Described as “Otter Week in a Day” the Corinthian Otters and RCYC had been set the challenge of hosting a joint open meeting between the Optimist and the new Beastie tour for older kids sailing any dinghy they chose.
With numbers of entries and types of boats being sailed not confirmed until the morning, words like “chaos” had been mentioned on more than one occasion! But thankfully it soon became clear that with help from the club, Otters and many of their parents the possibility of pulling off the first joint event soon began to look promising….
On the morning of the event Race Officer Jamie Mears was met at exactly 10.30am as programmed by 79 children in 67 boats all changed and ready to go sailing.
A briefing explaining how the optimistic 20 races were going to get sailed around a small course between 5 fleets left the kids and parents sceptical but hopeful of a promising day.
Sun cream was donned and food tubs were filled before launching quickly began in a steady 10 knot westerly breeze. As the cloud burnt off leaving glorious sunshine to sail the course just off pile house we knew we had something close to perfection!
Each fleet sailed their own version of the trapezoid course, split between inner and outer loops and varying number of laps to suit the different speed of boats. This enabled all fleets to sail 40 minutes races on the one course with little or no confusion and chaos! Using both a committee boat and a separate finishing boat enabled each fleet to start their next race without delay whilst others continued to fight it out on the busy race course. Thankfully with a steady westerly wind it meant only a handful of course adjustment were required to set a true course.
Racing was close between all fleets in the magnificent sunshine and looked spectacular from both the water and the busy sea wall especially with so many varied boats from Oppie’s to RS200’s and a 29er. With only one general recall from the Optimist race fleet meant that the programmed 4 races went smoothly.
A special mention must go to the Optimist regatta fleet who for many had very little, if any, racing experience so to complete four races on a busy course outside of the moorings was a tremendous achievement. The same can be said for Andrew Courts’s ‘Mini racers’ who equally managed four races in a perfect wind, tide, and sunshine combo.
Arriving back at the club on schedule and at high tide allowed enough time for a famous balcony jump by the competitors before being refilled with a burger or hot dog from BBQ King Chris Dawson.
A packed clubhouse for a 5pm Prize Giving finished a fabulous day and with many of our visitors staying on well into the evening for dinner we congratulated ourselves on having risen to the challenge of ‘Otter week in a day’!
Many thanks to all those who helped us put this great event on – the Corinthian Otters and RCYC at their very best!