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Plymouth Dinghy Regatta at the Royal Western Yacht Club

by Simon Lovesey on 15 Jun 10-11 June 2017
Dan Ellis during the 2017 Plymouth Dinghy Regatta © Paul Gibbins Photography

The 2017 Plymouth Dinghy Regatta saw a bumper entry of 65 boats, covering a diverse range of classes and speeds, from a foiling Moth through to Toppers who were also contesting their South West Championships.

Part of the SailRacer Summer Series, the Plymouth Dinghy Regatta followed a similar format that has proved highly popular for the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, with three average lap races on Saturday and a long distance pursuit race for the Sunday.

Hosts Royal Western Yacht Club and their enthusiastic team provided a warm welcome to competitors for the briefing held in the superb clubhouse, with excellent view towards the race course. With storms battling the Atlantic, the weekend's weather forecast was looking quite challenging, fortunately the fronts kept further west and brought an ideal 12 knots of wind on Saturday, albeit in damp and misty conditions.

Race 1 saw the fastest speeds recorded on the SailRacer GPS trackers. The foiling Moth of Dan Ellis, fresh from taking a best ever 4th overall at the recent class nationals, was literally flying round the course at speeds well in excess of the wind speed, covering five laps to take the bullet on corrected time. Completing three laps, the 505 team of Alex Shaw and Neil Smith from Grafham Water SC, took second place and local Radial sailor Alice Woodings in third completing 2 laps.

For Race 2 the experienced Royal Western team set a slightly shorter course which saw Dan Ellis covering six laps and again winning on corrected time, from the International Canoe of Chris Hampe and the MUSTO Skiff of Stuart Harris from Banbury Sailing Club in third.

Dan Ellis in his foiling Moth managed to make it a hat trick of wins for the final race of the day, easily heading the overnight leaderboard. The International Canoe of Chris Hampe took back to back second places, and another MUSTO Skiff taking third place with Andrew Stickland from Thorpe Bay YC.

Sunday brought the best weather of the weekend with a bit more wind and the sun starting to break through. For the long distance 60 minute pursuit race, a 3.8 nm course zig zagging across Plymouth Sound was set. First off were 20 Toppers who had a hard first beat in the building breeze. For the next 35 minutes there were a succession of starts, with the foiling Moth starting last.

At the first mark the Toppers of Milly Jinks and Oliver Fellows were neck and neck. Milly managed to break free from the close pack of Toppers, and was still leading the pursuit race with just seven minutes to go, but couldn't keep at bay the flying Moth at 20 knots to the Topper at 7 knots. Milly bravely fought on, holding second place for another four minutes before being passed by the the 505 team of Alex Shaw and Neil Smith and finishing in an excellent fifth place.

With four bullets it was no surprise to see the International Moth of Dan Ellis winning overall, but things were much tighter for the other places with the Radial of Alice Woodings taking second from the Sprint of Andrew Sinclair in third overall.

For the Topper South West Championships Milly Jinks successfully defended her title with a 1,1,1,2 scoreline. Oliver and Angus Fellows battled hard with the final podium places, with only two points separating Oliver in second and Angus third.

In the SailRacer Speed Challenge, based on best correct sustained speeds Andrew Sinclair (Sprint) topped the Speed Wall at 12.9 kts from Chris Hampe (International Canoe) and Dan Ellis (foiling Moth). Of note was the Topper of Emma James in 8th place.

Parents and supporters were able to follow the action live from the Royal Western Yacht CLub bar via big screens display of the SailRacer GPS tracking. All races can now be viewed in replay to help sailors understand where each race was won and lost.

Overall Results:

1st Dan Ellis, Foiling Moth
2nd Alice Woodings, Laser Radial
3rd Andy Sinclair, Sprint 15

1st Dan Ellis, Foiling Moth
2nd Alice Woodings, Laser Radial
3rd Chris Spencer, Laser

1st Andy Sinclair, Sprint 15
2nd Arron Kirby, Sprint 15
3rd Joe Spencer, Sprint 15

Sailracer Speed Challenge: Andy Sinclair, Sprint 15
Top Club: Saltash SC
Endeavour Trophy: Tom Gurney

Topper SW Championships
1st Milli Jinks, Saltash SC
2nd Oliver Fellows, Castle Cove SC
3rd Angus Fellows, Yealm YC

Full results and event website,

Sponsors; Cattewater Harbour Commission, Sailracer, Allspars, Gul, Paul Gibbins photography, Force 4 Chandlery, Selden, Technique Voile sailmakers, Hempel Paints, Alpha Sound staging, Ullman Sails, Hyde Sails, Atlas Graphics, Rooster Sailing, Sea Chest Book Shop, Heads-up Definition Drone photography, MDL marinas.

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