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UK National Cadet Class' Alf Simmonds Trophy at Waldringfield Sailing Club

by Neil Collingridge 3 May 15:31 BST 25 April 2021

With Covid necessitating a change of venue where the fleet could get to without needing overnight accommodation, this year's Alf Simmonds Trophy was moved from Weymouth to Waldringfield and turned into a one day, four race affair.

This proved a popular move with the Cadet Class with an entry of 29 boats. The Class had to plan meticulously to ensure a covid secure event and is grateful to both the local Squadron and Waldringfield Sailing Club without whose support the event could not have taken place.

The young sailors are now used to the drill... register online, watch the briefing online, arrive changed and ready for action, sail, pack up, eat pasta and (this time) nutella covered waffles in the car park and go home. But that is to perhaps underplay the drama of the bit in the middle - the sailing.

Things kicked off encouragingly with a decent north easterly force 4 blowing straight down The Rocks on the last hour and a half of the flood tide. It was perhaps inevitable that the first attempt to get the fleet away would result in lots of boats over - in fact there were so many that the race committee lost sight of the pin end entirely with 20 seconds still to go. With 4 races to get in the U flag was found and used for the rest of the day enabling the racing to proceed more or less to schedule. That's not to say that a number of boats weren't caught out as UFD - in fact by the end of the day there was quite a lengthy list.

Race 1 saw Hannah Carruthers and George Cox Olliff take the win from Ben Goult and Alex McEwan with Bridgette Nee and Monty Slump in third. First Silver Fleet boat was Brandon Barker and Kali Karaskas with a cracking 8th position with Monty Hampton and Tash Davidson first regatta fleet boat in 16th. 3 boats succumbed to the Uniform flag or were caught not passing through the start gate upwind as the course required.

Race 2 - the same course but the prospect of the tide turning half way through. Hannah and George established a lead up the first beat after Toby Bush and Kemmel Thorogood failed to make the cross on Port that was there for the taking on the start line. After the best part of two laps Hannah had a good lead of perhaps 200m approaching the leeward mark off the aptly named Spinny Marsh with a gaggle of 3 boats in pursuit and a lot of other fancied pairings buried further back in the pack. Just the last leeward and 200m beat back to the finish but the wind was dropping and the tide was starting to ebb....boy did it ebb.

The four leading boats found themselves heading away from the finish line after rounding the mark and worst still heading straight for the patch of zip wind in the lee of the trees down by Prettyman's Point. One after another the rest of the fleet followed like obedient sheep until Tristran Whittle and Dom McArdle appeared from mid fleet, tacked straight onto starboard and headed for the nearer bank in less tide and decent breeze - great move.

In no time at all they were ahead but they couldn't make the finish in one tack so were going to have to tack to come back out - surely just a short one and then back to doing what was working so well. Oh no! As they looked to cover the earlier fleet leaders they took themselves back out towards the same horror show of zip wind and strong tide and so it was for Ben and Alex who appeared from even worse mid fleet mediocrity to repeat the early brilliance of Tristan but this time short tack up to the line and take the win. Second and repeating the trick were Will Shepherd and Joe Mycroft with Tristan and Dom salvaging third. The four boats who'd rounded the last mark in the leading group finished 6th, 12th, 14th and 15th - Waldringfield at its most fiendish! First Silver fleet boat was Gwen Thorogood and Lulu Mayhew in 8th and first regatta fleet were Charlie and James Bailey in 22nd.

The plug was clearly now out and the tide was running hard and as the wind lessened and shifted further to the east the course had to be reset in Pilot's Reach with a cross tide beat followed by a triangle sausage as the wind continued to drop. It was shifter than a shifty thing as they started but waiting for the breeze to settle was going to be futile - this was Waldringfield after all. A third race and a third race winner - this time Will and Joe followed by Tom Walker and Ava Stoddart in second and Bridgette and Monty in third.

