Tony and Chuffy Merewether and team on Amazon (Jeanneau Sunfast 3200) won the Town Cup on the concluding day of Burnham Week 2016 (27 August-3 September).
In a spectacular, breezy race in winds that reached 23kts and accompanying rough seas on the challenging 32-mile Town Cup course, it was a real test of stamina for big boat racing teams in IRC.
The Merewethers, however, together with their seasoned Burnham-based crew including Harry Hastwell, John Oliver, Simon Kiddle, Colin Harris and Jan Brant, managed to recover from a poor start and claim the coveted Town Cup for the second time in three years. Their biggest race-long threat was Digger Hardman and team on J/80 Glorious Fools who had to settle for second. In third place was Phillip and Sally Harbott’s well-sailed, pretty Aphrodite 101 – Mantra – winners of the Mid Week series.
Having announced he was hanging up his racing boots after today’s Town Cup, an emotional Tony Merewether, commented: “This is our 40th Burnham Week and because I am retiring at the end of the year, we have decided to go cruising next year. We are going to sell our lovely racing Amazon and buy a cruising Amazon. It is a bit sad but we have certainly ended on a good note. It has been a great sail today despite choosing the wrong shore at the start. We had a close tussle with the J/80 all the way round, which really made it. Now looking forward to filling the Cup up with our favourite tipple – the Amazon Dark ’n Stormy – and as is traditional with the Town Cup – parading around town.”
The Burnham Week prize giving ceremony took place at Crouch Yacht Club with Ron Pratt, the Mayor, presenting the Town Cup to Team Amazon who went on to celebrate in style.
David Smith (Commodore Crouch YC), and Jo Barker (Chairman Joint Clubs Committee) presented the remaining trophies. In her closing speech, Barker reported that nearly £2,000 had been raised for the Essex Air Ambulance through the sale of Burnham Week polo shirts kindly donated by Dave Smith at Dewhirst Group.
See full regatta results
Activities around town culminated with a grand fireworks display to mark the end of the 2016 Burnham Week festival.
In his summing up of the week, Edwin Buckley – Principal Race Officer – said 2016 will go down in the history books as one of the best Burnham Weeks yet. “I have been involved in this regatta for many years and never can I remember so many Champagne sailing days with sunshine and good breeze every single day. There has been a real buzz around town and so much enthusiasm. We are now looking forward to next year’s grand 125th anniversary event. Dates are already in place, and plans are underway with the hope of welcoming a spirit of tradition class and any other class that wants to be part of this historic event.”
Fambridge Yacht Haven are, once again, proud sponsors of Burnham Week with a special association with the dinghy regatta.
Visit www.burnhamweek.com for more information and full race results
Photo credits: Roger Mant, Sue Pelling