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Inter Services Gold Cup and 2000 Millennium Series at Thorney Island Sailing Club

by Matt Sargent 21 Sep 2016 13:12 BST 17-18 September 2016
Armed Forces Gold Cup and 2000 Millennium Series at Thorney Island © Clive Grant

Inter Services Gold Cup and 2000 Millenium Series Open Held at ASA (Army Sailing Association) Thorney Island SC

The Gold Cup has long been the pinnacle of Armed Forces Dinghy and Dayboat sailing. For many years it was sailed with sudden death heats and a one race winner takes all final. It remains a difficult to win but ever so coveted trophy and still draws the cream of serving and retired sailors from the Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. For 2016 it had been decided to tweak the format and merge the Gold Cup with a 2000 Millennium Series event hosted by the Army Sailing Association Thorney Island Sailing Club.

And so 28 2000s from as far afield as Cardiff and Germany arrived under a threatening grey sky. At the briefing it was announced that due to the poor wind forecast for Sunday it was likely that 4 races would be sailed that day. Then the fleet were off: an easy launch off the widened slipway and a fast run against the flood to a Committee Boat anchored on Stocker Lake, with a windward mark tucked as close as it was possible to get under the Pilsey Beach shoreline.

Race one started in 18-20 knots, but by the time the first boats reached the windward mark there were sustained gusts of Force 6. In a fast and furious race Hamish Walker and Alex Pickles (Royal Navy Sailing Association) established a solid lead but were chased hard by Steve and Sarah Cockerill (Stokes Bay SC and RNSA) (returning to Service sailing for the first time in many years) and then Rob and Sarah Burridge (Weir Wood SC). In fourth place Miles and Anderley Wade (Army Sailing Association) defended well from a hard charging Helen and Andrew Phillips (Cardiff Bay YC). Behind this group there were plenty of incidents, including some synchronised swimming at the leeward gate.

If anything the breeze had increased for race two. This time the Cockerills got away in front followed by Hamish and Alex, and Rob and Sarah. Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge (ASA) were back on their normal form, and closed out fourth place.

It was a relieved fleet that saw the breeze drop to 16 to 20 knots for the start of race three. A right hand shift looked like it had favoured those who had tacked away early from the port biased line, but the breeze flicked back as the left hand group neared their layline. Taking full advantage Miles and Anderley Wade rounded first only to suffer a dose of the slows when they gybed early underneath the fleet. Matt Sargent, sailing with 10 year old daughter Gwen (ASA), was enjoying the lighter conditions and rounded third behind Hamish and Alex, with the Cockerills fourth. These three extended from the fleet, the Cockerills flying into second on the run. As they reached the top of the last beat the breeze returned with a vengeance: the Sargents just held onto third by the thickness of the spinnaker cloth from a hard charging Team Phillips.

Back to three laps for race four with the breeze well up in the 20s again. This time the Burridges pulled away from Hamish and Alex, with the Cockerills third. Ray Workman and Alex Watts continued their steady improvement to take fourth. The fleet was again relieved: this time that Race Officer Clive Grant didn't invoke the option to finish on the Club Line. By this stage no-one fancied racing a 1¾ mile beat against the Spring ebb.

Unfortunately the wind refused to play ball on Sunday, despite attempts to set a course in the main harbour and, as High Water slack approached, in the Thorney Channel. As the ebb kicked in properly it was time to abandon, leaving Hamish and Alex worthy winners of the Gold Cup, the Cockerills in second, and in third Rob and Sarah Burridge.

Prize Winners:

Gold Cup winners and RNSA Dinghy Champions: Hamish Walker and Alex Pickles
RNSA Runners Up: Steve and Sarah Cockerill
ASA Champions: Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge
ASA Runners Up: Matt and Gwen Sargent
RAFSA Champions: Kev and Jake O'Brien
RAFSA Runners Up: Mike McEwing and Rob Wilson
Services Silver Fleet Winners: Hugo Blanshard and Adam Booth
Services Silver Fleet Runners Up: Nigel Amphlett and Cat Juniper
Endeavour: Jay Miller and Conor Fisher
1st ASA TISC: Jonathan Dannat and Petrina Goodwin

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoatHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st22511 Hamish WalkerAlex PicklesRNSA1‑2124
2nd2575 Steve CockerillSarah CockerillStokes Bay SC212‑35
3rd22502Wight 'n' WickedRob BurridgeSarah BurridgeWeir Wood SC33‑617
4th22334 Simon HorsfieldKatie BurridgeASA TISC64‑7515
5th22564SwordfishHelen PhillipsAndrew PhillipsCardiff Bay YC564‑1515
6th2355ZoomyMatt SargentGwen SargentASA TISC‑1173818
7th2204Dr LavenderIain YardleySarah YardleySilver Wing SC‑1458619
8th22507 Ray WorkmanAlex WattsRNSA13(DNC)5422
9th22361 Miles WadeAnderley WadeASA4912(DNC)25
10th22558HurricaneKev O'BrianJake O'BrianRAFSA98‑11926
11th22150 Gavin MarshallCoral CrouchRNSA10‑1810727
12th22335 Tom BernalJay BennettBMSTC/ASA8‑1191128
13th2 Alex SharpTom ParsonsRNSA1210‑141032
14th21874 Mike CoadyAndrew SmithWorthing SC‑1514151342
15th21914 Andy HockeyFelix HockeyWilsonian SC16‑19171245
16th21446Blue MoonGuy RussellClare CollettWest Wittering SC171516(DNC)48
17th2374Buff LowRichard HudsonIan HudsonBough Beech7(DNC)13DNC49
18th22149INVICTAHugo BlanchardAdam BoothRAYC‑2012181949
19th22352 Mike McEwingRob WilsonRAFSA‑1913191850
20th22362 Nigel AmphlettKat JuniperRNSA(DNF)16221452
21stArmy 13 Jay MillerConor FisherASA‑2117201653
22nd2229 Rachel SheridanNina WallisWilsonian SC18(DNC)242062
23rd22236 Paul IsiitIsaac LucasRNSA(DNC)DNC211767
24th21813 Rosina HearnCeri RobertsRNSA22(DNC)DNCDNC80
25th22501 Colin WalshMagnus Thompson (DNC)DNC23DNC81
26th21102CasinoChris BrownGina LopezWeston SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC87
26th225632ScallywagsJohn SmithSally TavinerLee on the Solent SC(DNF)DNCDNCDNC87
26th2803 Jonathan DannattPetrina GoodwinTISC(DNF)DNCDNCDNC87