Leaders of the event to this point, Ben and Alex had a bit of a shocker picking up a 9th with Hannah and George adding a 5th that they were going to have to count after the trials and tribulations of the previous race. First Silver Fleet boat was Megan McMorris and Josh Davidson with a belter of a 4th and first regatta fleet were Tom Shepherd and Jolyon Conway with a 21st... another very creditable performance. In fact the coached regatta fleet were mixing it up sufficiently well with the silver and gold boats that their coach was often unable to coach them during the racing as is usual practice.

So onto race 4 and things were very delicately poised for the overall event winner. Hannah and George emerged from the first beat melee to establish a lead that was never surrendered but there was nothing they could do as Ben and Alex moved past a couple of boats down the first reach into second place. Slightly further back were Will and Joe knowing they needed to get past Ben and Alex to win overall but as the wind shifted back to the left, and then right again the course unfortunately became more and more processional as the race progressed and overtaking particularly upwind became very difficult.

So Hannah and George took their second race win but only enough to be second overall on count back from Will and Joe (4th in this race and 3rd overall). Ben and Alex took second in the race to win the Alf Simmonds Trophy overall and Toby and Kemmel were third in the race to finish 4th overall. First in silver fleet were Robbie Stewart and Dylan McArdle which was enough for them to win Silver fleet overall from Mimi Slump and Samantha Nee and first Regatta fleet were Monty and Sash - again enough for them to win that fleet overall.

So that was it - some topsy turvy results but worthy winners Ben Goult and Alex McEwan who had shown more consistency than most - happy both for winning and for being spared the need to give a winners speech - no physical prize-givings in this Covid sailing world we live in. A massive thanks to all those who planned and managed the event so well - without this we simply can't run these competitions. And also a similarly big thankyou to Alice and Frank Thorogood from Sprotts Farm for their sponsorship of the great sustainable wood keepsakes which went to every competitor.

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1Gold9984Ben GoultAlex McEwanFP21‑925
2Gold10076Hannah CarruthersGeorge Cox OlliffWSC1‑6517
3Gold9994Will ShepherdJoe MycroftFP‑72147
4Gold10001Toby BushKemmel ThorogoodWSC5‑147315
5Gold9028Bridgette NeeMonty SlumpFP3‑1231016
6Gold10032Amelia MayhewHettie ThorogoodWSC4‑156616
7Gold9367Tom WalkerAva StoddartFP10(DSQ)2719
8Gold9983Tristan WhittleDom McArdleWSC‑938819
9Gold9321Ines GreenTom KrailingWSC135‑15523
10Gold8854Ryan HarrisSophie MarshallFP124‑131127
11Gold10003Libby BushEmily KrailingWSC67(DNS)1427
12Silver9876Robert StewartDylan McArdleWSC149‑19932
13Silver7679Mimi SlumpSamantha NeeFP‑1911111335
14Silver9985Gwen ThorogoodEloise MayhewWSC158‑171740
15Silver10092Brandon BarkerKali KaraskasStone818(DSQ)1541
16Silver8533George LittleZachary WindibankFP(DSQ)10161642
17Gold10012Edward FletcherAlex EnkelWSC111714(DSQ)42
18Silver9151Evan HarrisJames VellacottWSC‑2313121843
19Silver8352Megan McMorrisJosh DavidsonSCSC(DSQ)2142045
20Silver845Sarah McEwanSam GoultFP20(DSQ)102151
21Silver9400Emilia MayhewOscar BushWSC171620(DSQ)53
22Silver9043Fiona NeeElliott ChapmanFP2420(DSQ)1256
23Silver7202Amelia HamptonJemima McMorrisSCSC182318(DNS)59
24Bronze7231Monty HamptonTash DavidsonWSC16(DSQ)DSQ1963
25Bronze9378Tom ShepherdJolyon ConwayFP21(DSQ)21DSQ70
26Bronze9962Charlie BaileyJames BaileyWSC2222(DSQ)DSQ72
27Silver8333Lydia MycroftTBCFP(DSQ)19DSQDSQ75

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