2016 Squib Gold Cup 2 May 2016
We all know what the weather was like in April, cold northerly winds and a sequence of fronts bringing squally showers. As the May Bank Holiday approached, the wind moderated and it even promised to warm up a little.
The Gold Cup was hosted by the Burnham Squib Fleet and managed by RCYC. Trapezoid courses were set to accommodate the 707 East Zone Championship which was raced off the same starting line. There were twenty entries with visitors from the Royal Victoria YC and Stone SC. The Rondar boat was at the Regatta sailed by local skiff sailor Jamie Mears.
An early briefing was followed by the fleet sailing down to the river Roach. The light Northerly breeze resulted in a delay to the start which set the tone for the rest of the day. Once the fleet had arrived the Race Officer quickly set about starting the first race. The first start was well disciplined and helped by the flood tide keeping the fleet on the right side of the line, the race commenced without incident. The first beat saw wind shifts of 30 degrees and this was to be the story for the rest of the day. Malcolm Hutchings in Lady Penelope was first to the windward mark followed by Robert Coyle Humphrey and Nigel Grogan ReHyderated. The course was a trapezoid, an important fact that had escaped Phil Aspinall Guy Fawkes who led the fleet after the final beat. As Aspinall headed for the finish, Hutchings and Coyle set course for the outer leg. Phil quickly recovered and managed to lose only those two places. First three places were taken by Hutchings, Coyle and Aspinall.
Race 2 was quickly started, this time with a strong bias to the committee boat end of the line, but another clean start. Again there were big windshifts and the wind strength started to decrease with the left hand side of the course helping Hutchings to the windward mark in first place. The wind continued to lighten throughout the race but the whole fleet managed to finish the race within the 15 minute time limit. 2nd race was won by Hutchings with Grogan second and Martin Harrison Bacchante in third place.
There followed an hour of deliberation, with the competitors dodging the short lived squalls and following the Committee boat around. The wind had now shifted 180 degrees and was from the South. Eventually with a steady, albeit shifty breeze the race officer set the course for the third race. Neil Fulcher was OCS as the start time approached but managed to dip the line and reached the windward mark in first place. On the second leg, Coyle was first to the windward mark and started the run for a second inner windward leg. The rest of the fleet with keener eyes had spotted that the outer leg was next and Coyle recovered and only lost two places. Aspinall had followed Coyle and, with dogged determination, continued with the extra inner leg only to be timed out with a couple of the ‘tail enders’. The third Race was won by Micky Wright Spoof followed by Grogan and Coyle.
The fourth Race scheduled for the Saturday was eventually cancelled due to lack of wind and the fleet drifted home on the last of the flood tide.
Sunday morning started with clear blue skies but barely a breath of wind. While the competitors settled down for coffee on the balcony, the Race Officer headed down river and after fifteen minutes radioed back with news that course was being laid. Wind was again from the South, but despite the falling tide there was space to lay the course across the Crouch and into the mouth of the Roach and the first race of the day was started on schedule. Again the winds were shifty but more consistent in strength than the day before.
Race 4 was won by the Grogans who consolidated their overnight lead of the Regatta, second and third were taken by Harrison and Hutchings, and Race 5 was sailed off the same start line but this time favouring the pin end of the line and was won by Grogan.
Race 6 and 7 followed the same theme with the wind continuing to back to the East and favouring the pin end of the line which by this time was getting quite congested. Hutchings was OCS in the sixth race – one of the few to suffer that fate over the weekend. Race 6 was won by the visitor Harrison followed by the Grogans not far behind. Race 7 was a battle between Hutchings and the Rondar boat (Jamie Mears) who was leading at the first windward mark and held the position all the way round.
The four races scheduled for Sunday were completed and the Race Officer managed to squeeze in another to compensate for Saturday’s postponement. The wind had continued to back easterly but a sudden shift and the now flood tide meant that the first leg was no longer a beat. The start was postponed with 30 seconds to go but that didn’t stop most of the fleet who were gathered around the pin end! A short delay followed to re-lay the course before the final race of the series got underway and was won, once again, by the Grogans after a tight race with Hutchings, Wright and Coyle finishing in that order.
Final results were:
1st – Nigel Grogan / Jack Grogan – ReHyderated – 105
2nd – Malcolm Hutchings / Andy Ramsey – Lady Penelope – 819
3rd – Martin Harrison / Roly Wilson – Bacchante – 52
Winner of the Silver Fleet was Mark and Ian Knights in Quidsin and the first Lady Helm was Emma Baker in Buccaneer (also runner-up in Silver Fleet) with the Rondar boat finishing 6th overall.