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Minima Yacht Club Annual Regatta 2019

by John Forbes 3 Sep 05:59 BST 31 August - 1 September 2019
John Metzner (red hull) leading fellow Solos Rob Brooks (4683) and class winner Nick Titley, along with Keith Payne's Laser and Alex Cane's Ent at the Minima Yacht Club Annual Regatta 2019 © John Forbes

A good turnout of 24 boats, including half a dozen visitors from nearby clubs enjoyed some classic river sailing at Kingston over a weekend with conditions varying from warm sunshine and light airs to lashing rain squalls.

The event 'proudly supported' for the 12th year running by TWM, a leading South East firm of solicitors (some with sailing tendencies) was propelled by an unusual North West wind, bent and diverted in the usual way at Minima by trees and buildings.

There was generally plenty of it, coming at us from all directions, and river sailors pride themselves on dealing with a wind which leaves you wondering why you just tacked, and whether maybe it was actually a gybe. So the result was some good close racing, possibly because the fluky lift that pulled you 50 yards up the bank ahead of the opposition then left you in a hole, while your rivals picked up a similar lucky puff.

While Saturday's wind probably hit force 5 in the squalls, Sunday was lighter, but just as variable, force 2 to frustrating at times, as they say in the shipping forecast.

The river was busy on the last weekend of summer, and the constant wind shifts led to one or two minor bumps, although Turks Launches, whose pier is in Minima's sailing area, kept out of the sailors' way with great patience and good humour, particularly in the new sailors race on Saturday which was pretty well becalmed.

An intense 3-race Saturday afternoon was followed by the Minima's customarily excellent barbecue and bop (for those with stamina), Matt Sulzmann's jazz providing the accompaniment to the sunset.

Best entertainment on the river was provided by two Merlin Rockets which managed to become entangled at mast top level by one somehow snagging the other's burgee halyard. They had to sail to a landing stage joined like Siamese twins. In the Merlin races Denis Lockwood took two firsts on Saturday, however Sel Shah came down from Thames SC on Sunday and got three.

In the Lasers it was a similar story, as Ali Banks's three straight wins on Sunday overtook Ed Mayley's double on Saturday. Ali retired early on Saturday, and Ed wasn't sailing on Sunday, so the pecking order has yet to be established. Ed is sailing at uni for most of the season. A rarity was Mark Candelas's Laser EPS, complete with wings, one of only 200 made, which returned to Fisher's Green after just one race on Saturday. The EPS possibly prefers steady winds and open water.

The Enterprises had the closest contest, with Alex Cane retaining the trophy after he won the last race by just 13 seconds, ahead of your correspondent and Rob Brignell dead-heated in second place. Yours truly possibly earned some bad luck after inadvertently bending fellow Ent sailor Richard Shillito's tiller extension after a too close encounter with a hire boat.

And in the Solos Nick Titley was almost unbeatable, winning every race except the one taken by Minima's Rob Brooks.

A terrier called Mouse was the final star of the show, barking loudly with the applause as the prizes were presented. Minima usually finds something extra for the presentations. We have been graced by the presence of the mayor, last year it was Miss London: this year it was Mouse.

Overall Results: (Minima unless stated)

Merlin Rocket
1 Sel Shah, Anna Aylward (Thames SC)
2 Denis Lockwood, Erica Bishop

Enterprise
1 Alex and David Cane
2 John Forbes Angela Caldara/Diane Keighley

Solo
1 Nick Titley (Twickenham YC)
2 Andy Banks

Laser
1 Ali Banks
2 Keith Payne

New Sailors
1 Jonny Knight
2 Maria Fini

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