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Sailing Chandlery 2024 LEADERBOARD

Peter Brooke-Houghton Regatta at Royal Western Yacht Club, Plymouth

by Tom Montgomery 31 Jul 2014 18:11 BST 19 July 2014
Peter Brooke-Houghton Regatta © Alexandra Arikoglu

With a breathless day predicted over Plymouth Sound, a less than hopeful race committee briefed the competitors with the plan to have the first gun fired at eleven. The competitors, slightly more hopeful, went down to rig the Laser Pico's generously supplied by the Royal Western Yacht Club. Out of nowhere a light breeze developed, which was considered enough to get going, so Olympic Medallist Julian Brooke-Houghton, his soon to be married son, Peter, Alex Wilson, Peter Hale, Roger Irvine, Tom Montgomery and Jerry Lock headed out of Queen Anne's Battery, following PRO Robert Fletcher on his gleaming yacht 'I say Ding Dong' round the breakwater.

A perfect windward-leeward course was set by the PRO, and the fleet started only thirty minutes later than the planned start time. Fiercely competitive Peter Brooke-Houghton achieved a stunning start, heading up on an increasing breeze to the first mark, with Roger and Jerry close behind, and Julian mid-fleet whilst he battled with the complexities of the Pico. Peter Hale and Alex Wilson, fairly new to the sport fought a tough battle for last, whilst Peter took line honours. Our plucky PRO Robert Fletcher went straight into the second start, with Jerry hanging back and sneaking over the line at the committee boat end, covering the fleet. Alex Wilson with his new found skill headed into third as he rounded the windward mark, whilst Peter and Jerry fought another battle at the top of the fleet. Julian Brooke-Houghton was soon to find his feet, in this probably the pinnacle of his sailing career, and stormed down wind into second place. After some quick refreshments on the good ship 'Ding Dong' the competitors, with new found vigour headed out for the final race in the sound. Dirty tactics was the name of the game, and Tom Montgomery capsized a number of boats breaking nearly every rule in the book. Roger had the pace on the last leg and just pipped Peter Brooke-Houghton, who again was taking the whole event ever so seriously.

For a change of scenery the final two races were set off QAB, behind the breakwater, with a tricky course set around a barely visible mooring buoy, and a ferry, thankfully stationary. This added a new dynamic to the course, with a large wind hole behind the ferry, so the cleverer competitor could take it wide and stay in the wind. Sadly we didn't have any such competitor, causing a number of raft ups and the fleet fought it out at the leeward mark. The final 'Champagne Race' was sailed in a steady breeze, as the afternoon came to a close. Julian Brooke-Houghton sailed a cunning race, and had a convincing win, whilst Roger and Tom had an almighty battle for second place, with a photo finish, which Roger won by a hairs width. Many thanks to the RWYC and all that helped with this crucial event in the international yachting calendar.

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