The 2023 Saida cup, hosted by The Royal Thames, got off to a slow start on the Saturday with competitors anxiously waiting for the wind to fill in from the south east. Thankfully after a short wait teams began filtering out towards Hill Head and were met with near perfect racing conditions – 10 to 15knts, flat water and sunshine.
With tide taking the fleet over the line, race one’s start created an unusual scenario in the Etchells fleet, with the majority of the fleet hanging back cautiously. Exabyte capitalized, taking the first bullet.
The fleet somewhat over compensated on the next start however with a general recall the race two was away under similar conditions only this time a large left shift provoked the race committee to reset the windward mark on lap 2. With the two lead boats now over lay on the right, Rocketman snuck through on the final beat taking the win.
For the final race the tide began to slacken providing more tactical opportunities than the previous races. Ada took line honours.
Sunday provided a different set of parameters, again the wind was slow to build this time from the south west through low lying cloud which at times obscured visibility to the land making the race course feel like a different venue than the day before.
The start of race 4 saw several boats struggle to make the pin end of the line against the tide, a theme which continued throughout the day with several teams either hitting the windward mark or bailing down off the starboard lay line last minute. Exabyte clearly managing the new conditions well took bullets on race 4 and 5.
The final race with 2nd and 3rd still to play for saw a particularly competitive start, only this time Exabyte with the series already wrapped up jumped the gun. Several boats close to the line unnecessarily returned back allowing Rocketman and Straight Dealer to finish 1st and 2nd respectively.
Once a swift protest hearing was resolved the final standings were Exabyte (Shaun Frohlich) 1st, Rocketman (Rob Goddard)2nd (1st Corinthian) and Ada (Dave Maclean)3rd. 1st youth boat was Shamal (Julia Staite)
Another close Cowes Etchells Regatta, with thanks to the race committee and the Royal Thames for making a very enjoyable weekend racing in the Solent.