Photo © Champion Marine Photography
The thirteenth year of the Hutton Construction and HCC International sponsored SailEAST Series saw fourteen boats enter at least three of the five regattas, thereby completing the minimum eight races needed to qualify for a series score. With crews no longer travelling to ‘away’ events in the numbers seen a few years ago, regatta entries have inevitably reduced.
Nevertheless, SailEAST racing remains highly competitive, and a total of 85 yachts – including virtually all the top East Coast skippers - raced in some part of the 2010 series. The mix of short leg, round the cans and windward/leeward courses and the range of waters - from the River Blackwater estuary, to river racing on the Crouch and Medway and the open waters off Harwich and Ramsgate – demand good boat handling and tactical skills.
2010 saw a new name take the Hutton Trophy as overall series winner. West Mersea’s Julian Lord with his newly acquired Impala Scallywag was never headed in the season’s standings after achieving placings of 1-3-2 in conditions ranging from drifting to force 3 to take a clear win in May’s opening event, run by Dabchicks SC. Next up in the 26 boat fleet on the Blackwater were Nick Glanvill’s J80 Jalfrezi and the X332 Blue Beeste of Charles Penfold and Martin Jenkins.
2008 and 2009 SailEAST champion David Pinner with the X35 Kiss couldn’t quite achieve a hat trick of overall series wins, finishing in second place, just ahead of the Stewart 30 The Geek! (Ian Langston & Partners) and Alan Bartlett’s Humphreys 11m Inn Spirit.
At July’s Felixstowe Regatta, 32 boats enjoyed five sharp windward/leeward races, with Sunday’s sunshine and strengthening breeze giving champagne sailing conditions. Ian Kirkpatrick’s X37 Fatjax (later to win Class IRC3 at Cowes Week) just beat the Humphreys 42 Oystercatcher XXVI of Richard Matthews and David Evans Hustler 32 Hullabaloo XV. Counting her best three results of 1-3-4, Felixstowe saw Kiss close up on Scallywag in the standings, before the Impala consolidated her series lead with race results of 1-8-2 to take a second Regatta win in August on the Medway, ahead of Richard Sparrow’s J92 Who’s To No and Clinton Lyon’s Dehler 34 Big Zipper. Scallywag becomes the third Impala to win SailEAST’s top prize, following Mike Harrison’s Jiminy Cricket and Rob Leggett’s Monkey Business.
Ramsgate saw Oystercatcher XXVI win the fourth event of the season, ahead of a Belgian and a French boat and John Barrett’s First 35 Stiletto. After a slow start with Booty! his newly built Stewart 109, previous three times SailEAST champion Robbie Stewart found Ramsgate’s windy weather to his liking and enjoyed some top results in the 37 boat fleet to place fifth overall.
The season then wound up in September on the Crouch, with Saturday’s two races being sailed in strong winds. These conditions proved ideal for J Boats, with Stan Fenton’s J105 Fay-J coming good to win the weekend from Kiss and a second J, Paul Gosling’s J80 White Lightning.
In SailEAST’s four individual classes, it was Class Two which saw the season’s tightest result. Duncan and Becci Haley’s SJ320 Double Trouble II and John Edwards Sigma 38 Red Macaw finished with the same points score from their best eight race results. With both boats also counting two wins, the second tie break went in the Haley’s favour, their greater number of seconds giving them the Orridge Cup. Brian Douglas, Paul Millard and Marilyn Stewart’s Projection 762 The Works finished third.
Class One also saw a very close finish. Going into the season’s final race at Burnham, the best seven race results of Kiss totalled 14 points, one ahead of The Geek! However, with Kiss only placing third, a race win by Ian Langston’s team gave them Class One’s Dolphin Trophy by a single point from the X35. Next up were Inn Spirit and Booty! with Inn Spirit also winning the Youth Challenge Trophy - open to yachts with at least one crew member aged under 22. Crew member Tom’s age of 16 certainly contrasted with owner Alan Bartlett, who is now well into his 80s but still going strong!
Classes Three and Four were less competitively fought out, with Scallywag achieving a perfect eight first places by the end of the Medway Regatta to win Class Four’s Gozzett Cup, ahead of Mick and Rona Willett’s Beneteau 29 Polaris III. In Class Three, Tony and Chuffy Merewether with their Sunfast 32 Amazon had the retention of the Gillingham Trophy sewn up after Ramsgate. Second were SailEAST Chairman Martin Wiggins and co-owner Ed Taylor with the Formula 28 Billy Whizz, with Team Quin’s Jones half-tonner Harlequin in third.
With The Geek! Inn Spirit and Double Trouble II, Crouch Yacht Club easily retained the John Parker Trophy for Club teams, ahead of Dabchicks SC and Haven Ports YC.