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Minima Yacht Club 2018 Regatta

by John Forbes 6 Sep 2018 06:23 BST 1-2 September 2018
Sails fill the Thames at Kingston on the Saturday of Minima Regatta 2018 © Rob Mayley

Minima Yacht Club's 2018 regatta went surprisingly well, considering the forecast was dire.

Three knots gusting a predicted four you will get zilch to nothing on the Thames, but it turned out sunny and warm in Kingston so the 80+ capacity crowd of party-goers enjoyed their Saturday night steaks and salads on the balcony, as Matt Sulzmann's cool jazz floated out across the river. The fact that your correspondent had difficulty staying awake in the first race on Sunday is tribute to the quality and quantity of the entertainment.

And in the end the sailing came together too, with an interesting breeze, generally southerly but occasionally all other points of the compass, not so much gusting as pulsing, every 10 minutes or so, with an effect a bit like the pace car in a grand prix, the fleet spreading out as the dying wind dropped half of us in a hole, then closing up when the back markers got a new wind first. There was hardly a breath of breeze in the lulls, but maybe force 2-3 when it picked up. It made for fascinating racing.

And the river being the river, there were all sorts of little local holes and eddies, wind bouncing off Kingston's eyesore flats or swirling round the trees on the west side of the course more tastefully occupied by Hampton Court Home Park.

There were 23 boats on the water for the event, which is sponsored by TWM Solicitors, the best turnout for a couple of years. With a relatively short lap there were some entertaining crowd scenes at the marks. Those canny enough to find clear air on the edge of the crowd did well, like Minima's young Ed Mayley winning the Lasers in the slightly battered club boat. Coming late to a mark and nipping through on the inside was also a good way to move up the fleet, as earlier arrivals clustered together drifting away from the buoy, discussing who gave or did not give mark room.

There were arguably 28 competitors, if you include the half dozen in Minima's New Members race, open to those who joined in the last two years, but of these only John Knight in his Solo was willing to take on the main races. Unsurprisingly he had a torrid time in the fluky conditions, but gained credit for having a go. He's fearless in a blow. Micky Kloihofer took the trophy on handicap in a borrowed Solo after doing just enough to stay in touch with the Lasers leading on the water.

The Solos were dominated by Erica Bishop, more usually seen crewing a Merlin, with three wins out of four races, Twickenham's Ian Hurst not far behind. To be fair to the Soloists, Erica is an instructor at Wimbledon Park, so she gets a bit more practice than the rest of us.

The Ents were hard fought, with Alex Cane pipping Robin Broomfield on a tie break, and the half dozen in the class frequently within a few boat lengths of each other, often exchanging pleasantries as to when overlaps were established etc. The only straight sets victory went to Sel Shah and Ben Marshall, taking turns to lead the Merlins for all five wins. It was a pity the Merlins from Tamesis didn't manage to get under Kingston Bridge to join the fun, but many thanks to James Hamilton in his Laser who made the trip. National 12s are Twickenham's speciality, with former commodore Alistair Edwards ahead of Tom Hill and the present incumbent Mark Marston, sailing with daughter Daisy and son Ronan.

The prizes were presented on Sunday by Miss London, Chiara King, granddaughter of Minima's long time Hon Sec Mike King, adding an unexpected note of glamour to proceedings after a last-minute arrangement made at the party the night before. It's not just the wind that can surprise us.

Overall Results: (Minima member unless stated)

1 Alex & David Cane
2 Robin Broomfield & Paul Bloomfield

1 Ed Mayley
2 Jim Houston

Merlin Rocket
1 Sel Shah & Ben Marshall
2 Nick Armfield & Angela Caldara/Zoe Van Den Bosch

National 12
1 Alastair Edwards & Charlotte Barletta (Twickenham)
2 Tom Hill & Natalie Page (Twickenham)

1 Erica Bishop
2 Ian Hurst (Twickenham)

Minima New Members
1 Micky Kloihofer (Solo)
2 Pat Dobson (Laser)

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