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Yacht Clubs of Weymouth Dinghy Regatta 2016

by Rob Smith 15 Jul 2016 15:54 BST 9-10 July 2016
Kevin Francis & Phil Male during the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta © Weymouth Sailing Club

Last weekend saw 123 dinghies filling Portland Harbour and some of the Bay – as the 2016 edition of the Yacht Clubs of Weymouth Dinghy Regatta created a great spectacle and proved the now regular cue for breeze and a decent dose of sun.

Castle Cove Sailing Club were again the host club for the event, which was spilt into 8 classes across two separate courses. Principal Race Officer Bill Barker was in charge of 4 classes sailing in the harbour, while Ian Jones took his 4 out into the Bay. First off on Bill's course was the largest entry of 37 Contenders – who were one of two using the event as their National Championship. The 25 knot breeze (plus some bigger moments) suited this fast singlehander well as did the ideal reaches, but the wind was particularly to the liking of 2015 World Champion – Simon Mussell from Highcliffe, who despite being chased hard by Ben Holden from Halifax, – gave a masterclass in high wind sailing to win with a race to spare. Two time previous World champ Graham Scott filled the last podium spot.

The 14 slow handicap boats were next up with a mix of ages and boat types including a decent number of Lasers, all sent on a smaller square course. Despite super challenging conditions for the smaller boats and sailors, local Castle Cove cadet Will Adler produced a perfect scoreline to dominate this class in his Topper and also grab 'Performance of the Regatta' prize. He managed to hold off the challenge of Dave Elson's Scorpion, being crewed by another CCSC cadet – Lizzie Bowers, and the third placed Ollie Fellows (Topper) – again – a CCSC cadet.

As the radical shapes and colours of the International Canoes were unfortunately only seen ashore due to the wind strength, the last class out from Imogen was the Asymmetrics. Again 14 varied machines competed, including the spectacular and regular visiting Cherubs – the first of whom proved to be Andrew and Jill peters from Queen Mary SC. However not to be out done on the spectacle front, the high class battle for honours ended up being between locals Alex Adams in his INT Moth, and the INT 14 of Glen Truswell and Sam Pascoe. 1 point separated them at the end, but current World Champions Glen & Sam just took the win.

Following a post race/pre-beer ice-cream from the resident van, Saturday evening saw a very full club house and balcony with lots of tired bodies suddenly finding plenty of energy to jump in the food queue. Chilli went down well from the galley, cooked and served by some of the volunteer army responsible for feeding and watering the sailors, families and visitors throughout the weekend.

Both courses were in the harbour for Sundays action in misty then sunny SW force 5+ (again), and of the classes who experienced Bay conditions on Saturday, the first in order were the 13 Ospreys. Ben and Simon Hawkes from Wimbleball spoilt the local party splitting the Weymouth boats of 4th placed Emma Stevenson/Tim Bowden and 2nd placed Terry Curtis with Nick Broomhall on the wire this time. However Castle Cove duo Kev Francis and Phil Male were fairly emphatic and very popular winners in this competitive class.

2nd out of the Viking gate were the 12 Ok's, and like the other hiking boats – had a tough time with the wind strength and waves, although slightly more gain for the pain upwind in the harbour on Sunday. Despite putting 2 bullets in his scoreline Richard Burton (from Burton SC – of course!) came up two points adrift from catching the ever consistent Charlie Cumbley sailing under Weymouth burgee.

Next up was the Fast Handicap fleet, over half of the 13 being a mini Fireball gathering. Although Nick Orman and Steve Bolland got their respective Phantom and RS300 amongst the Fireball results, they could not break into the top 5. The long drive from Notts County SC was worth it for Kevin Hope and Russell Thorne who only counted firsts to win by 3 points from Phil Popple and Gareth Wilkinson.

The 4th fleet on Ian's course was also contesting their National Championship, namely the Bytes. They had the second largest attendance with 20 boats, and a great age and gender range which became evident as the various category winners came forward during the sunny balcony prizegiving. Before that everyone including the huge team from Bowmoor (9 Bytes) enjoyed some great racing but were generally chasing the leading two, Andrew Snell from Datchet and the eventual winner Louis Saunders from Combs SC. Ryan Bush was first junior, Celia Rushton from Weymouth first lady, and Matt Banbrook youngest competitor in the whole event at 11 – placed 7th!

Huge thanks to all the on-shore and afloat helpers and organizers.

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