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UK Cadet class Vaikobi Alf Simmonds Trophy at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy

by David Little 8 Apr 2023 10:43 BST 1-2 April 2023
UK Cadet class Vaikobi Alf Simmonds Trophy at Weymouth © UKNCCA

Sailors and organisers alike were watching every form of forecast in the run-up to the Alf Simmonds trophy on 1st and 2nd April. As it happened, the 40kt wind (that dominated Friday and made the drive from Suffolk so awful) had subsided and the 70 sailors arriving at WPNSA were greeted by a very useful Force 3 to 4, with patchy grey skies hinting at tactical gains to be had.

With class sponsors Vaikobi in board, was the first of the Cadet class's Spring Series - three standalone events, but with the combined results being used to select the seven-boat British team for the World Championships in Nieuwpoort, Belgium. Looking around the dinghy park, it was clear the competition was wide open: some sailors with experience from the last Worlds in Australia as helms and crews; a couple with high potential but managing injuries; and one or two with recent success at local events.

And for this event, we were joined by a couple of Belgian boats, clearly keen to see the competition for their home worlds. Game on!

Saturday - Race 1

Under the watchful eye of Bob 'Arky' Wainwright, the main fleet got away cleanly in a 9kt breeze from 295 degrees. The left hand side seemed to be paying, and at the top mark Tom Shepherd and Joe Mycroft in 9994 rounded first, followed by Sam Nee and Audrey Giumali in 9028 and Zach Windibank and Alice Boddy in 9673. The inner-loop trapezoid course saw Tom & Joe and Sam & Audrey hold their places with changes to the pack behind.

They finished in this order with Amelie Whitehouse and Maddy Sherwood in 10076 finishing third. Style points go to Alex McEwan for somehow falling out of his boat just after the finish - but he held on, his new mainsheet proving to be an equally effective tow-rope. In the 9 boat Regatta Fleet, competition was equally fierce, even if the sailors' learning curve was steeper.

Teya & Kyla Brezan in 9080 had a great race but sailed the wrong side of the committee boat at the finish, allowing Ava Stoddart and Isabelle Davies in 10002 to finish first. Teya & Kyla secured second with Benjy Bullock and Oscar Ward in 8447 coming third.

Race 2

With the breeze filling a little, Arky extended the windward mark. An individual recall flag went up, but no boats returned - a nervous race for some. Most favoured the left-hand side, and with the wind dropping towards the windward mark after touching 14kts before, Loic Schoonooghe and Hanna Kerre in 10055 rounded the top mark first. The weather was patchy, and the clouds were telling sailors where to go: black clouds on the left-hand side, or blue sky on the right. At the second top mark, Loic & Hanna stayed first with Sam & Audrey second and Tom & Joe third.

Unfortunately for Sam & Audrey, their downwind leg saw them slip to fourth, with Sophia Sfaxi and Evie Boddy in 9964 jumping to second with by far and away the best downwind skills in the fleet, rolling the boat to windward more than anyone else and going deeper too. That X flag saw three boats OCS - but at least they were pushing the line and challenging the others. In Regatta Fleet (sailing the beat-reach-run-reach but not the windward-leeward loop) those boats confident enough to fly spinnakers had the advantage. Benjy & Oscar took first, followed by Teya & Kyla in second with Mave Parry-Shield and Sophie Baer in 10006 in third.

Race 3

A bit of a break whilst the wind shifted around, eventually stabilising on 340 and dropping to 9kts at the committee boat. The start saw a big bunch at the committee boat end, with the pin end remarkably untroubled. The X flag flew again, with two going back. The fleet, led by Alex Enkel and Jude Baldock in 10012, split. It was clearly going to be a tactical race with those finding the stronger wind and clean air coming out on top.

The dark clouds brought breeze to the right-hand side this time, although only a few gybed off to take advantage of it - there's a favoured side on runs as well as beats, sailors.

Taking the gun was George Little and Hugh Voysey in 8853, followed by visiting Belgians Elias Kerre and Finn Ysewyn in 9836 with Evan Harris (carrying an injury) and James Vellacott sailing 10007 in third. In the regatta fleet Teya & Kyla scored their first bullet, with Ava & Isabelle second and Mia Stanislaus and Isobel Stamp third in 8529.

Sunday - Race 4

Day 2 saw a similar northerly, but the temperature had dropped a few degrees. For Race 4, the wind settled at 020 and 12kts. A clean start for the main fleet, with Elouise Mayhew and Clara Vellacott in 9400 getting out in front. The breeze seemed more even this time, but was lighter closer to the mark. At the top, Gwen Thorogood and Primrose Denny-Pickess in 9985 rounded first, followed by Tom & Joe and George & Hugh. Gwen & Primrose held the lead and chose the left at the gate, with the next six taking the right.

