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UBS Jersey Regatta 2015

by Bill Harris 11 Sep 2015 20:32 BST 4-6 September 2015

Fine weather blessed the UBS Jersey Regatta over the weekend of 4th to 6th September. Occasionally cloudy skies, sunshine, slight seas and winds that veered from northwest to east over the course of the Regatta were the order of the day. It was not until Sunday afternoon that the wind entirely deserted the beautiful confines of St Aubin's Bay, leaving a number of cruisers stranded and out of time.

Proceedings got under way in St Helier YC on the Thursday evening with a welcoming reception, issue of UBS competitors kit and a skippers' briefing.

With the race committee enjoying the stability and hospitality of the States' tug, Duke of Normandy, the cruiser classes were sent on their way at 0930 on Friday morning over a course set within the Bay. This proved not to be a straightforward affair, resulting in the abandonment of the first race. Happily this was quickly resolved and things settled down to provide good racing for all four classes.

Whilst sailing as two distinct classes, the two IRC cruiser classes raced together in order to provide an overall IRC Champion.

The dominating force in Class 1 was Allen Brown & partners' Melges 24, The Dog's........!, having been subsumed into Class 1 as there were, sadly, no other entries in the sportsboat class. This boat sailed well to produce a clean sweep, winning all three days whilst Rhys Perkins & partners' Archambault 35, Abracadabra, and Angus Bates' J-133, Assarain IV, duelled for second and third places. In the final analysis, Abracadabra pipped Assarain by just two points to take second place overall.

Steve Pearl & Steve Manning's X-79, the hugely competitive Less Xpense, proved to be the overall winner in Class 2 despite a strong challenge from David Jones' First 34.7, Jackana and David Myatt's 8-Metre, Erica. Having only sailed on Saturday and Sunday, when she chalked up three wins in six races, Jackana was at a significant disadvantage, despite the two discards she was allowed. Nevertheless, Jackana pipped Erica to second overall by that all-important one point.

Once discards had been taken into account and despite her clean sweep in Class 1, The Dog's........! had to be content with second place as Less Xpense took the Championship title by one point. Assarain was third.

Racing in the Quarter Ton Class, Tom Hill's Runaway Bus took both Friday and Saturday's trophies whilst Ben Roger's Tom Bombadil beat the 'Bus' by a single point on Sunday to take second overall. Graydon Dawson's visiting Quarter Tonner, Diamond, crewed partly by New Zealanders, including the legendary Roy Dickson of One Ton Cup and America's Cup fame, posted two firsts over the weekend to finish third overall.

Cruiser Class 3, the Island Handicap class, proved once again, to be a clean sweep for Chris Fritot's Sonata, Rondo, winning all nine races. James Wilding's Pandora 22, Boy Blew, was second overall, ahead of Sean Scarsbrooks mini-tonner, Miss Mischief. This was the class that suffered most on Sunday afternoon with only Rondo finishing before the wind died.

Racing for the 'small boat' classes got under way at 3.00 p.m. on Friday. Laurence Curtis' bermudan sloop, Moana, now well over 100 years old, took both races and was the overall winner in the Dayboat Class, being always well-placed and winning three of the eight races. Unlike the cruiser classes, each of the three days went to a different winner. Ben Jones' Cornish Coble took Saturday whilst Michael Harrison's diminutive copy of a La Rocque Beach boat, Jigsaw, Sunday, finishing a close second overall with Malcolm Annan's Oysterman, Jamesina, third.

Just two boats raced in the fast sport catamaran class, Class 5. Rob Moy and Mick Doleman, racing on Saturday and Sunday took all five races in the Class.

Veteran sport-catamaran sailor Gordon Burgis sailing his Hobie 16, Pure Energy, with Chloe Swetenham on Friday and Ken Snell on Saturday and Sunday was, again, the overall champion in Class 6, the small catamaran class, winning six out of eight races. Seventeen-year-old Tom Newman and crew Bart Wijsmuller, however, presented a constant threat, sailing their Hobie 16, TomCat, into second place overall, ahead of Aaron Le Cornu's 16 Top Kat.

Open sport catamaran Class 7 sailed on Saturday and Sunday, only, populated by RCIYC cadets (mostly fresh from the Hobie Worlds in Lake Garda), sailing Hobie Dragoons. Ollie Voak and Megan Newstead, sailing Hobie Wan Kenobi, won on Saturday whilst sisters Chloe and Elsa Swetenham, sailing No Swet, won on Sunday. The girls' keen performance was sufficient to give them the series, just ahead of Hobie Wan Kenobi. Declan Flambard and Megan McDonagh on Wild Child were a close third overall.

In Open Dinghy Class 8, David Raimbault won the first two days, sailing his Laser Radial, Mad Dash, but did not race on Sunday. This opened the door to Martin Speller on his Laser Standard, Liquid Impulse, to take Sunday and the series. William Holden, sailing Maverick, a Radial, was second overall whilst George Moisan was third, sailing a Standard.

Class 9, the junior dinghy class, was as hotly contested as any other class. Charlie Cadin, sailing his Topper, Crazy Madhatter, won on both Friday and Saturday whilst Edward Poignand, sailing his Optimist Butterfly, took the day on Sunday. With just half a point in it and after discards, Butterfly proved to be the overall winner ahead of Crazy Madhatter. Clemmie Carnegie, expertly sailing her Optimist, Boom!, was third overall.

After many years of absence, Saturday saw the reintroduction of a coastal race for cruisers designed to encourage those who prefer to race over longer legs rather than indulge in the cut-and-thrust of 'round the cans' and Olympic course racing.

With just a light northwesterly blowing, the idea of a round-the-Island race was shelved in favour of a race to the Minquiers and back. After four and a half hours of nip and tuck racing, Alan Stevens' First 44.7, Zanzibar took line honours just twelve seconds ahead of Bob Milner's Grand Soleil 46.3, Grace, who won by six minutes on corrected time.

The results team and protest committee moved up a gear, in St Helier YC, on Sunday evening to ensure that the social and formal programme suffered no significant delay, ever mindful of the host of place prizes and trophies to be awarded as well as feeding the many hungry sailors.

Regatta Chairman Bill Harris opened the evening's proceedings by welcoming everyone, especially visiting sailors, and thanking UBS for their outstanding sponsorship and commitment, Ports of Jersey for providing complimentary berthing and unstinting help and Visit Jersey for their generous promotion of the event. He said that there were approximately sixty helpers, all of whom deserved a special vote of thanks, including the race officers and their teams, committee boat and guard boat providers, guard boat crews, shore teams, protest committee, the results team, photographers and caterers.

Mrs Lizi Hill then presented the trophies following which Tom Hill, CEO of UBS AG, Jersey branch, gave the sponsor's view of the Regatta, particularly highlighting his own enjoyment as a competitor and pointing out the impressive involvement of young sailors.

A Diary date: the 18th combined clubs' Regatta is scheduled to be held from 9th to 11th September, next year, when it is anticipated that the Channel Islands Spinlock IRC Championship will, for the second time, be a major feature in the cruiser racing programme.

Full results are available on

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