a mere 6th to discard, was supreme — and we all drooled over the conditions and shine on the Danish boats — it was wonderful sailing among such an international gathering. We have been to Scotland several times, and it's always the same — ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL. Please and thank you. Excuse me, can I help you? At Troon Sailing Club, at the shops in Troon nothing was too much trouble for these grand people. They gave us food and drink of the best, and as Bengt Forster of Sweden said at the Prize giving “we saw only sunshine, and felt light breezes" What a good turn of phrase he has! I'm sure all the visitors to Troon felt as I do — the richer for having been.

At the Prize giving we hailed a new European Champion, and who can deny him and his excellent crew - Peter Barnes and Hilary Taylor, what a double act! Peter has been bridesmaid so many times, so he knows more than most what it is like to be beaten.

Well done, mate! you deserve it, and what about that prize from Gray's at Ayr? Good luck with her, Hilary, named the ‘Magic Carpet’ may she give you much pleasure, and always be foam-backedl

Now, on to Looe.....

Report written by Walter Maxfield - M27753 - Maxi

Results, 5 races, 4 to count.

Rank Boat Helm & Crew Club Country R1 R2 R3 R4 R5
1 15500 - Medusa Peter Barnes & Hilary Taylor IPC (Iver) YC England 2 1 (6) 1 1
2 6950 - Pinta Derek Beere IPC (Iver) YC England (RTD) 3 2 3 4
3 32692 - Just a Second S Robertson Forfar SC Scotland 3 2 7 (16) 6
4 32067 - C.E. II Richard Dalby Crawley Mariners YC England 4 5 1 (RTD) 9
5 15000 - Iver's Bird Roy Partridge IPC (Iver) YC England 1 (DSQ) 5 11 2
6 14177 - Spook? Trevor? Smith IPC (Iver) YC England 9 4 4 (RTD) 5
7 22295 J. Firkins Ely SC England 18 6 8 8 10
8 39292 - Slithy Tove? Bill & Ken Webber Northwich SC England 5 10 3 (RTD) 18
9 20473 J Bay   Denmark 16 13 13 12 7
10 10438 Ian & Dierdre(?) McDowell Strangford Lough YC Ireland 8 16 20 (RTD) 3
11 25874 S Walker Queensferry BC Scotland 17 9 9 (RTD) 19
12 23126 D. Patterson Tynemouth SC England 13 15 10 17 (RTD)
13 15166 - Crisgar Les Owen Northwich SC England 14 8 25 9 -26
14 19938 Peter Barrett Seasalter SC England 7 (DSQ) 19 10 22
15 27753 - Maxi Walter Maxfield & Edward Meller Northwich SC England 10 7 26 (RTD) 16
16 10874 Mark Rushall Draycote Water SC England 12 17 18 (DNC) 12
17 4485 - Mini Chris Maxfield & Garry Northwich SC England 6 12 12 (RTD) 31
18 28988 D. Dickson Dublin SC Ireland -58 19 15 14 15
19 18845 N. Modern Southport SC England 19 14 23 7 (RTD)
20 39350 M. Tattersall RNSA England 37 11 30 5 -52
21 4399 S. Adsheld Royal Harwlch YC England 21 18 16 (RTD) 29
22 16933 N. Hookway Harwich Town SC England -38 30 14 21 23
23 27131 - Pika L Hughes Draycote Water SC England 28 31 -67 6 25
24 6330 - Menna I Partridge IPC (Iver) YC England 11 25 17 (RTD) 41
25 37577 - Orion George Mellar Aldridge SC England 30 24 21 20 -85
26 12991 J. Jenkins IPC (Iver) YC England 39 35 27 4 59
27 31423 A. Rosen Jonkopings SS Sweden (DSQ) 43 28 22 21
28 25165 K. Ellway Shaldon SC England 20 33 (RTD) 18 45
29 12240 C. Carver Chew Valley Lake SC England 47 23 45 2 84
30 29813 P. Wilson Park YC England 26 29 24 (RTD) 38
31 1661 D. Cooper Chester S SC England 43 22 39 15 (RTD)
32 16275 D. Bristow Thorpe Bay SC England 54 39 36 31 14
33 25129 P. Weedon Thorpe Bay SC England 27 38 (RTD) 23 32
34 14144 G. Robertson Largo Bay SC Scotland 33 21 53 34 43
35 32096 W. Meddis Sunderland YC England 46 50 38 24 24
36 37743 J. Walker WakefIeld SC England 31 63 44 27 39
37 38148 M. Renison Cramond BC Scotland 48 54 40 19 35
