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Minima Yacht Club Annual Regatta 2020

by John Forbes 7 Sep 18:19 BST
Minima YC Regatta 2020 - The Thames doesn't feel this wide! Ents and Lasers round the B mark with a backdrop of Kingston's Queen's Promenade with a few cruisers and kayaks to add to the fun © Rob Mayley

The turnout for Minima's 2020 Regatta was good with 22 sails, bearing in mind that many double-handers are off the water due to social distancing. Minima is the first club in this neck of the Thames to actually hold a regatta in the year of Covid-19, but this continues recent good attendance for this event, which combines tricky river sailing with great atmosphere and hospitality.

The weather was crucial. No rain: vital. Not much wind: not good. The high pressure also provided a clear sky for the socially-distanced-competitors-only barbecue in the dinghy park. Stars: lovely. Plummeting temperature for sailors still in shorts: not so good. A buoyancy aid gave some insulation.

Recent technical advances at the Kingston club were also essential, driven by Covid and Commodore Paul Bloomfield. He presided over the contactless bar after setting up entry forms and ticket sales online. The regatta was sponsored at short notice, for the manyth consecutive year, by TWM Solicitors.

And after a miserable year of lockdown it was a treat to see the newly-refurbished landing stage bustling with sailors from Minima and our good neighbours Tamesis and Twickenham.

The racing was challenging. Minima's north south reach poses a particular puzzle in a light westerly, which loops randomly over the poplars along the Hampton Court bank. The shifty breeze, force two at best, forced constant tacks and gybes, even if we only occasionally got to hike out for a puff.

The strongest gusts seemed to happen while we were ashore, tipping boats over on their trolleys and upending your correspondent's Enterprise while it was innocently tied up between races.

On the water youngsters were the stars, with Ed Mayley and uni buddy James Budden taking four firsts in the Enterprises, and Ed Cubitt, who joined Minima just a few weeks ago 2nd in the Lasers against experienced opposition (but Keith Payne's three bullets were undisputable). And in the New Sailors Handicap, which is becoming a popular feature of the regatta, Tamesis Toppers triumphed with Henry Medcalf beating clubmate Matty Key.

It was sad to see just two Merlin Rockets on the water, relegated to the Handicap fleet, which had seven boats from five different classes including an experimental RS Neo on trial at Twickenham, however the clinker-built river Merlins did show the assorted plastic hulls the way. Tim Medcalf from Tammy, crewed by son Edward, took two firsts on Saturday, but they were away on the tideway on Sunday, allowing Minima's Paul Seamen to clean up.

In the Solos Ali Banks won the first race in a borrowed club boat but then suffered a broken tiller, so he retreated to help out in the race box, and Nick Titley from Twickenham won the class.

Enterprise results:

1 Ed Mayley, James Budden (Minima)
2 Alex Cane, David Cane (Minima)

Handicap results:

1 Paul Seamen, Eileen Barry (Minima, Merlin)
2 Tom Hill (Twickenham, National 12)

Laser results:

1 Keith Payne (Minima)
2 Ed Cubitt (Minima)

Solo results:

1 Nick Titley (Twickenham)
2 Andy Banks (Minima)

New Sailors results:

1 Henry Medcalf (Tamesis)
2 Matty Key (Tamesis)

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