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KSSA Mid-Summer Regatta 2019 at Medway Yacht Club

by Jon Bentman 3 Jul 2019 09:53 BST 29-30 June 2019

The Kent Schools Sailing Association enjoyed a full weekend of sun and fun at their Mid-Summer Regatta at Medway Yacht Club on the weekend June 29-30. Sun and fun, but also gusty winds and an unrelenting tide - and no end of obstacles, both moored and moving...

After a Saturday of coaching for all, it was Broadstairs SC's Pierce Seward, with a clean sweep of wins, who dominated Sunday's programme of racing. Seward is a typical high-achieving product of the KSSA system; in just five seasons he's been coached from nervous beginner in a Topper through to a real hotshot in a Laser. This is Seward's last season in the KSSA and NSSA, but he'll leave with accolades such as BSC club champion, 2nd RS Aero Youth Worlds 2018 (13th overall in the Aero 7 Gold Fleet) and runner-up at the recent first round of the Laserfest Tri-Series in Kent. And now sailing a full rig, can he add to his 2018 Laser Radial title at the NSSA National regatta coming soon at Weymouth?

In the Medway, Seward was chased home, at a respectful distance, by yet more Lasers of which the Radial of Sam Dyer (Herne Bay SC) prevailed for the runner-up ahead of Daniel Pearson (Chipstead SC). Local lad Henry Townsend (Medway SC) was unlucky to miss out on the podium as a first race 9th had to be counted with two 3rd placings. The plan had been to have a four races with one discard, only race three was abandoned when - you couldn't script this - a neighbouring cruising club ran a motorboat parade right through the middle of the racecourse...

First in the double-handers was Freddie 'Bruce' Sutton and Tom Hirst (Broadstairs SC), a pairing who get faster with every race in their new RS200. Charlie Baker and Lewis Wright (Medway SC) in their 420 were within striking distance of the Sutton/Hirst but a lowly 10th in the final race cost them dear.

All of this was set on a racecourse with a raging tide. The RO might have measured it at two knots, but one safety boat crew thought it was, at times at least, pressing four knots. This played havoc with the slow fleet who could find themselves going backwards any time the wind dropped - which it did frequently. Charlotte White (Wilsonian SC) was probably well practiced with the Medway tides and fickle winds, and she calmly helmed her RS Tera Sport to win the slow fleet (small boats) competition ahead of Harry Mitchell (Erith YC) also in a Tera Sport.

For many of the fleet this was a final shake down before the NSSA National Youth Regatta at Weymouth (July 21-27). The KSSA has a good history of team and individual wins at the Nationals and they'll be keen to add more top placings this year, while for six KSSA Rookies this will be their first major regatta - each keen to be the next Pierce Seward!

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