38 35817 E. Johnson Thorpe Bay SC England 49 37 33 (RTD) 30
39 15115 E. Moull IPC (Iver) YC England 50 26 65 (RTD) 17
40 17342 - Wiz-O K. Ellis Gresford SC Wales 29 36 45 (RTD) 53
41 36653 S. Kolbak   Denmark 45 61 31 (RTD) 28
42 664 W. Aspland IPC (Iver) YC England 22 27 29 (RTD) 87
43 1510 - Fiamineyye W ChiIds Draycote Water SC England 52 (RTD) 60 33 20
44 6902 K. Sandberg Aegir SS Sweden 15 42 (RTD) (RTD) 8
45 23708 N. Campling Thorpe Bay SC England 25 20 22 RTD (DSQ)
46 24961 D. McClay Troon SC Scotland 61 44 51 30 (RTD)
47 39038 E. Lincoln Sunderland YC England 35 40 70 (DNC) 46
48 23958 J. Weedon Marconi SC England 23 45 34 (RTD) 90
49 15119 P. Taylor IPC (Iver) YC England 97 76 35 25 60
50 29263 - Finnish Tit Peter Robinson Ripon SC England 36 64 42 (RTD) 55
51 19369 N. Absolom Thorpe Bay SC England 98 49 83 40 27
52 6910 L. Jonsson Fristads SS Sweden 34 41 76 (RTD) 49
53 7274 R. Taylor IPC (Iver) YC England 44 60 54 (RTD) 47
54 10952 A. Corfleld Dudley SC England 24 (DSQ) (DSQ) 13 33
55 22094 J. Evans Troon SC Scotland 66 32 75 33 82
56 23955 L. Fincham-Nicholls Hollowell SC England 63 50 59 35 78
57 25001 C. 'Ginger' Moore Dalgety Bay SC Scotland 79 48 49 (RTD) 42
58 12882 G. Harris Aberdour BS Scotland 51 57 (RTD) 38 74
59 7940 I. Flnlayson Loch Tummell SC Scotland 32 69 50 (RTD) 81
60 14 - Mimi H. Taylor IPC (Iver) YC England (RTD) 34 37 (RTD) 34
61 16423 G. Tidner Nasbyvikens BS Sweden (RTD) 66 67 29 64
62 9360 B. Cowey Sunderland YC England 87 (RTD) 63 26 56
63 10363 G. Jenkins Wexford SC Ireland 71 51 68 (RTD) 57
64 18552 S. Woodford Draycote Water SC England 42 (RTD) 47 RTD 40
65 24957 V. Hailstone Thorpe Bay SC England 56 72 56 (RTD) 75
66 4862 - Philip J. Reece IPC (Iver) YC England (DSQ) RTD 11 RTD 11
67 27847 K. Falbe   Denmark 64 62 74 (RTD) 71
68 35755 J. Cooper Chester S. SC England 76 52 77 (RTD) 73
69 7954 M. Willetts Himley Hall SC England 55 (RTD) 43 RTD 62
70 11111 Sid Morriss IPC (Iver) YC England 77 73 61 (RTD) 68
71 29808 J. McGillivray Prestwlck SC Scotland (DNC) 55 41 RTD 65
72 26825 R. Upton-Brown Draycote Water SC England 65 80 (RTD) 37 95
73 20474 E. Bay   Denmark 75 46 71 (DSQ) 94
74 35465 G. V. Hey Southport SC England 53 (RTD) 62 RTD 58
75 40089 D. Killinger Wigan SC England 78 47 48 RTD (DNC)
76 31470 B. Mathes   Denmark 103 94 88 28 86
77 22181 H. Sowden IPC (Iver) YC England 60 (DSQ) 64 RTD 54
78 32533 E. Deakin Troon SC Scotland 72 74 85 (DNS) 70
79 37906 R. Gibson Troon SC Scotland RTD 71 32 (DNC) 72
80 34817 J. Spray Yorkshire Ouse SC England 67 69 (DSQ) RTD 57
81 15029 B. Forster Aegir SS Sweden RTD 53 (RTD) RTD 13
82 4 N. Long Dun Laoghaire YC Ireland 74 58 58 DNC (DSQ)
83 25429 R. Irvine Kyles of Bute SC Scotland 62 (RTD) 69 RTD 69
84 3430 D. Wilson Sunderland YC England 73 77 RTD (DNC) 44
85 29940 C. Rawcliffe West Riding SC England 84 83 79 (RTD) 79
86 17608 I. Gardiner Royal Tay YC Scotland 57 90 (RTD) RTD 61
87 19815 P. Lincoln Sunderland YC England 80 67 78 (RTD) 104
88 28360 G. Clark Steel of Wales SC Wales 69 (RTD) 52 RTD 93
89 15533 - Melym? D. Howard Draycote Water SC England 90 65 RTD (DNC) 50
90 33096 C. Taylor Ayr Bay SC Scotland 101 82 81 (RTD) 76
91 4593 J. Menage Ent. Sch. SC England 102 (RTD) 90 39 114
92 23438 D. Herbert Long Eaton SC England 81 (RTD) RTD 36 103
93 34516 M. ChadwIck Park YC England 104 84 86 (RTD) 89
94 34278 W. Pass Pennine SC England 91 78 (RTD) RTD 80
95 18867 G. Hodgson Draycote Water SC England RTD 88 73 (RTD) 88
96 31832 K. Jepson Ullswater SC England 83 (DNC) 84 RTD 92
97 19990 D. Grinter Mumbles YC Wales 59 (DSQ) DSQ RTD 66
