Sadly, the Saturday of this year’s Saida Cup, hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club, was cancelled as the tail end of a front brought strong winds to the Solent. The race committee sensibly made the decision to cancel Saturday’s racing on Friday, which gave competitors the chance to prepare for Sunday’s early start.
Despite Saturday’s lack of sailing teams from the RLYC’s Etchells academy made the journey over to the Island to be officially welcomed to the club and for drinks. Later they were joined by other Etchells sailors for dinner – a great evening was had by all. Sailors were greeted by a completely different picture on Sunday, with a high pressure bringing light winds of between 5-10 knots. Nonetheless, after an hour’s delay Race Officer Phil Hagen got racing underway, with 4 races scheduled.
The first race saw those who took to the left-hand side of the race course on the first beat finish at the front. The race was won by Peter Rogers (Highlife), who was pushed hard down the last run by Shaun Frohlic’s Exabyte. They were closely followed by Shamal sailed by the Royal Dart youth team and Grant Simmer on Man’s Best Friend.
Race two was a similar story – the west to east tide making the pin favoured, with those starting towards the pin also able to escape off to the favoured left-hand side. Rob Goddard’s Rocketman was launched off the pin, leading comfortably at the Winward Mark. However, by the finish, the speed of Grant Simmer’s team and the youth team from the Royal Lymington prevailed, with the pair taking first and second respectively and Goddard finishing in third.
Man’s Best Friend picked up where they left off in race 3, again winning the left-hand side of the course on the first upwind and stretching away for the win. They were followed by the crew of Joly Roger and Shamal.
The last race of day was considerably different from the first three of the day. The breeze built to a steady 10 knots and swung right. This increase in wind speed meant that the racing was especially close and hard fought. In familiar fashion Man’s Best Friend took the win, followed closely by Highlife and Ollie Grogono’s Royal Thames Youth team.
The win for Grant Simmer and his team was enough to secure the win of the event, with Peter Roger’s Highlife finishing second and the Royal Lymington team finishing third and first Youth and first Corinthian.
A special thanks to the race committee, all the volunteers and the Royal Thames Yacht Club for organising and running a great weekend in tough conditions.