Sir Kenneth Preston
The 2021 Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy for the Etchells class was run by the Royal Yacht Squadron by Peter Saxton and his team over the Early May Bank Holiday weekend 1st-3rd May. By all accounts there was some fantastic racing in very challenging conditions.
A strong entry of 18 boats were met with light and changeable winds on the first day of the event, with the race committee making every attempt possible to get a race in, but with no luck. Boats were towed out to the race area and several attempts were made to start races, but all were eventually abandoned due to the light and shifty breeze.
After a 2-hour postponement on shore on the second day, boats were again towed to the race area but this time the breeze was stronger and more steady, allowing the race committee to get four great races in. In the first race of the day, in a building southerly breeze of 8-10 knots, a huge 30-degree wind shift shuffled the pack up the second beat, allowing James Howells’ Gelert to take the win.
The second race of the day was won by Ante Razmilovic on Swedish Blue, with the breeze now up to 12-15 knots from the SW. In race three, Paul Ward’s brand new Eat, Sleep, E, Repeat was the winner while Gelert was again the winner in the final race of the day as the breeze died off, and some boats were caught out as the tide started to turn, to finish the day as overnight leader having scored two bullets and two seconds.
The race committee decided to send the fleet out early on the third and final day of the regatta with a first start at 9:30 am in order to get some races in before a storm blew through, bringing up to 40 knots of wind later in the day. Stuart Childerley on Polaris showed his speed in the strong winds to win race 5 by over a minute, whilst sadly the overnight leader Gelert suffered gear failure meaning that they had to retire from all of the day’s racing. In the final race, Eat, Sleep, E, Repeat was the winner, with the wind now over 20 knots with gusts in the high 20’s, the race committee shortened the course at the second windward mark as the breeze continued to build. Some boats were by now sitting noticeably lower in the water due to bilge pump failure!
The final result was that Paul Ward’s Eat, Sleep, E, Repeat with crew Charlie Cumbley and Paul Childs won the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy, first Corinthian team was Andrew Lawson’s No Drama with Hamish Mackay and William Russell and first Youth team was Jake Hardman, Tiger Tellwright, Alex Smerdon and Hattie Askew on Pulse.
Written By Jake Hardman
Pictures Courtesy of Andrew Palfrey