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Lymington Dinghy Regatta 2014

by Alastair Beeton 22 Jul 2014 16:32 BST 19-20 July 2014
Lymington Dinghy Regatta 2014 © Alastair Beeton

On the 19th and 20th of July Lymington Town Sailing Club and the Royal Lymington Yacht Club combined forces to organise the Lymington Dinghy Regatta 2014. The event was generously sponsored by the Henri Lloyd Lymington Sailing Store, Nick Cox Yacht Chandlers, English Braids and Harken.

With a dubious weather forecast of variable winds and thunder storms the organising committee were initially anxious that entry numbers would be affected, but all expectations were exceeded with just over one hundred confirmed entries by the start of racing at 1300hrs on Saturday.

The fleet was spread across two separate race areas, with Fast Handicap, RS400, Blazes and Fireflies to the east and Medium and Slow handicap and Lymington River Scow classes to the west. Racing was initially delayed on Saturday afternoon whilst the fickle gradient breeze was cancelled out by a developing sea breeze.

On the West course, three races were completed, with Richard Russell and Sylvia Weger dominating the medium handicap fleet in their Tasar and Liam Willis and Arran Mills taking the spoils in Slow Handicap in their RS Feva. The Lymington River Scows had some close racing with Karl Thorne enjoying the best of the results with his crew of Astrid and Olivia Bemis-Driscoll.

Over on the East course the breeze was slower to establish and the delay put pay to the full programme of racing. The first race got underway after the course was re-set for a southerly breeze. In the fast handicap fleet Pete Barton and Heather Chipperfield won the start and finished with a 25 second lead over the chasing D-Ones, RS800 and Merlin Rockets. The RS400 fleet was dominated by Rob and Jan Martin sailing their brand new, as yet unnamed boat.

In the single-handed Blaze class, Myles Mence of Royal Solent YC showed early promise, but the fight was on with Ian Sanderson and Rob Jones both hitting the front of the fleet. The diminutive Fireflies enjoyed some very close racing with six boats arriving at the first windward mark almost overlapped.

Race two on the east course was delayed as the sea breeze established itself over the gradient breeze, but once underway the fleets enjoyed a cracking race in around 10knots of wind from the south west, with brothers Brian and David Earl showing the way round the Fast fleet in their Javelin, catching Colin Darcy's RS700 on handicap.

The race team on the west course managed to get their full quota of three races, before the fleets returned to the shore to enjoy tea and doughnuts at the Royal, followed by dinner and entertainment at Lymington Town SC. The evening prize draw for a £250 Henri Lloyd voucher was won by a delighted James McEwen.

Sunday morning saw the fleets launch on time, but with almost no wind racing was again postponed to await the expected sea breeze. Sure enough, at around midday the breeze filled in solidly from the south west and racing commenced.

The west course fleets again managed three races, but the longer delay on the east course meant only two further races were sailed. In the stronger breeze the powerful RS800's and the International 14 of Richard Lilley and Declan Clamp, showed their pace over the symmetric spinnaker boats, with Luke and Emma McEwen again leading the way.

The RS400 fleet was bolstered with a further five entries and racing continued to be close amongst the fleet. Rob and Jan Martin, could not emulate their faultless performance of the previous day, but held on to win the class overall. Rob Jones held his nerve to take the spoils in the Blaze class and the Vines family came to the fore to win in the Fireflies.

Over on the west course the wind was shiftier, with Matthew Podger's Laser winning the first race in the medium handicap fleet and Jenny and Emma Bennett's 420 ahead in the second. Once the sea breeze steadied, Richard Russell and Sylvia Weger took the lead again to claim first place overall in their Tasar.

The RS Feva of Liam Willis and Arran Mills sailed consistently to take the honours in the slow handicap despite three race wins from Harry Fitzsimmons and Sam Woodhouse in their Cadet and one from Jonny Tait's Laser 4.7. Karl Thorne and his young crew were first in the Scows, with Damian Dingwall and Oliver Witherby in second and Claire Bridge third.

The prize giving took place on the balcony of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, where LTSC Commodore Nick Ingram presented the prizes. Blaze Class winner, Rob Jones thanked the organisers on behalf of the competitors and LTSC Rear Commodore Sailing, Rob Milledge thanked all the sponsors, organisers and competitors and announced the that the LDR 2015 will take place on the 11th/12th July 2015.

The feedback from competitors was all positive and the general feeling was that the Lymington Dinghy Regatta is now a firmly established event in the local dinghy racing calendar.

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