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Thornbury Sailing Club Regatta 2021

by Mark Riddington 23 Jul 2021 11:03 BST 17-18 July 2021
YW Dayboats at the Thornbury Sailing Club Regatta © Tom Barnes

All sailors were looking at the forecast for the weekend of the 17/18th July with a degree of trepidation - the hottest day of the year, with no certainty of wind and racing (sea breezes are fickle in the Severn Estuary). But despite the forecast, 70 sailors arrived at the club on Saturday morning and were greeted by a promising bank of cumulous clouds and a shifty E/NE F2-3 wind.

Racing on Saturday consisted of two races for three dinghy fleets. The course kept sailors on their toes with continual decision making on tide relief and shifts, giving superb close racing.

The Fast fleet was dominated by the Flying Fifteen of Bill Beere and Jonathan Everett, winning both races. Also showing good form was Ted Lane, racing an Aero 9 for the first time (a departure from his 29/49ers), placing 3,3.

The first race in the Slow fleet was won by Steve Hobbs in his Laser, just pipping the Aero 7s of John Harvey and Mark Riddington. The second race started on the turn of the tide, catching out a number of the fleet who were late on the start line. Mark Riddington and John Harvey finished first and second, with the Laser of Stu Ford in third.

The Dayboat fleet enjoyed two races in perfect Dayboat conditions, with local veteran Tim Parkinson and crew Diana Parkinson winning the day with a 2,1 score line. Tim was no spring chicken when he taught most of the dinghy fleet to sail 40 years ago, to see him still winning races in a one design fleet is an inspiration to us all! Visitors Mike Hewitt and Steve Creasey came a creditable second with 1,2.

Sunday dawned with very light easterly winds, a number of visiting sailors looked discouraged and could be seen arranging road trailers for early departure. But as the morning progressed the wind filled, allowing race officer Mike Bayliss to run a single race for each fleet over top of the tide.

In the Fast fleet, Saturdays' race officer Andy MacDonald and crew Paul Watkins executed a perfect start in their ISO and sailed away to win the race - redress for their duties on the Saturday gave an interesting score line of RDG/1,RDG/1,1. With Bill Beere and Jonathan Everett having two race wins on Saturday, after much consultation and angst it was decided that there would be a joint first place for the two boats! Barry Smith and Rick Spring placed third overall in their Fireball.

The Slow fleet race saw the Miracle of Hannah Smith take the race win, closely followed by Paul Craig in his OK. In the overall regatta results for the weekend, Mark Riddington (Aero 7) took first place, with John Harvey (Aero 7) in second and Steve Hobbs (Laser) third. A special prize was given to Emily Elms as first youth sailor, sailing a very consistent series with father Martin Elms in their Laser 2000.

The Dayboats had had enough racing on the Saturday, and so elected to have a cruise on the Sunday, to discover more idyllic spots in the Severn estuary (the Riviera of the West Country).

If you are looking for a family friendly regatta in 2022, with plenty of room for camping, local walks and pubs for non-sailors and excellent food and drink, Thornbury SC regatta would be an excellent choice - it is without doubt my favourite travelling event of the year.

Full results at

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