Photography by Tim Tapping –
This last weekend involved hours of road travel and proved to me I cannot be in two places at the same time. OCRDA were staging round three of their championship at the Dorset seaside village of West Bay, famed for its starring role in the UK television series Broadchurch, whilst over the same weekend the final of the P1 Superstock Championship was taking place at the Welsh resort of Milford Haven, around 140 miles from West Bay.
Both the OCRDA and P1 programmes involved two days of action, so I chose West Bay for Saturday and Milford Haven on Sunday. The only problem was that sea conditions in West Bay were so bad, one team lost its navigator overboard on the parade lap, so officials decided to cancel racing on the grounds of safety, and all 3 heats were run on Sunday. So I missed the action in West Bay and spent the day in Milford Haven for the P1 grand prix where the estuary was as calm as glass.
OCRDA – ROUND 3 – WEST BAY, DORSET
Once again the club that decided to ‘go it alone’ after breaking away from the RYA proved they have got the right formula when 32 teams arrived in the picturesque resort and the waterfront was packed with the teams’ boats and camper vans. There was going to be two races on each day and despite a very rough English Channel, crews were busy with launching, and only a few owners were apprehensive about risking their ‘pride and joy’.
OCRDA dry pits at West Bay
The 40 year old aluminium monohull Jupiter, originally called Absolute Beginners when it was first launched for racing 30 years ago, is obviously still very competitive, coming 10th overall. It was a memorable day for Richard Lucas who built and drove Absolute Beginners all those years ago and was unbeatable in the pencil thin craft. He looked round the craft and remarked, “Apart from the odd dent, the boat looks in very good shape.”
Vintage Jupiter – over 30 years old and still going strong
Elliot Underwood, navigator aboard Fair Play who injured his face in the Newhaven grand prix last month, stepped ashore after the parade lap on Saturday, and proclaimed, “I’m not racing in that, it’s horrible.” That just about summed up the general feeling of all the teams, and so Saturday’s racing was cancelled.
Thankfully, sea conditions had improved a little for Sunday and it was decided to run all three races almost back to back, although one pundit commented it would probably be ideal for RNLI boats to compete in. Sadly for Class 2’s Mr Bump and Sea Fury, both vanished under the waves and rescue craft had to retrieve the boats and crews to fight another day.
Brian Peedell, in the luxury of the Volvo V8 powered B24’s enclosed cabin secured wins in all three races ahead of the Batboat Ananab and The Edge, while Fat Boy and Enforcer rounded off the Class 1 top five.
Ababab (Banana spelt backwards) runner up in Class 1
Rough water specialist Jeremy Gibson and navigator Underwood enjoyed a ding-dong battle with arch rival and fellow Phantom driver Graham Lawton to occupy the top two Class 2 podium places ahead of Phil ‘the doc’ Hancock’s The Rock, while Joker and Hyperactive rounded off the top five Class 2 places. The veteran Jupiter filled 10th place while race organiser Bob McCarthy’s Bernico If Only took the chequered flag in 8th place.
Horse trainer Kevin Edmonson and jockey Annika Hawthorne drove a superb race in the bright red Phantom Y Knot to claim Class 3 honours ahead of Southern Ireland’s Alan Power’s Power Marine, a boat he designed and built in his workshops at Malahide. Pro Rig secured third place ahead of ESRR, and father and daughter team Dave and Tanya Wilcox filled fifth place.
As crews were packing up to head home, most were nursing bumps and bruises, and for Mr Peedell, it was his last race in West Bay, or so he says. Mrs Peedell (Pat) confirmed they are selling the B24 and buying a RIB to join the safety and rescue teams as Brian said, “Im too old and fragile for this type of activity, I hope a RIB will be the answer.”