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EYKA Man of Kent 2017 at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Robert Govier on 16 Jun 10 June 2017

The 2017 Man of Kent regatta was held on Saturday 10th June, hosted this year by Whitstable Yacht Club. The annual event, which was organised by Whitstable Yacht Club in association with the East Kent Yachting Association and open to members of sailing clubs in the East Kent area, is named after the historic delineation along the Medway river between the Man of Kent (East) and the Kentish Man (West).

The general handicap event, sailed on a single day with three races over three different courses (Upwind/Downwind, Triangle and Trapezoid), is seen as a good test of Portsmouth Numbers, allowing close racing between classes. To add to the challenge, the sailors also compete for a Team trophy, which each team needing one boat above a PN of 1071 or above, one with PN of 1070 or below, one other boat, and at least 150 points between the highest and lowest boats.

The event caught the tail end of the high winds and storms that had hit the country in the preceding week, making for sailable but testing conditions! A lot of sailors were put off by the very strong and gusty westerly winds, leaving 29 brave sailors to head out to the water in 23 boats, from a Topper to an F18 Capricorn. The start was delayed as several boats, including two catamarans, succumbed to the gusts before they'd even made it out to the Committee Boat, leading to a ripped sail and a broken finger on one of the boats.

Race one got underway on the Upwind/Downwind course, leading to an exciting test of the sailors skills to get around the course without capsize. The conditions seemed to suit the Laser and Contender sailors, with some close racing between the boats. Junior sailors Hannah Mumford and Tara Head from Downs SC in their RS200 were the only boat brave enough to raise a spinnaker, and flew along the downwind legs! Three more boats had retired by the end of the first race, leaving a field of 19 boats to progress to the second race. Contenders sailed by Tom Coley from Hythe & Saltwood SC and Peter Noble from Broadstairs SC came in first and second, with Nigel Brown from Whitstable YC in a close third in his Laser.

The Triangle race gave the sailors the added challenge of tighter reaches and a jibe mark, leading to another 5 retirements during the race, including the remaining catamarans. Tom and Peter swapped positions at the top, with Peter taking the win, again followed closely by Nigel in third place. Alex Head, the sole Topper Sailor and youngest sailor in the race significantly improved his position, getting his best result at 6th place. Given the conditions, everyone was impressed that he kept his Topper going so well throughout the racing, and stayed out while experienced adults called it a day!

The final race, on a Trapezoid course whittled the finishers down to only 11 boats. Once again, Tom and Peter had strong races in their Contenders, swapping positions again to give Tom Coley from Hythe & Saltwood SC the win with another first place, and the Man of Kent trophy. That pushed Peter Noble from Broadstairs SC into second. Nigel Brown from Whitstable YC maintained his consistent racing in his Laser to again take third. Alex Head from Downs SC in his Topper took the Junior trophy in 9th place overall, and junior sailors Hanna Mumford and Tara Head from Downs SC took the Ladies trophy in their RS200 with 13th place overall. The Team trophy was handed to Broadstairs Sailing Club, with Whitstable Yacht Club coming in second.

Thanks to the organising team from Whitstable Yacht Club for putting on the event, particularly Race Officer Phil Emery, and the Safety Team, who were kept very busy and did a great job in ensuring the event went smoothly considering the conditions!

Full results are at www.wyc.org.uk, and photos are supplied by Nick Champion at Champion Marine Photography.

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