BW1_30_8_14-1Tony and Chuffy Merewether and their crew aboard their Jeanneau Sunfast 3200 Amazon won the 2014 Town Cup, one of Burnham Week’s most celebrated awards.

Following a week of intense racing in generally challenging conditions, Burnham Week 2014 ended on a good note, in beautiful sunshine and a fresh breeze with gusts that reached 24 kts at times.

The Town Cup, for IRC Class 1 yachts, always produces closely fought racing and this year was no exception. With the sparkling solid silver punch bowl up for grabs, the competition was intense. The committee boat start gave way to a superb spinnaker run with Team Amazon sailing well off the line on the southern shore to take an early lead from Alan Bartlett’s Inn Spirit.

Although the seven-strong team on Inn Spirit, grabbed an immediate opportunity to take the lead as the fleet headed out of the river in a fresh, shifty easterly breeze they were unable to hold off Team Amazon who reveled in the conditions and won on corrected time. The 29-mile course, which took the fleet as far as Whitaker 4, some 10 miles to the east, provided challenging racing throughout and the fleet enjoyed a lively race-long battle in the choppy wind-over-tide conditions.

Commenting on his win, Tony Merewether said: “Although I have won it five times as crew on other boats, this is the first time we have won the amazing trophy in our own boat, so we are thrilled. We had a great race and thankfully we made no mistakes, we spotted all the wind shifts and we were always just saving time on handicap on Inn Spirit all the way round the course. Interestingly our topping lift broke just after the start but Simon our bowman fixed it in no time and we were up and running again before anyone noticed. Great crew work all round.”

In IRC Class 2, Charlie Ball’s Tumblehome 2 made an impressive start against the larger, faster boats in the Commodores Cup. Although she was unable to retain the momentum with the likes of Midweek series winners – Duncan Haley and team – on SJ320 Double Trouble snapping at her heels, Ball and team sailed well to claim fourth but the overall winner was Digger Harden and team on Stampede, with Double Trouble second.

Roger Noble’s SJ27 Grace and Danger put up a good consistent performance all week to secure the Midweek series in Class 5. The Penrose Fitzgerald Cup on the final Saturday, was won by Phillip Harbott on Mantra (Aphrodite 101).

Andrew Prestwich and team on Pocket Battleship completed the Midweek series with a perfect scoreline of four firsts in IRC Class 6. The final day’s race for the Roach Trophy was won by Len Cole on Amanda Louise II (Bavaria 38).

Adrien Olsen on Excalibur beat Gareth Davies on Grand Slam in the RS Elite Midweek series but on the final Saturday it was local optician David Wood on Oinksqueal who won the Lakedale Marine Trophy.

The ever-popular Burnham Dragon fleet produced top quality racing throughout the week. Peter Marchant and Katie Cole on Beauty and the Beast, with three firsts to count, snatched the top spot from Andrew Moss and team on Humoresque in the Midweek series and also won the trophy race on the final Saturday.

It was no great surprise to see Malcolm Hutchings and the Lady Penelope team – overall winner of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week for two years in a row – take the overall win of the Midweek series in the Squib fleet at Burnham, although they didn’t have it all their own way because most of the week they were pressed by Simon Griffin and Ian Simons on Brutus (winner of the opening race). Mark and Ian Knights in Quidsin also won race 4. The winner of Saturday’s Trophy race was Micky Wright and team on Spoof.

Gary Harrison, added to the glory of his first Bank Holiday Weekend win in the Royal Corinthian One-Design class, and secured an overall win of the week, and the final Saturday’s trophy race in Cormorant.

The Royal Burnham One-Design fleet enjoyed a fun-packed week of racing. Competition within the 15-strong fleet of this 82-year-old class was so close that the top two boats – Mandarin (Will and Barty Dallimore) and White Rose (Chip Cole) finished the Midweek series on equal points. After a really close, exciting race in gusty winds on the final Saturday, Team Mandarin just managed to beat David Beale’s Blue Jacket, while Cole and White Rose had to settle for third.

Back on shore this afternoon the festival atmosphere continued with crews finding time to enjoy a relaxing few hours before the main evening entertainment commenced.

The Burnham Week prize giving ceremony took place at Crouch Yacht Club with Ron Pratt, the Mayor, presenting the Town Cup. The winners – Team Amazon – celebrated in style and in true traditional spirit filled the cup with bubbles, and paraded it around the Town visiting most clubs and pubs on the way to their final party destination and home club – Crouch YC. The remaining trophies were presented by John Whittingdale OBE MP for Maldon, and activities around town culminated with a grand fireworks display to mark the end of the 2014 Burnham Week festival.

Commenting on the overall flavour of the event, Edwin Buckley – Principal Race Officer – said: “This year’s event was one of the best I’ve known and I’ve been running the racing here for many years. The wind produced exciting racing all week and although we had our fair share of rain, all the competitors were in good spirit with plenty of happy smiling faces. Plans are already underway for next year and we look forward to welcoming visitors to this special east coast event.”

Diary date: Burnham Week 2015 – 29 August- 5 September.

Next year’s event also includes the 707 national championship plus, following the success of the inaugural gig racing event on Quay Day this year, an even bigger gig rowing race will take place in 2015, with up to 14 boats on the water.

For full results go to:



Comments are closed