SBS (SOUTHERN BOAT SERIES) MISSION OPERATION WILD WATER RACE (WWR) FAIRTHORNE MANOR - 12 FEBRUARY 2017
FLASH SIGNAL: SITUATION REPORT
24 paddlers started the mission and 24 finished although a few of the resistance group on the bank did go down with the cold. Unlike Operation Frankton, more colloquially called the Cockleshell Heroes raid, where of the 10 paddlers who set off from submarine HMS Tuna off the French coast, only two survived to make it back to Great Britain. Two were drowned/died of hypothermia and the other six killed by the Germans. The raid set out to mine German shipping in the Port of Bordeaux in December 1942 during the Second World War using canoes (the cockleshells). Interestingly Major Herbert “Blondie” Hasler the leader of the cockleshell heroes lived just opposite YMCA Fairthorne Manor for part of his life. He was one of the two survivors.
Mission Rendezvous Botley Mill
The mission started at the boat shed in YMCA Fairthorne Manor, with SBS paddler’s recceing the one mile course on the way up to mission start at Botley Mill, where they rendezvoused with Agent Starter for mission start at 1200 ZULU. Having done their reconnaissance they then raced back down to Agent Finisher, attempting to avoid traps such as low lying tree branches, roots, debris and shallows. The shallows caught a few of the SBS paddlers on the way down, Sheila Worth in her first race mission narrowly avoided capture after getting stuck midstream just after the start. Some paddlers also had to avoid friendly’s passing them and rogue agents (not part of the race) taking water space around them.
In the Men’s ranking WWR class Richard Kent (age 53) blew the field away again with a time of 7 minutes and 2 seconds followed by 48 year old Dr Selwyn Richards with 18 year old Conor Buckman in a slower plastic wavehopper in third. The Ladies was won by 59 year old Susan
Templeton in a composite WWR followed by 13 year old Rachel Jones and then in third 58 year old Sheila Worth both in slower slalom boats.
In the Open class Tony Smith age 53 in a Sea kayak took first in the men’s and in the Ladies a rapidly improving paddler in her first WW Race Beth Perry age 11 in a K1 came first. The Canadian Canoe class was won by 42 year old Phil Brown, followed by 13 year old Philip Smith
Jacob Law age 10 Mission Ready
A number of the SBS paddlers did dress up in camouflage and face paint as part of the race theme and young 10 year old Jacob Law from Winchester and District Canoe Club was voted as the most successful and was awarded a DVD of the cockleshell heroes and some other camouflage gear.
SBS Team Winchester & District Base
After the all paddlers had received their operational medals most SBS paddlers disappeared into the undergrowth, whilst the Hamble Sea Scouts (who sacrificed the most paddlers to the mission) left by motorised boats, loaded over the gunwales with their canoe missiles awaiting a call for their next missions which by the way are:
- 8 April 2017 1230 Start Woodmill Sprint
- 29 April 2017 Wimborne Sprint (Poole Harbour CC)
Many thanks to YMCA Fairthorne Manor for allowing such great racing to be held from their lovely grounds. For details of all the activities and services available from the YMCA Fairthorne Manor go to http://www.ymca-fg.org/