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Royal Harwich Yacht Club Junior Race Week

by Stephanie Hensley 26 Sep 2014 17:32 BST 25-29 August 2014
Royal Harwich Junior Race Week 2014 © Gill Moon /

104 young sailors arrived at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club for the 2014 Junior Race Week sponsored by Virtual Rigger. The week was held in varied weather from 25th to 29th August with two days of intermittent rain but always plentiful wind and some sunshine.

Class racing was held for 22 Toppers, 13 Optimists, 15 Teras, 11 Lasers with13 dinghies in the Fast Handicap plus a Regatta Fleet of 20 sailors in 18 Optimists and 2 Topper Taz.

The race week was again enthusiastically supported by returning over-age sailors who crewed the support boats and moved marks. In addition, local clubs Harwich Town Sailing Club, Orwell Yacht Club and Neptune Sailing Centre provided the very much needed ribs for support. The Course Safety Leader Joe Hunt excelled at managing the safety of the launch and recovery of all the competitors. The week was also outstandingly supported by parents on shore and on the water, without their help the week could not have happened.

For a second successful year the Coached Optimists Fleet (six from RHYC, joined by seven visitors) completed fourteen races but were also briefed and de-briefed every day to reinforce what they learnt on the water. The emphasis is always on fun. The thirteen competitors quickly found the rivalries that make competition enjoyable throughout the fleet, with Joey Taylor of Hunts Sailing Club, James & Rory Gifford of RHYC battling at the front of the fleet (all three sharpened by a week in Weymouth at the Optimist Champs) and three girls battling just behind them.

The superior technique on the windier days gave Joey the advantage and he took home the Brown Shield for the second year running. James gave it his best to challenge Joey but eventually had to settle for second with his brother Rory third. Skye Goodman won the battle of the girls in the stronger wind on Tuesday when she took two second places ahead of the Giffords, but it was the steadily improving Isobel Stewart that took the title of first girl (and fourth overall) from the consistent Rebecca Thornton with Skye sixth.

20 Sailors in the Regatta Fleet coached by Steven Clayton with a mixture of fun racing, training, games, craft sessions & pirate cruise to Pin Mill for ice creams. William Halfhide won the Lee Barber Cup in his Topper Taz over 13 races. 2nd and 3rd places went to Katherine Burgess and Bryony Thornton in Optimists.

Defending Tera Champion Toby Ruffles was put under constant pressure all week by his younger sister Josie, Max King & Oscar Cubitt. The Holiday Cup was eventually won by Joshua Davies of Dabchicks for successfully winning 6 out of 12 races.

The largest fleet was once again the Toppers although the majority of the RHYC National Squad Sailors opted to join the Fast and Laser Fleets after two exhausting weeks at the Topper Worlds & Nationals. Racing at the front of the fleet was dominated by Dylan Walendy-Wrigley of Harwich Town winning 10 out of 12 races, hotly pursued by Ewan Harris of RHYC. Benjamin Reason of Harwich Town gained the third place on the podium. Special mention - James Deaton in a 4.2, had the races been on handicap he could have potentially won!

There were no surprises in the mixed Laser Fleet as the inimitable Matt Aldous-Horne of Fishers Green returned to race after a years rest to win the Junior Week Cup. Here were impressive efforts from Cameron Harris OYC and Piers Luxford RHYC in 2nd and 3rd.

Finally the Fast Handicap sailors provided the most interesting racing with the 2 RS200's leading the way until Eleanor Hensley/Max Newhouse of RHYC in a Wayfarer gave them both a wake up call on day 3. Consistent results from Howard Head/Jacob Wright in RS Feva XL & Ollie Dixon/Ashley Deaton in a Firefly kept the pressure on the top 3 boats. It wasn't until Friday when Gus Dixon & Caitlin Jones' main halyard broke, that Hobie Wright of AWSC & Adam Fuller of RHYC knew that the prestigious Keeling Bowl was theirs to lift. Defending Champion Henry McCarthy of Neptune in his Topaz Uno secured 3rd place.

The Royal Harwich Yacht Club Commodore Ken Stowe and his wife Elizabeth gave their thanks to everyone involved, congratulated all the winning sailors and presented the trophies and prizes on the front lawn. The winning sailors from the Fast & Laser Fleets gave their own thanks and special prizes to unsuspecting participants and volunteers. A great week again was had by all.

Special mention and thanks to the Louth Family for their efforts and Race Officer duties.

See full results for each fleet.

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