2015 Squib Gold Cup 26 May 2015
The Squib Gold Cup was raced on the 23rd and 24th May on the rivers Crouch and Roach under the burgee of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. The event was scheduled to be a series of eight races with four being sailed on each day. Edwin Buckley was the Race Officer and his motor vessel Phoebe the committee boat, which was supported by two RIBs for mark laying. The 707 East Championships were run from the same start line and Edwin used trapezoid courses to keep the fleets apart.
The briefing was at 09:30 so the drizzle set in at about 10:00 but by the time the first race started an hour or so later, the 20 competing boats (including three visitors from Stone Sailing Club) found that the rain had stopped, and there was a force 3 to 4 blowing from the North East, or approximately from that direction. The tide was just turning so that the fleet had foul tide beats, against an increasing tide, from Foulness Point at the mouth of the Roach to Holliwell Point on the north shore of the Crouch, about a mile or so. Although the wind was shifting, the day showed it to be oscillating around the North Easterly, which meant that the course did not have to be moved.
For Race 1 the flood was not yet in full flow, which gave the fleet more scope for playing the shifts across the course, as was clearly and ably illustrated by Phil Aspinall and Howie Enkle sailing 72, Guy Fawkes . When sailing up the middle of the course they took a handful of places on the second beat to take the lead which they held to the finish followed by Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey, 819, Lady Penelope and Nic Tolhurst & Marc Rawinsky, 823, Humphrey.
By Race 2 the tide was stronger, and the fleet were largely working the left side of the beat. Some boats had success with going first into the South shore, which was quite close to the leeward marks, but it was all a matter of getting a good starboard tack across the river. Nigel Grogan and Ian Keeley, 105, Helmut Shöing, showing good speed and tactics won the race, with Lady Penelope and Humphrey repeating their Race 1 performances coming in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Races 3 and 4 saw Nigel and Ian take control of the event with two further wins. The shifty conditions meant that the sailing was not easy, but a combination of good sailing and boat speed set them apart. For the rest of the competitors there was a lot of place changing, and 2nd spot was secured by Micky Wright and Chris Dunn, 811, Spoof, in Race 3 and Phil and Howie in Race 4. Humphrey came 3rd in both races making it a clean sweep of 3rd places for the day. By then the sun was out and the fleet retired to the balcony and bar.
Sunday produced a sunny start to the day and a force 3 breeze blowing from the south. Edwin set up a trapezoid course from the mouth of the Roach up to Jubilee, giving a beat of about 0.7 of a mile. The ebb lasted for Races 5 & 6 so the fleet again found themselves with a foul tide beat, with the wind always threatening to clock right towards the north-westerly forecast later for the day, but always changing its mind. The strength of wind was also variable, so once again the conditions were testing.
In Race 5 saw Lady Penelope returned to her more accustomed position at the front of the fleet, as Hutchings and Ramsey won the race. But they were was pursued by Helmut Shöing whose 2nd place further strengthened her grip on the regatta. 3rd place went to Alex Shanahan and James Wade in 25, Crackers, who had spent the previous four races with a vegetable patch for a bottom. Edwin had shown mercy overnight and allowed them to scrub, and with their Sunday results they provided further evidence (possibly not strictly required) that a dirty bottom is not fast.
Simon and Sarah Sanders in 779, Whats the Story, burst into the top three of a race by winning Race 6, which had Simon cheering until it was pointed out that this was further confirmation that he should move up from silver fleet to gold fleet. The club Squib 720, Woody sailed by Matt Gill and David Hyde, secured a very commendable 3rd. This demonstrated that the boat is competitive, which is good news for those looking to use her, and that is down to the effort that has been put in particularly by Malcom Hutchings and Phil Aspinall (plus others) in sorting her out, and thanks to Nigel Grogan for donating a very good, and clearly quick suit of sails.
Nigel and Ian were 2nd in Race 6, which made their position unassailable, but this did not stop them from winning Race 7, just to be sure. Race 7 was not easy, as the wind by then was clearly on the point of moving, but prepared itself by switching off on certain parts of the course, most interestingly from a spectators' point of view at the leeward mark where the boats were hoping to finish what was now a foul tide run. This took much longer for some than others, and may have made the race a lottery, except that Helmut Shöing won it, and Humphrey came 2nd, and these were 1st and 2nd overall. 3rd spot went to Duncan Grindley and Alex Porteous, 760, Surprise, which was their first finish in the top three and was a great way to cap a consistent weekend's sailing.
The wind made up its mind and went to the north-west, and then back to the west and then seemed to give up on the day. Edwin agreed, and promptly sent the fleet home, so that the visitors could get their boats out and still have time to go to the bar.
A very good weekend's racing was finished off with excellent food for the prize giving dinner from the club's chef Simon. Nigel and Hyde sails had very generously given a brand new spinnaker to be auctioned to raise funds for the class, which Phil purchased, and then it was back to the bar to early hours and beyond for some. Results can be found here…