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Schools Regatta held at Alton Water Sports Centre

by Martin Pavey 9 Jul 2016 17:16 BST 30 June 2016
All ashore for a well-earned lunch break © Emer Berry

Another successful Schools Regatta was held at Alton Water on 30 June. We can even blame (correctly) the EU referendum for the change of date from the 23rd June to 30th June with the resulting improvement in the weather.

This was an opportunity for a change of routine with a day out of school for pupils and teachers alike and with parents 'working from home'(?) there was no shortage of boats, crews and support teams.

The event is now well established and followed the previous format and with racing across two courses for 6 classes and a dedicated area for OnBoard, the introductory sessions for those new to sailing, the reservoir was busy!

The racing:

  • 186 competitors in
  • 120 boats
  • across six classes
  • from 19 different schools
produced competitive racing, especially at the front of the fleets - all were keen to win if not for themselves then as one of a team to for the Overall Most Successful School prize.

With a June-like day, yes sun and reasonably warm, the wind backed from the west to southwest and the courses were set; inner and outer loops for the faster and more populous fleets on Course A and a more simplistic oblong for those on Course B.

With the wind varying in strength from 5 to 10 mph and shifting with the clouds coming over, it gave both the race teams and competitors a challenge. The over-eager Laser fleet were recalled and given a black flag start for their second race of the day and when it was explained that an early start this time would mean an early lunch, some saw this as beneficial (lunch rather than a result). Two races completed on both courses and all boats ashore for a 12.30 break was the plan and it was achieved.

Post-lunch the wind started to back further to the south with the possibility that we would get a south-easterly sea breeze, which would require substantial course changes, but to everyone's relief the breeze returned and the course remained as per the morning session, so races 3 and 4 were started on time with the last race of the day being shortened.

Prizes were awarded to the first three boats in each class (locally made keepsakes) with additional vouchers from the local chandlery store for second and first places and the class series winners also being awarded a trophy to retain for the year.

Other prizes were awarded for Endeavour and for the best performing hire boat. The Overall Team prize went (once again) to that 'local' team who sail and practice on Alton Water - well done to the Royal Hospital School.

Please see the web site for full race results

The Onboard/Regatta fleet

This is always a popular part of the day, introducing young people to sailing and perhaps a refresher for those who have forgotten how to do it or have not raced before. With a dedicated sailing area and support team, instruction was given in the morning session with a chance to put it into practice in the afternoon session with some racing.

Prizes for the race winners, best learner on the day and medals for all entrants to take away were well received. Let's hope to see some of these competitors out on the race course next year.

Next year...

Offers of assistance are always welcome as this event takes a considerable effort to put together and manage with the professional team at the Centre being supplemented by teams of volunteers, both ashore and afloat. Please contact the Office at if you could help.

Look out for details nearer the time but expect the event to be on a Thursday in the second half of June (referendum re-run permitting).

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