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KSSA Mid-Summer Regatta at Medway Yacht Club

by Jon Bentman 30 Jun 15:14 BST 27 June 2021

The Kent Schools Sailing Association enjoyed a return to its usual boisterous big-action racing at the Mid-Summer Regatta on the last weekend in June.

The regatta, hosted by Medway YC was the second part of a weekend 'summer camp' for the youth sailors, which started with race training and an Allcomers (youth and adults) race on the Saturday (plus evening BBQ), followed by a four-race regatta on the Sunday. Consistently overcast skies made for grey days but the wind came in on the Sunday to provide an 8-10 knot breeze (with gusts) that made for enjoyable sailing.

A strong tide on the Sunday morning made reaching the racecourse itself a test as the dinghies ducked and dived between the yacht moorings on the Medway estuary. The tide then influenced the layout of a tight Course Four close to St Mary's Island for the first two races, which favoured the single-handers as the double-handers simply couldn't gain their usual speed advantage in the off-wind legs. They also struggled with manoeuvrability on the crowded start line, where Optimists and Terras bravely jostled with the bigger boats.

Whitstable YC's Harry Newton (Laser) came through to win both morning races ahead of Medway YC's Millie Lewis (Laser 4.7) and Broadstairs SC's Lee Windridge (Laser Radial) who were in joint second with 5 points each. Usual front runners, Downs SC's Abbey Mumford and Evie Herrington simply couldn't find the space to let their 420 get up to speed, placing 5 - 5.

After lunch came a new, bigger Course Four off Hoo Island and here at last Mumford and Herrington could power-up their 420 to take two wins, but Newton - a lad who seems to have doubled in size since Lockdown! - kept them in sight and with a 1-1-(3)-2 took a comfortable-ish overall win. The afternoon's wins hauled Mumford and Herrington up to second, just, with Lewis and Windridge only one and two points behind, with Windridge losing out on third overall (to Lewis) in the last race by one-second. A day of close racing for sure.

The Topper fleet was dominated by a group fast becoming known as the Chipstead Four. There must be something in the water at the lake at Chipstead SC as Alex Yeates (5th) led home his club mates Daniel Hebditch (6th), Ed Smith (8th) and Izzy Johnson (9th). These guys are putting on some dazzling sailing, not least of which was the daredevil port end flyer from Smith - crossing the entire fleet - in the third race.

Medway YC's Henry Lewis (Optimist) led home the Oppie/Tera fleet in 13th overall ahead of Erith YC's Harry Mitchell (Tera Sport) and Broadstairs SC's Sophia Kyriacou (Tera Pro).

Special mention, also, to Sevenoaks School who brought seven sailors to the event, highest placed being Mac Raymond (Laser Radial) who placed 7th. Many of these are international students who brought a bit of added colour to the day as American accents sung out across the Medway.

The KSSA sailors are now packing up their kit ready to sail as a team in the National Schools Sailing Association National Youth Regatta at Plymouth Youth Sailing at the end of July.

Full results can be found here...

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