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Lymington Dinghy Regatta 2018

by Giles Chipperfield 10 Jul 2018 08:00 BST 7-8 July 2018
D-Ones fighting upwind at the Lymington Dinghy Regatta 2018 © Peter Fothergill /

Lymington Town Sailing Club and the Royal Lymington Yacht Club hosted the annual Dinghy Regatta on 7/8 July, which was attended by over 100 boats and sailors from five nations. The entrants were rewarded with spectacular conditions of baking sunshine and spanking sea breezes. As one of the visitors commented: "it's like the Mediterranean - but the sailing is so much better".

As well as providing a focus for the local sailors to compete in big fleets, the event brings numbers of visitors, many accompanied by families who come to enjoy the holiday delights of Lymington. Local shops, restaurants and B&Bs received excellent reviews. A French competitor summed it up with "It was more than perfect. I will be back"

The event was run over two courses on the Solent, expertly managed by Rob Milledge and Paul Stickley, with a huge supporting cast of volunteers in safety boats, keeping the launching smooth and providing tea and doughnuts after sailing. Eloquent thanks were made at the prize giving to all those who helped by the co-organisers Luke McEwen and Heather Chipperfield.

The Regatta included the National Championships of the D-One class, with competitors from France, Italy and Switzerland joining the UK boats. The event was won by Nick Craig (Burghfield SC), winner of world and national titles in multiple classes, with Lymington sailor Giles Chipperfield in second. The furthest traveller trophy was won by Patrick Rufenacht from Switzerland, who was happy to say that the regatta was worth every mile.

The East course included classes for RS400, won by Oxford SC visitors Sean Cleary and Annaliese Nixon, and the highly competitive Musto Skiff class which was won by Lymington sailor and current National champion Tom Wright after a great battle with visiting sailors from Stokes Bay SC. The Fast Handicap class was won by the Lymington team of Luke and Emma McEwen with a score of straight firsts, a fitting reward for all the effort of organising the event.

The West course hosted the slower classes. The RS Aero class saw a splendid 27-boat entry, of which no fewer than 16 were local boats. Obviously the high level of local competition is paying off, and the class was won by local sailor and RS Aero Class Manager Pete Barton, with Noah Rees second and Tim Hire in third.

Local boatbuilder and legendary sailor John Claridge is building up the Lightning 368 fleet, and managed to find time to finish second as well. The genes are clearly important, since the winner was his son Robert. The medium handicap turned out to be rather a benefit for the youth 420 class in the breezy conditions, won by LTSC's Harry & James George from RLYC's Dowson-Gill & Matyjaszczuk. Schonrock & Young from Parkstone YC completed the podium.

Finally, we should not forget the efforts of the young RS Tera sailors in the Slow Handicap fleet, who faced a might battle just to get round the course against the combined flood tide and full-bore sea breeze. Congratulations to Lymington's Abby Hire and Albert Barber for completing the course.

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