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RYA Go Sailing!
RYA Go Sailing!

Taittinger Royal Solent Regatta 2014

by Dick Dawson 31 Jul 2014 18:35 BST 26-27 July 2014

Challenging racing in the Western Solent

Friday 26th July saw the opening of the Taittinger Royal Solent Regatta with the champagne reception held at the Club's landmark clubhouse in Yarmouth. It was gratifying to see that the Regatta had attracted over 170 entries. Perfect weather conditions enabled over 700 guests to spread out into the grounds for the Taittinger Champagne Reception and watch a stunning display from Yarmouth's RNLI Lifeboat and the Coastguard Helicopter. Many then chose to stay and eat supper at the Club.

A great IRC entry, boosted by support from the Solent IRC Owner's Association (SIRCOA), meant that four IRC divisions were required and the Classic IRC class was once again well supported. For the second year, the RYA National Handicap for Cruisers (NHC) system was used to create a level playing field for the unrated and cruising entries. For the first time, we were joined by a big fleet of J24s, who were running the qualifiers for the World Championships in Germany in 2015.

Saturday dawned bright and clear, but with a light and faltering breeze. Because of the numbers and different classes of yachts two separate start lines were employed and racing started at 10 o'clock. The 14 classes of yachts ranged from over 60 very competitive modern racers in the IRC divisions, through just as competitive activity in the 30 strong XOD to the smaller Gaffer Class. More Classic yachts entered the Regatta then ever and whist some enjoyed more Corinthian sailing, there was plenty of competition here too.

In the late morning the breeze died completely and many competitors anchored or drifted, in blistering heat, awaiting the promised sea breeze. It turned up as expected, but not quite enough to enable all classes to enjoy the promised two races.

In Black Group, two races were completed only for IRC divisions 1, 2 and 3 and the Contessas. Most of the fleet passed an idle hour or so kedged off Yarmouth Common. The XODs, sailing in White Group, spent the windless and sweltering middle of the day drifting gently, to be brought back by the sea breeze as it filled in from the west. There was no time to run a second race.

Racing was over by mid-afternoon with competitors returning to the clubhouse for a well-earned drink, followed by a sailing supper. Many then went on to the annual Towers Party where the aim is to raise money for charity; this year the recipient charity was the Saturday Club for Deaf Children.

On Sunday the weather was light overcast and refreshingly cooler. The light breeze held and it was possible for most of the classes who had only one race on Saturday to catch up with two on Sunday. In Black Group IRC division 4, Classic IRC and Swan Classics completed their delayed second race first. The start then moved quickly over to the mainland shore as the breeze on the Yarmouth side was dying and the whole group completed their second race.

On return to the clubhouse, hungry competitors descended on the hog roast whilst anticipating the prize giving. With so many classes, this took a little time, but nobody minded the wait as the winner of each class received a Magnum of Taittinger Champagne.

Bob Fisher, whose diminutive 1898 Fife-designed Mignon came fresh from success at the Cowes Classics Week to win the Classic IRC class, said: "What a super weekend the Taittinger Regatta turned out to be. Blunted by the sponsors' generosity on the Friday evening, it demanded quick thinking by the crews on both days. Light and often fickle winds require constantly changing decisions to meet the new challenges of both breeze and tidal streams. Those who race regularly in the western Solent had some advantage, as the result sheets showed."

Chris & Hannah Neve's No Chance was once again winner of IRC Division 2, continuing an almost uninterrupted series of IRC wins at the Taittinger Regatta. Said Hannah: "Once again the Royal Solent YC laid on a superb event both on the race course and at the club house. They were not helped at all by the weather gods, who while threatening thunder and lightning which never materialised still managed to produce some fluky, up-and-down winds with massive wind shifts which made the racing very tricky at times. It is a credit to the race team that they managed to get nearly all the races in for all the classes and on No Chance we enjoyed some great, close racing."

Commodore Mark Hall said: "This year's Taittinger Regatta was the best ever. Huge entries, blue skies and challenging racing. The RSYC had wonderful support from their sponsors Taittinger and Charles Stanley and the 800 competitors partied on Champagne, the Towers party and glorious weather. We are already preparing for the 2015 regatta on the 25th and 26th of July."

Perhaps the final word should go to Peter Morton, who was overall winner in his JND35 Salvo: "Thanks for an outstanding weekend of racing in quite trying conditions. The team on Salvo really enjoyed the regatta (it always helps to win!); we really should race in the west more often."

The Club is greatly indebted to our two sponsors, Champagne Taittinger and Charles Stanley, who brought style to the event and John Caulcutt, whose Towers Party gave great entertainment to all.

Taittinger RSYC Regatta 2014 podium results:

Overall Winner
Salvo

The Charles Stanley Trophy
Pazienza

IRC Division 1
1st Salvo
2nd Jaguar Logic
3rd Tilt

IRC Division 2
1st No Chance
2nd Boomerang
3rd Xcitable

IRC Division 3
1st Zarafa
2nd Kit Off
3rd Foxed 2

IRC Division 4
1st Whooper
2nd Stan the Boat
3rd Google Eye

Swan Classic
1st Mojitabel
2nd White Heather
3rd Billyon

IRC Classic
1st Mignon
2nd Stren
3rd St David's Light

Contessa
1st Blanco
2nd Drumbeat
3rd South Haze

J24
1st Chaotic
2nd Jolly Roger
3rd Phoenix

Folkboat
1st Madelaine
2nd Padfoot
3rd Samphire

XOD
1st Silhouette
2nd Princess Jalina
3rd Arrow

YOD
1st Puffin
2nd Blandina

RYA NHC Division 1
1st Bonni Lady
2nd Fizz
3rd Knot Work

RYA NHC Division 2
1st Salamander
2nd Strega
3rd Ocean Lore

Gaffers
1st Windflower
2nd Foxhound
3rd Beeleigh

Full results from the Taittinger RSYC Regatta 2014 can be found at www.royalsolent.org/racing_results.php

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