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Warm southerly winds beckon for the Wilsonian River Challenge

by Andy Rice 28 May 15:32 BST 1-2 June 2019

Warm southerly winds beckon for the Wilsonian River Challenge this weekend on the Medway estuary. Could this finally be the start of summer? Taking place on 1&2 June, the next event in the Great British Sailing Challenge looks set for a fantastic weekend of handicap racing, open to most types of monohull dinghy.

With more than 40 boats already entered, competition across the many classes will be close. If you want to be part of it, make sure you complete online entry by Wednesday evening 29 May. Note that there is no entry on the day.

Enter at: www.sailingchallenge.org

There's a good spread of classes already entered, including: 2000, AltO, Blaze, Feva XL, International Moth, Laser Radial, Miracle, Musto Skiff, National 18, Osprey, Phantom, RS Vareo, RS200, RS600, RS800, Solo, Streaker, Vortex, Wayfarer.

The racing takes place under the Great Lakes variation on the standard RYA PY numbers, the same numbers used and well proven in the Selden SailJuice Winter Series. One of the competitors will be former SailJuice Winter Series winner Andy Peake who is stepping out of his Musto Skiff and into the RS600 for this event.

Saturday is a long distance race with the navigational adventure of racing in the estuary. It will be a bit of beating, reaching, running, and then after the first hour it will turn into a more standard race to keep all the boats in one place and finish them close together. With a target time of 100 minutes, the long distance offers an opportunity for the faster boats to stretch their legs, while on the Sunday it will be three back-to-back short course handicap races that will work more in favour of the slower boats.

Entry is open to all non-foiling monohull centreboard dinghies with a Great Lakes Handicap Number equal to or lower than the Topper 5.3 and Challenger Trimarans.

For friends and family who aren't racing, there's plenty to do nearby including a visit to the historic Upnor Castle and the local area which is full of Britain's maritime heritage.

The club is putting on food and social events throughout the weekend. Hot and cold food will be available from the galley on arrival including:

  • Food available for Friday night Competitors and Visitors
  • Breakfast served from 8am to 10.30am on Saturday from 7.30am to 9.30am on Sunday
  • Rolls to take afloat on request
  • Pasties and snack food available after racing on both Saturday and Sunday
  • Bar open all day for Soft Non Alcoholic and Alcoholic Drinks
  • Saturday Afternoon/Evening: The BBQ will be available from 4pm with live music in the Evening

Camping: There will be a limited amount of camping space(maximum tent Size 2 x 3 metres) and campervan space which will need to be applied beforehand on a first come first serve basis.

There's plenty of accommodation nearby. The website www.visitmedway.org/getting-here/visitor-information-centre will give you all local B&Bs, Guest Houses, Premier Inn, Travelodge and other hotels. The nearest towns are Hoo St Werburgh and Strood.

Online entry is open at www.sailingchallenge.org. Get your entry in before it hits the 80-boat limit.

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