A fleet of 17 RCYC squibs headed down to Cowes last week for the 50th Anniversary National Championships and Cowes Week 2018. By far the largest visiting fleet, this ensured we had one trophy in the bag but we weren’t going to stop there and this was a week where anything could happen (especially with 100 boats on the line!)
After a fairly relaxed Friday of launching and exploring the town, Saturday saw the fleet line up on the Squadron line in light, shifty conditions. Whilst Pani Munta (3rd) , Helmut Shoing II(4th) and Humphrey (6th) called it right, a number of us made the mistake of going too close inshore and getting caught out by the Norris Nadgers! Thankfully this was the practice race for the nationals but would mean hard work to get a good position for the overall Cowes week results. Once onshore, and with our very smart team polo-shirts (thanks Marion for organising!) we headed to Nigel Grogan’s motor-yacht for sundowners and celebrations.
Sunday took us over the other side of the Solent for the first of the Nationals race and a committee boat line. Again the wind was light but after just one general recall and the use of the Uniform flag, boats got away for a standard windward leeward course. Unfortunately a few boats decided that the leeward marks of the J70s competing further up the Solent were our windward marks but I am glad to report that none of the Burnham boats made that error. A fantastic win was recorded for Ben & Chris Gibson in Wizard (local RVYC sailors who had used the East Coasts up in Burnham as training) whilst Lady Penelope took 3rd. Squiggle (4th), Spoof (7th), Humphrey (9th) & Pani Munta (10th) saw yet another good showing for the Burnham fleet. Another winner for the day was Phil Aspinall in Guy Fawkes who won the “D*ck of the Day” jacket for parking on Brambles bank for a good 45mins before racing!
It was back to the Squadron on Monday with guest commentary coming from Gina Ramsey. We made her work for it with a general recall doubling her talking slot. If you’ve not seen it, the recording is on the Lendy Cowes week website under “LIVE replays”. Both Humphrey and Festina Lente got honourable mentions in the commentary for their fantastic starts whilst the drone footage shows the exhilaration of tacking up the green whilst swimmers and paddle-boarders attempted to get out the way! The course was due to finish with matching aql sponsored spinnakers flying past the Squadron however as the wind dropped the decision was made to shorten the race. This time we had two boats in the top three – Helmut Shoing II (2nd) and Spoof (3rd), Aquabat taking the top spot for this race.
A long delay on Tuesday as the Committee boat waited for the wind to settle, the J70s and SB20s to start and the course to be approved by the Squadron. This gave the RYA time to check a few boats and make sure squibs were squibs, thankfully most boats had come prepared with snacks and treats and those who hadn’t (Magic Roundabout!) relied on the kindness of others in the provision of Haribo/Jelly Babies. Finally at 4pm, racing commenced and saw Rico’Shea take first place ahead of Helmut Shoing II and Squiggle. As usual with these events, the Burnham fleet appeared to be racing themselves with Pani Munta, Lady Penelope and Surprise crossing the line within seconds. It was a short race after such a long wait but meant that teams had plenty of energy to dance the night away at the Squib Cowes Week Party hosted by the CCYC – a fantastic evening!
A decent breeze was in place on Wednesday with crews required to sit next to their helms and hike. Malcolm and Andy did a magnificent port hand flyer in Lady P and showed the way to the first mark whilst for others it took a little longer to get into the stride of things. Unfortunately, Squiggle was forced to retire after snapping their rudder on the spinnaker run but good results were scored for a number of Burnham boats with special mention to Peter & Andy in By The Lee (9th) and Quidsin (16th). Top spots were taken by Rico’shea, followed by Helmut Shoing II and Lady Penelope.
Thursday’s race was all about spotting the windward marks and paying attention to the bearings given by the race officer. Over 70% of the fleet decided to have a great sail in the wrong direction whilst a good call by Spoof saw them round the first mark first. The wind was fickle and despite leading till just before the last mark, Spoof were just pipped to first place by local Solent superstars, Graham & Julia Bailey (sailing Alchemy), a mere 3 seconds ahead!
Due to strong winds, racing was eventually abandoned on Friday. Whilst it was frustrating for those at the top where only 1 point separated the first two boats in the National Championships it was ultimately the right call. This left the final results as follows:
- Helmut Shoing II
- Lady Penelope
Burnham fleet results: Pani Munta (9), Squiggle (15), Humphrey (17), Quidsin (21), Surprise (26), Nemesis (28), Guy Fawkes (30), Just in Time (43), By the Lee (44), Outlaw (45), Festina Lente (49), Easy (61), Magic Roundabout (70), Mosquito (82)
- Highest Placed boat not having won any other trophy - Lady Penelope (Malcolm Hutchings & Andy Ramsey)
- Melody trophy for first boat related by blood/marriage – Helmut Shoing II (Nigel & Jack Grogan)
- Leading Lady Crew – Alex Porteous (Spoof)
- Bronze Fleet Winners – Easy (Ian Brand & Nick Peel)
- International Paints Team Cup – Helmut Shoing II, Lady Penelope & Spoof
- Finlandia Vodka Trophy (Visiting club with most entries) – Royal Corinthian Yacht Club
- Hip’Op Trophy – Chris Dunn (Squiggle)
Whilst the last Saturday did not count for the Nationals, it was still all to play for in respect of Cowes Week. A win by Malcolm & Andy in Lady P took them from 8th to 4th place overall whilst Guy Fawkes recorded their best race of the week with super crew, Eddie Aspinall, taking over from Howie and scoring a 4th. Helmut Shoing II were lying in 1st going into the last day and only had to beat Rico’shea. Thankfully the Norris Nadgers led to a number of boats retiring including Rico’shea – even more important considering Helmut Shoing II were deemed OCS! Final results for Cowes Week 2018:
- Helmut Shoing II
- Panther 3
Overall, a fantastic week of sailing and socialising with the 100 squibs. The RVYC and CCYC did the fleet proud in their hosting ability and Cowes was the perfect spectacle to show off the close, competitive racing these one-design boats have to offer in their 50th Anniversary year!