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New Quay Yacht Club Covid Cup Regatta 2020

by Flip Seal 3 Sep 10:09 BST 30 August 2020

New Quay Yacht Club was not easily going to give up the fight for 'normality'! The pandemic had forced us to cancel our full keelboat regatta in July and it had also seen the demise of this year's Cardigan Bay Regatta - so the club decided to run a cruiser and dinghy 'Covid Cup' regatta over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Blown out on the Saturday by over-fresh Northerlies and with many sailors returning home or to work on the Monday, it all happened on the Sunday 30th.

Glorious sunshine and a light fair breeze welcomed the 9 'die-hard dinghies' and 7 'covid cruisers' to the start lines - all were following RYA Cymru social-distancing and track and trace guidelines, using an entry system designed by the Cardigan Bay Water Sports Centre. The fleets were not short of celebrities; with former UK and Welsh squad members and national champions, alongside 'pro racer' ocean sailors and RYA yacht-master examiners. So, the racing around three back-to-back windward/leeward courses was tense and close.

In the dinghies, the honours (by five seconds in one race) went to Douggie Lloyd-Haynes in a Laser, followed by Trystan Seal, also in a Laser and then, in a Laser 2000, Tilly James and partner Robbie. Nick James in a D Zero just managed to pip wife, Alison (Laser Radial), for overall domestic bragging rights. It was good to see father-and-son team Martin and Duncan Lloyd-Evans enjoying themselves in the heavy Bahia and Will Best in RS100 staying upright and going fast! Huge kudos too to Thomas Best, Henry Powell and Oscar Campbell, who although by far the youngest competitors and racing novices, looked like future professionals and rising stars, handling their boats with aplomb and courage.

In the cruisers, Chris Seal and his RAFSA crew of Carl Rich and Dave Stubbs in 'Brainstorm' (Super Seal 26) managed to win the first, even-more-closely-fought, race from Jonathan Price-Jones, his son Dafydd and Mark Willis in 'Witch Doctor' (EBoat) - by just 3 seconds on corrected time. As they then shared the next 2 races between them, those 3 seconds were all that separated the boats overall. Steve Berry and family in 'Bobble' came in third, having had the better of a tussle with Crawford McLeary and Steve Wood in 'Sprite' and the Davies family in 'Ettie' - all Hawk 20s. The slower boats without spinnakers - Norman Robertson's Blue Sky and Martin Seal's 'old gaffer' 'Malakin' - struggled to make way against the tide and retired from racing - the picturesque gaffer did manage to finish one race and had the advantage over Blue Sky overall.

The racing, of course, would not have been possible without the officials and RIB crews - so a big thanks to Nick, Crawford, Will, Pete and Trystan Thomas and not forgetting the hugely enthusiastic Angharad James. A great a day for all - NQYC proved it is possible to remain sane and enjoy oneself in these strange times in which we are living. It is hoped to repeat the experience for Bart's Bash 12/13 Sept."

Late news: One person absent from the event was Tim Jeremy, who was attending the Weta Trimaran National Championship at Weston SC. Not only was he second overall in a large fleet, but he was first in the reduced sail-area version, adding another name to the NQYC honours board as a Welsh and UK Champion! Da iawn Tim.

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