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Minima Yacht Club Annual Regatta

by John Forbes 6 Sep 2016 07:37 BST 3-4 September 2016

Minima Yacht Club's regatta stepped up the pressure for 2016 with five races over the first weekend in September instead of the traditional three.

Apart from a certain amount of muscular strain and pain felt by some of the less athletic competitors the result was generally acclaimed as providing nearly twice as much racing while still leaving time for a cracking party on Saturday night and an excellent lunch on Sunday.

The new format allows for two discards (to minimise the disadvantage for visitors who can only make the three Sunday races) and that in turn meant that in most classes competition, particularly for the second and third places continued right to the final race.

An unexpected bonus was that you could meaningfully compete against yourself: in the handicap class Jim Houston in a Laser Radial on Sunday narrowly pipped by one point Jim Houston sailing with wife Judy in a club Topaz Argo on Saturday. Not sure how you would resolve a draw in this situation.

A clearer benefit was that we had three races in a half-decent wind on Saturday and Sunday morning – after which the blustery south-westerly which is always problematic on the north-south reach of the Thames at Kingston (and which capsized four out of 15 boats out on Saturday) died to a westerly with as many holes as puffs by Sunday afternoon.

In line with recent turnouts there were 22 boats on the water in the regatta, which is sponsored by TWM solicitors. Their generosity allowed Minima to keep the tickets affordable for the Saturday night party and provided bottles of bubbly for each winning helm and crew.

Enterprises and Handicap were the largest classes, with three Lasers sailing in the Handicap fleet nearly justifying their own competition.

Result of the day was Ed Mayley's victory in the handicap class in his Topper, the only competitor to notch all five firsts. At 17 his name will join his grandfather David Mayley's on the trophy which Mayley senior won several times in a visiting Mirror, back in the day.

In the Ents Steve and Kathy Collins, making a guest appearance in Brian Cheetham's borrowed boat, showed they had not lost their touch. They took three straight wins, despite having taken time out of Ents, first for a spell in Wayfarers and most recently cruising, flying back from a trip to France and the Channel Islands to join the festivities.

Twickenham's Nick Titley also took three firsts and the Solo class honours in Saturday and Sunday morning's stronger breeze, but as the wind dropped so did his position, with Minima's Rob Brooks taking second place after winning the last two races, local knowledge perhaps coming to the fore.

In the Merlins all was to play for right up to the fifth race, partly due to a course misunderstanding earlier in the day, but three of the four helms competing won races, before Denis Lockwood and Erica Bishop took the honours.

A most welcome sight after a couple of years' absence on other business were the 40 foot carbon fibre masts of the Raters Vagabond and Strait Dealer, coming down from Thames Sailing Club to join the fray on Sunday morning. The two were inseperable, never more than a few yards apart as they sliced through the fleet, pointing, as Raters do, outrageousy high. For them Sunday was a three-race match: a draw was impossible: Dicken Maclean in Strait Dealer won the first, but in the lighter airs Thames Commodore Miles Palmer helming Vagabond took the last two and the Rater Salver, to take its place in the cabinet alongside the 2016 Queen's Cup.

The Saturday night barbecue has been elegantly entertained, it seems like forever, by Graham Wiseman's traditional jazz band. Graham died just a few weeks before what would have been his 25th appearance, and we drank a toast to his memory. Friend Gerry Ingram led this year's quartet at short notice. Thanks to Graham that trad jazz sound on the Minima balcony at summer's end is as much a part of the club's heritage as any of the old photos or ancient trophies.

Overall Results: (MYC unless stated)

Enterprise
1 Steve Collins, Kathy Collins
2 Alex Cane, David Cane
3 Robin Broomfield, Paul Bloomfield

Handicap
1 Ed Mayley (Topper)
2 James Hamilton (Laser, Tamesis Club)
3 Keith Payne (Laser)

Merlin Rocket
1 Denis Lockwood, Erica Bishop
2 Ben Marshall Sel Shah
3 Paul Seamen, Eileen Barry

Solo
1 Nick Titley (Twickenham YC)
2 Rob Brooks
3 Andy Banks

Thames Rater
1 Miles Palmer, Nick Fribbins, Kevin Pearson
2 Dicken Maclean, Cleo, Sue

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