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Ovington 2021 - ILCA 2 - LEADERBOARD

EAORA Offshore Regatta 2021

by Claire Scott 15 Jul 2021 07:20 BST 8-11 July 2021

When the easing of Covid restrictions, scheduled for June 19, was postponed for a further month, it looked as if the EAORA Offshore Regatta would have to be cancelled.

The regatta had already been downsized from the normal Harwich, Ostend, Ramsgate, Harwich format to a series of passage races, linking member clubs: Harwich, West Mersea, Medway, Burnham, Harwich. Now that was impracticable, because Covid restrictions effectively prevented crews staying aboard overnight, and some of the clubs were unable to accommodate the event, while maintaining social distancing conditions.

But there were already boats entered, and they were desperate to get out on the water, not least because some needed qualifying race mileage for Fastnet entry, and when cancellation was suggested, they pleaded with the organisers to find a way for the regatta to go ahead within the rules. The only way to do it, it was agreed, was to run a series of day races, starting and finishing in Harwich.

With the help of chief race officer Andy Wise a series of courses was devised avoiding too much repetition, and the regatta began in near perfect conditions - sparkling sunshine and a lively sailing breeze on Thursday July 11.

There were 10 of the 11 entries on the startline. Simon Ruffles' J120 Jameerah had an appointment with the sailmaker, having her Fastnet mainsail fitted, and could not start until the next day.

Scratch boat, Richard Matthews' 52 ft Carkeek designed Oystercatcher XXXV, got clean away from the fleet, finishing the 50-mile course two hours ahead of the next fastest contender, Nick Angel's J122 Rock Lobster, and secured handicap victory as well as line honours. Rock Lobster took second place, with Robert Leggett's X332 Ape-X in third.

In lighter airs the following day, Oystercatcher XXXV struggled to save her time on the smaller boats, and Ape-X was the overall winner of the 40-mile race, just 46 seconds ahead of Oystercatcher XXV on corrected time. Jameerah took third place with her smart new mainsail.

Sadly, the breeze died altogether overnight, and Saturday's race had to be abandoned, as with overcast skies there was little prospect of a sea breeze. Nobody complained about the decision, even though it drastically affected the overall result of the regatta, removing the planned discard from the scoreboard.

Fortunately some breeze returned on Sunday for the final race, which started as a 30-miler, but was shortened by race officer Claire Scott and the team on committee boat Windrunner, which moved the finish line from Harwich Harbour to the Cork Sand Yacht Beacon, when once again the wind threatened to die.

Once again overall victory went to Ape-X, by a much greater margin this time, from Ed Harrison's Corby 29, Entropy, the smallest boat in the fleet, and once again Jameerah in third place.

Ape-X took the County Standard Salver as overall winner of the regatta, and the Ailish Trophy as winner of Class 2. Oystercatcher XXV, in runner-up position overall, took the Millennium Trophy as Class 1 winner, and the Secretary's plate, for the winner of Class 3, went to Andrew Baker's First 31.7 Xray, the boat which had travelled furthest to the regatta, from Medway YC.

Overall Results:

Thursday July 8: Walker Challenge Cup
1 Oystercatcher XXXV, CF 520, Richard Matthews, West Mersea YC
2 Rock Lobster, J 121, Nick Angel, Haven Ports YC
3 Ape-X, X 332, Robert Leggett, Haven Ports YC
4 Victoria, Archambault 31, Adrian and David Gibbons, Colne YC
5 Entropy, Corby 29, Ed Harrison, Haven Ports YC
6 Spirit, Sigma 38, Paul Scott, Haven Ports YC

Friday July 9: Mary Hill Trophy
1 Ape-X
2 Oystercatcher XXXV
3 Jameerah, J 120, Simon Ruffles, Pin Mill SC
4 Victoria
5 Rock Lobster
6 Jackal, J-92, Digger Harden and company, Burnham YC

Sunday July 11: Graham Wallis Trophy
1 Ape-X
2 Entropy
3 Jameerah
4 Oystercatcher XXXV
5 Victoria
6 Spirit

Overall: County Standard Salver
1 Ape-X (5.7pts)
2 Oystercatcher XXXV (11)
3 Entropy (26)
4 Victoria (26)
5 Jameerah (28.4)
6 Rock Lobster (30)

Class 1: Millennium Trophy
Oystercatcher XXXV

Class 2: Ailish Trophy

Class 3: Secretary's Plate
Xray, First 31.7, Andrew Baker, Medway YC

Club Championship: Nore Command Cup
Haven Ports YC

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