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Bear of Britain Reunion

by Susie Hardwick 7 Oct 14:00 BST

On Thursday 2nd September, 12 members of the crew of BEAR OF BRITAIN met at The Royal Ocean Racing Club to celebrate what was an astonishing string of victories, 20 years ago in August 2001.

The Bear had been launched in the Docks by HRH the Prince Andrew in April of that year, and although she had a bit of a shaky start, a lot of hard work and dedication by the crew the season got better and better!

Yachting's history is decorated with many successful racing campaigns however The Bear program was different. It set out to achieve what many thought was difficult at best, dangerous at worst - to race a 52ft high performance yacht against some of the world's best but with an amateur crew. In fact, the average age of the crew was just 21 years, including Kit Hobday, who that year celebrated his 70th birthday!

They were second overall in IRC Division 2 in Cowes Week and then won IRC modern Class Division 2 in the Jubilee Regatta. It wasn't until the prize-giving that it was rumoured that the Bear might have won the biggest prize in the regatta.

The Kings Cup RYS Regatta 1923 presented by His Majesty King George V was for the overall winner, and much to the surprise and huge delight of Kit Hobday, Tim Louis and the crew, they were awarded the trophy by HRH The Princess Royal.

Sadly not everyone involved in this great team effort could be at the dinner but those that attended managed to celebrate for them all!