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Setley Cup 2020

by Luke & Emma McEwen 1 Jan 07:44 GMT 26-30 December 2020
George Mortimer's Red 44 wins the Setley Cup 2020 © Setley Cup

In a normal year in Lymington, crowds gather at Setley Pond in the New Forest for the annual Boxing Day model boat race for the Setley Cup and Seahorse Trophy. Small competitors are cheered on by family and friends regardless of how cold, wet or windy the conditions are. Tears may be shed when a beloved boat sinks or a wellie fills with icy water but hot chocolate or a mince pie is usually enough to bring smiles back.

Racing for the Setley Cup has taken place every year since 1983 when Jonathon Rogers and Tom McEwen challenged each other's children to race the boats they had each designed and built across Setley Pond. Simple rules were drafted, longer wellies were acquired and fortuitously for lifelong friendships the racing was declared a draw! Each year more families joined the fun challenge and, while many parents, uncles and god parents still build boats for the youngest competitors, the older kids relish the challenge to race their own creation.

Sadly 2020 has been far from a normal year... and a normal Setley Cup big social occasion would have been far from an appropriate (or even legal!) event to hold. So this year's racing has had to be slightly different... sailors were invited to sail their boats across the pond anytime they liked over a five day window starting on Boxing Day and to time their best run. Results with photos of competing yachts were posted on the Setley Cup Facebook page by each family.

We have had a full range of weather conditions... the savvy sailors, whose hull paint was dry in time, enjoyed a boisterous south westerly on Boxing Day before Storm Bella kicked in. The following days provided fickle northerly winds making the finish line hard to lay. There is nothing more frustrating than watching your yacht whizzing in a dead straight line almost all the way across the pond when just before crossing the finishing line, it hits a header, tacks and sails back the opposite way.

Without the usual rescue boat (Stuart Jardine's trusty rowing dinghy) in attendance, families had to be ready to 'self-rescue' with the aid of paddle boards and long sticks and possibly a rather chilly wade.

Despite all the challenges it was great to see so many enthusiastic competitors taking part again this year and racing was close in both classes. Perhaps this year more than ever the opportunity to design and build your own boat has provided a fun project for many of the young sailors. Well done to everyone who took part and congratulations to George Mortimer who wins the Setley Cup with Red 44 and to Olivia MacAlister who wins the Seahorse Trophy with Cat Fast.

Overall Results:

Monohulls for the Setley Cup
1st Red 44 - George Mortimer (age 11) 1 min 17 sec
2nd Tell the Truth - Otis Cave (age 10) 1 min 33 sec
3rd Bulletproof Barney - Barnaby Chetwood (age 4) 2 min 16 sec
4th Silver Bullet - Sylvia McEwen (age 6) 2 min 20 sec
5th SS Betsy - Barney Bulkeley (age 12) 3 min 19 sec
RTD Black Panther - Joanna MacAlister (age 11)

Multihulls for the Seahorse Trophy
1st Cat Fast - Olivia MacAlister (age 7) 53 sec
2nd Catnip - Barney Mortimer (age 9) 54 sec
3rd Wind Striker - Lihan Laubscher (age 12) 1 min 4 sec
4th Silver Swan II - William Reeve (age 12) 1 min 5 sec
5th Latchmoor Lightening - George Chetwood (age 11) 1 min 6 sec
6th CT Racing - Jemima Chetwood (age 10) 1 min 30 sec
7th Rainbow Star - Jasmine Akester (age 6) 2 min 42 sec
8th Boaty McBoatface - Matthew Jones (age 12) 4 min 40 sec

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