98 33534 R. Kirkwood Ayr Bay SC Scotland 94 87 87 (DNC) 112
99 19801 R. MacKinnon Troon SC Scotland 68 79 (RTD) RTD RTD
100 7687 M. Jubb IPC (Iver) YC England RTD 69 (RTD) RTD 67
101 17525 T. Brlggs Tynemouth SC England 82 70 (DSQ) RTD RTD
102 16653 L. Gustavsson Boras SS Sweden 96 97 93 (DNC) 105
103 27560 M. Fldgeon Licnfield SC England 92 85 (RTD) RTD 97
104 25850 - Cherryripe Terry Cherrill Kingsmead SC England 85 (DSQ) DSQ DNC 36
105 33094 M. Murdoch Ayr Bay SC Scotland 93 (RTD) 91 RTD 91
106 33131 S. Leeks Dovestone SC England (DNC) 80 DNC RTD 37
107 15281 K. Rushall Draycote Water SC England 86 (DSQ) 80 RTD 113
108 38939 J. Bennett South Shields SC England DNC (DSQ) 55 DNC 48
109 7968 M. Wynn Sunderland YC England 88 RTD 82 (DNC) 109
110 32607 A. Woolass Rossendale Valley SC England 95 (DSQ) DSQ RTD 63
111 23639 E. Hallett IPC (Iver) YC England 101 100 92 (RTD) RTD
112 27331 J. Parry Dovestone SC England (DNC) RTD 72 RTD 99
113 40058 G. Duncan Royal Tay SC Scotland 106 89 (RTD) RTD 111
114 13931 T. Lodge Pennine SC England (RTD) 92 RTD RTD 100
115 28758 H. Jensen   Denmark 105 9l (DSQ) RTD DSQ
116 32529 R. Gourlay Troon SC Scotland 100 93 RTD RTD (DNC)
117 34606 T. Barrett Seasalter SC England RTD 28 RTD (DNC) DNC
118 9269 M. Janssen MonnIckendam SC Holland (RTD) 95 RTD RTD 102
119 31170 J. Smith Troon SC Scotland 89 RTD (DNC) DNC 77
120 17364 D. Godlington Spey Valley SC Scotland 107 (DSQ) RTD RTD 101
121 6518 W. Hawdon Sunderland YC England 99 RTD (DNC) RTD 110
122 29109 N Silver Wellcome SC England 70 82 (DNC) DNC DNC
123 29079 S. D. Oaker Marconi SC England RTD (DSQ) DNC RTD 63
124 10631 P. Nice Park YC England (DNC) 98 DNC RTD 108
125 14627 R. Darroch Prestwich SC Scotland (RTD) RTD RTD RTD 106
126 33421 C. Adams Royal Forth YC Scotland 108 RTD RTD RTD (DNC)
127 26274 C. Holmes Ely SC England (DNC) 96 90 DNC DNC
128 29689 K. Wilson Prestwick SC Scotland RTD RTD RTD RTD (DNC)
129 27561 M. Seaton IPC (Iver) YC England RTD RTD (DSQ) DSQ DSQ
130 20287 A. Hailstone Thorpe Bay SC England RTD (DNC) RTD DNC 96
131 12816 C. Spray Yorkshire Ouse SC England RTD (DNC) DNC RTD 116
132 32274 N. Wickens Clevedon SC England (DNC) RTD DNC RTD RTD
133 21144 R. Peed Cramond BC Scotland DNC DNC (DSQ) RTD RTD
134 36822 J. Irons Prestwick SC Scotland RTD RTD (DNC) DNC RTD
135 39000 - Flag Ship Sally Karslake   England (DNC) DNC RTD DNC 98
136 1973 A. Mayhead Staines SC England RTD (DNC) DNC DNC 107
137 33099 P. Charters Ayr Bay SC Scotland RTD RTD (DSQ) DNC DNC
138 22030 J. McCall Troon SC Scotland RTD (DNC) DNC DNC 115
139 27528 K. Jensen   Denmark (DNC) DNC DNC DNC RTD
140 35654 R. Lester IPC (Iver) YC England (DNC) DNC RTD DNC DNC
141 3389 B. Thomason Staines SC England RTD (DNC) DNC DNC DNC
142 24832 R. Joyce IPC (Iver) YC England RTD (DNC) DNC DNC DNC
143 31202 D. Smith IPC (Iver) YC England DNC DNC (DSQ) DNC DNC
144 10843 I. Varian Draycote Water SC England (DNC) DNC DNC DNC DNC

Withdrawn

24838 R. Johnson, Sovereign & Weirwood SC. 46,75,57
37500 S. Penney, Carrickfergus SC. 41,DNC,DNC

Other Prizewinners

  • Practice Race: 15500 Peter Barnes  IPC (Iver) YC England
  • Furthest Travelled: G. Tidner, Sweden, 16423
  • First Native Boat: S. Robertson, Forfar, 32692
  • Endeavour: B. Mathes, Denmark, 31470
  • Lady Helm : J. Bay, Denmark. 20473


This article is from Reflections No. 11 Autumn 1973, pages 1, 6, and 16 and has been captured by OCR, so typos & errors are possible.

Thanks to Ian Paterson for scanning, and letting us use, his father's photographs.

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