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Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta 2018

by Oliver Dewar 25 Jul 2018 07:03 BST 20-22 July 2018
2018 Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta © Keith Allso

With a record 198 entries for the 2018 Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta, expectations were high, but with early morning breeze of between one to three knots for the first day of racing on Saturday 21 July, competitors and the Race Committee waited as the light wind slid ominously around every point of the compass. Eventually, by 10.00 a.m., the breeze established in the south-west and peaked at 15 knots in the early afternoon.

For the 102 boats in Black Group, the Mainland shore committee boat start was just to the east of the mouth of Lymington River with the 96 boats in White Group started from a committee boat line off Yarmouth Common, half a mile east of the Royal Solent's clubhouse. Simon Perry, skipper of Hamble-based Jiraffe and overall winner of the eight-boat J109 Class describes the conditions on Saturday: 'The first race was very light and fluky, but we had a good start and a good first beat and then holes opened up all over the place and we landed our fourth place,' he explains of his 4-1-1 scorecard. 'It was really tight racing over the weekend and we were one point ahead of [David Richard's] Jumping Jellyfish going into the final race on Sunday.' Racing with nine crew including his wife and two daughters, Perry and his team enjoyed all the shore-based elements of the regatta: 'We started at the Champagne Taittinger Reception on Friday night, then the Sigma 38 party in the harbour on Saturday followed by a fairly brief visit to the Towers Party.'

The largest fleet in the regatta was generated by IRC 1 with 23 boats and the division's silverware was taken by Tony Mack of J111 McFly based in Hamble. Sailing with a mix of friends and professional crew, McFly scored 1-2-2 over the weekend. The boat's summer sailing programme is hectic and includes Cowes Week and the J111 World Championships in Holland, but Mack was determined to take part in his first Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta: 'A friend and fellow J111 sailor recommended the regatta and when I saw him last night I had to congratulate him on being completely right! We have really, really enjoyed it,' said Mack at the prize giving on Sunday. 'I know the weather was nice which really helps, but the clubhouse is a really good centre for the regatta, the food was superb and the entertainment, including the outstanding Towers Party, was excellent.'

Racing in the 13-boat NHC 2 Division, Harry Brewer of Parkstone Yacht Club had a three-bullet 1-1-1 score with his J109 Space8 and took Overall Winner of the 2018 Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta. 'We were racing with four kids, four adults and a barbecue,' said Brewer, cradling a jeroboam of Champagne Taittinger that appeared larger than a couple of the boat's younger crew. 'The crew saw me through and were brilliant,' he added. 'We don't sail together all of the time, but when we can it always works well. The fleet we were in was excellent competition, fairly relaxed, but a really good group of people to sail against,' explained Brewer.

Following 11 years of sponsorship from Champagne Taittinger and continued support from wealth managers Charles Stanley, the RSYC's Commodore, Anthony Walton identifies the event's increasing popularity: 'It has been a really successful regatta,' Walton confirmed shortly after the prize giving on the club's waterfront lawn. 'The Taittinger Reception on Friday night kicked-off the event and it's been champagne sailing for the whole weekend,' he explained. 'We've had around 1,000 competitors involved and the club's staff – both in the clubhouse and on the water - have worked their socks off and it's all due to them, without a doubt.'

With the growing success of the Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta and a record number of entries this year, Walton warns that there will have to be a cap on entries for purely practical reasons: 'There are three factors limiting the numbers for our regatta: the number of people we can accommodate at the Champagne Taittinger Reception; the volume of boats we can moor in Yarmouth Harbour and, frankly, the management of the racing – there's a limit to the size of classes that we can provide efficiently run start lines and races for,' explains the RSYC's Commodore. 'It's been spectacular racing this year and a real pleasure to see so many satisfied sailors having such a great time, but the reality is we shall have to limit entries next year.'

The dates for the 2019 Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta are 26-28 July.

Potential competitors are advised to enter early to avoid disappointment.

Full results and photos of the 2018 Taittinger Royal Solent Yacht Club Regatta can be accessed via the Royal Solent's website here.

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