International Etchells Cowes Fleet Sir Kenneth Preston Regatta
This weekend saw the 25th year of the Sir Kenneth Preston Trophy; in memory of the retired Vice Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron and captain of the 1960 British Olympic sailing team. Previous notable recipients of the prize (and who feature on the plaque in the Squadron) are Stuart Childerley and three times winner Laurence Mead.
This year’s event saw fourteen Etchells entered, and three youth teams. This is in keeping with Sir Kenneth Preston's personal aim to support young sailors.
Saturday began with blue skies, warm weather and no wind, which led to an hour postponement to racing. This allowed crews to tweak rigs, sunbathe and have Tiffin’s breakfasts. At midday a sea breeze began to fill in and the Etchells made their way to Hill head race area for some windward leeward courses. Three races were run, which saw competitive racing at all points in the fleet. Particular note should be made of Peter Roger’s team who took the lead in the first race and Grant Simmer’s team who came first in races 2 and 3.
Cowes Fleet International Etchells Red Funnel Regatta 4/5 May
The Saturday of the Red Funnel Regatta was cancelled due to some windy weather in the Solent. Particular note should be taken to thank the Royal London Yacht Club Race Committee and those driving ribs, who ventured into The Solent for the whole morning to try their hardest to get racing underway. Racing was cancelled around midday, allowing teams to have pub lunches, walks around the island and shopping trips.
Competitors woke up on Sunday to find beautiful blue skies and a light breeze of 5-10 knots from the North. The first race saw a win from Straight Dealer, Nicholas Stagg and his team. It was also a great start to the day from the Youth teams, with 2nd, 3rd and 4th place going to teams from the Etchells Academy. The second race of the day was comfortably won by Tom Abrey on Jolly Roger, who managed to find some favourable wind out on the right of the course, and attempted to lap the rest of the fleet. By the third race, a big right-shift caused the race committee to move the course. This was a challenging race with lots of difficult East to West tide and the arrival of some jet skiers to the course, who seemingly attempted to team-race Strait Dealer. The last race of the day was changed to the trapezoid layout of course N, owing to the strong tide.
This race saw a very condensed fleet with boats changing positions in every leg. Nonetheless, Exabyte won the race, which secured their win for the event. They were closely followed (1 point after discard) by Ice (Andrew Cooper - Corinthian) in 2nd and Royal Dart (Miles Jones) in 3rd, who were also the first Youth Team.
A special thanks goes to the Race Committee for organising a wonderful weekend in shifty weather.