The unprecedented summer heatwave provided wonderful weather for our 2018 Regatta. We were assisted by the generous and welcome support of Panerai which makes our BCYC Regatta part of the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge. The efficient and ever cheery office with Mary Scott-Jackson and her team made the shore side admin smooth while Helen Porter of Pier Marketing ran the publicity.
The later starting times made for a relaxed start to the day while the forecast light to non-existent winds proved to be mercifully inaccurate and the Fleet enjoyed good to firm breezes every day except Thursday, and even that was sailable. RYS Chief Race officer Dai Prichard and his team, played a masterful hand, holding the boats ashore or on buoys until the breeze filled in, and setting good courses to take advantage of the initially Westerly, and latterly Easterly breeze. For the slower classes the dreaded North Sturbridge proved challenging in the fading breeze on the Long Inshore Race. We really must consider banning that buoy from future races. All classes enjoyed close racing but early leads were established in Class 1, by Flight of Ufford, Class 2 by Bojar, Class 3 by Whooper and Class 4 by Suvretta. As the racing continued, Andrew Pearson and Bojar’s hopes of continued domination were stranded on Ryde Sands and Cetewayo began to display speed in the lighter winds. In Class 4 Jonathan Dyke’s Cereste began a late charge to overhaul Suvretta which went down to the wire on Friday. Flight of Ufford and Whooper proved unbeatable in their Classes.
Class 1 enjoyed a big turnout with the regulars being joined by new faces to provide a good spread of competition across the various sizes. Newly Launched Yawl Gwenhyfar sailed from the Channel Islands and sported a Mizzen Staysail on the runs and enjoyed racing against Chloe Giselle. Helen of Durgan and Whisper of Lymington had a good tussle, while recent owners, the Anthony’s, on Dido had a more adventurous week than planned, finally suffering a direct hit on the start line on Friday. Evergree Strega had a good week. The match up at the top of Class 1 between Flight of Ufford and Oui Fling was close but ultimately conclusive.
Class 2 welcomed Opposition’s return to racing while the appearance of Easy Glider set up a battle of the S & S 41s, with S & S Golden Fleece also displaying a new found turn of speed. Firebrand was always in contention. The two 8 Meters Athena and Helen, joining Class 2 for this year, were frequently near the front. The fresher winds at the beginning of the week gave wonderful sailing for all the Class 2 boats and the sight of a fully powered up Lutine both upwind and down was imposing. This was in contrast to the small but slippery 30 square metre, Aeolus which was frequently in the mix. The two lighter days on Wednesday and Thursday gave the Big Stick yachts Cetewayo and Firebrand a chance to shine. Friday was spectacular with close tacking and frequent place changes among the leading four until the final run home from the Eastern Solent saw a tight duel between, Bojar Opposition and Golden Fleece, finally resolved in Bojar’s favour. David Murrin’s Cetewayo became dominant in the latter half of the regatta both in Class 2 and during the fleet races with Opposition leading the rest of Class 2 after a solid last days racing. The fact that there were only 5 points overall between 3rd through 6th (1 place per day) indicates the closeness of the racing in Class 2 and its highly competitive yachts.
Class 3 was a Whooper benefit with a combination of boat speed, handling and navigation providing a winning combination. Richard Matthews beautiful Fife Kismet was consistently fast, while Stiletto, Freyja, Laughing Gull, Charm of Rhu and Sunmaid V, enjoyed very close competition, sometimes with only seconds separating them on the finish line. The standard of racing was impressive with consistent boat handling and navigation skills needed to gain and hold places.
Class 4s top place was the closest fought of the week with Tim Yetman’s immaculate West Solent Suvretta getting off to a flying start assisted by local Solent Ace Peter Morton, before Jonathan Dyke and his East Coast Boys on Cereste found the fast button and began to haul them in setting the scene for a last race showdown when Suvretta just managed to hold off Cereste for a well deserved win. Leading the pack was the amazing Dorothy an 1894 Thames Rater who was mixing it up with long time Regatta regulars Bill Hogg on Zaleda and Robert Veale with Danegeld.
In the Eight Metres The Universal trophy for straight 8s went to Helen and the trophy for IRC was won by Athena both of whom had close racing all week.
The Six Metre classic trophy was won handily by Fenton Burgin on Sioma with Thistle edging out Nancy for 2nd. Robin Richardson on St Kitts was the Open Class winner.
The innovation for this year was the awards for Concours and authenticity . Rob Peake, Editor of Classic Boat, headed a blue riband panel of four judges who spent considerable time tramping the docks, peering into interiors examining deck layouts, running gear and getting a sense of each yachts as an example of Concours and Authenticity. We are pleased that this represents a step change in how we view our Regatta, which was previously all about, and only about, going fast on the water. We will continue to review this aspect of the week with a view to incorporating suggested improvements.
We hope that this will encourage owners to renewed efforts to keep their yachts in pristine condition and will provide a reward those who maintain authenticity as a desirable goal
Class 1 was awarded to Strega a beautifully maintained “ old” Spirit
Class 2 Was very difficult as the standard was so high but the award went to the immaculately restored Opposition
Class 3 Saw Whooper being rewarded which Giovanni, said meant more than winning on the water
Class 4 went to Suvretta which shows that fast can also be beautiful
6M Class was won by Valdai
The overall Concours award went to Suvretta, to round off an excellent Regatta, The Originality award went to the immaculate Cereste
Overall the Yacht of the Regatta for the best combined result from racing and Concours went to Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford, which is the first time that a Spirit has been at the top of the leader board.
The prizegiving dinner featured a presentation by Philippe de St Leger about their new charity The Panerai Challenge which in partnership with the RYA and BCYC provides sponsorship and support for young sailors and their Clubs.
All results can be found on the website as well as the replay of every race on Tracker. We are grateful to Simon Lovesey of SailRacer for providing an excellent service this year adding the daily results to the existing Trackers.
Roll on 2019 and thank you for continuing to support our Regatta.