Up the beat, most favoured the left-hand side, with many working hard to protect their breeze. Tom & Joe managed to jump ahead of Gwen & Primrose on the beat, and led them to the finish. In the regatta fleet, a big group went right, with Mave & Sophie and Mia & Isobel demonstrating some proper boat-on-boat racing. They rounded in this order with Benjy & Oscar in third. But Benjy & Oscar managed to overtake Mia & Isobel on the downwind legs to claim second behind Mave & Sophie.

Race 5

A clean start for the main fleet, with an even split across the course. But it looked like the left was paying, increasingly so, and the savvy boats started to make their way across to that side. At the top mark, Amelie & Maddy rounded first, followed by Tom & Joe with Loic & Hanna third. At the bottom mark, most went left - had they learnt from the first beat?

By the second top mark, Tom & Joe had secured a big lead, followed by Loic & Hanna with Sophia & Evie third. They held these positions to the end, but the rest of the pack exchanged places all the way down the run, with hard defending and attacking on the last reach. In Regatta Fleet, Mia & Isobel and Ava & Isabelle did well on the beat, although Ava & Isabelle were very generous with the lay line, costing them space on the water.

The top four all finished very close together - anything could have made the difference in places. Teya & Kyla took first, with Ava & Isabelle second, Mave & Sophie third and Benjy & Oscar just behind them.

Race 6

The wind was up to 12/13kts. The main fleet broke with tradition and achieved a relatively good spread along the line. The X flag flew again with no-one returning - drama to follow for one boat. The fleet spread out, with Zachary Windibank and Alice Boddy in 9673 going for a massive right-hand corner. The clean air helped, but the better breeze was on the left and boats out there gained.

The breeze dropped at the top mark again, where Tom & Joe led with Amelie & Maddy second and Gwen & Primrose third. Changes aplenty on the spinnaker legs, with Sophia & Evie recovering several places. Tom & Joe were pinged as being the OCS boat and left the racecourse. On the second beat, the fleet spread out, but those going left saw big gains.

At the finish, Sophia & Evie were first, with George & Hugh second and a superb fightback by Oscar Bush and Emily Krailing in 10003 putting them in third. Another clean start in the Regatta Fleet saw Mia & Isobel lead at the top mark, closely followed by Mimi Windibank and Rose Little in 8537 with Teya & Kyla third.

And so the final scores were in. Winning the Alf Simmonds trophy - and in some style, with three firsts from six races - were Tom & Joe, with Loic & Hanna second and George & Hugh third.

In Regatta Fleet, Teya & Kyla also won convincingly, with Ava & Isabelle second and Benjy & Oscar third. Good to see five boats sharing the first places in the regatta fleet - some excellent competition here.

Our thanks go to our class sponsors Vaikobi for some excellent kit as prizes, and to WPNSA for being an excellent host venue, as always. Whilst many volunteers make our events a success, this time I'd like to single out our resident Juror, Steve Watson, for the excellent support he provides to the class on and off the water. Always fair, he is patient at explaining the rules to any young sailor, preparing them for tougher competition at international levels beyond - he's a great friend of the class.

And so on to the next venue - Burnham-on-Crouch, which has seen a resurgence of Cadet sailing over the past few months; a wonderful thing for the venue which hosted the first International Cadet events back in the 1950s. Let's see how the inland sailors cope with the tide and current!

Main Fleet Results:

PosDivisionSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold9994May Contain NutsTom ShepherdJoe MycroftFrensham Pond12411(OCS)9
2ndGold10055VortexLoïc SchoonoogheHanna KerreBrugse Zeil YC41642‑917
3rdGold8533Teen SpiritGeorge LittleHugh VoyseyFrensham Pond‑228137221
4thGold9964Mischief and mayhemSophia SfaxiEvie BoddyFrensham Pond‑1231153123
5thGold9028She Who DaresSam NeeAudrey GiumaliFrensham Pond24‑764723
6thGold9985TwocanGwen ThorogoodPrimrose Denny‑PickessWaldringfield SC10‑161026432
7thGold10076AuroraAmelie WhitehouseMaddy SherwoodFrensham Pond3713‑195533
8thSilver10012Joint EffortAlex EnkelJude BaldockWaldringfield SC7(OCS)5881038
9thGold9673JIMZachary WindibankAlice BoddyFrensham Pond858‑99838
10thGold7231Sullom VoeMonty HamptonWilf KingsnorthSouth Cerney SC661210‑13640
11thGold9836Speedy GonzalesElias KerreFinn YsewynBrugse Zeil YC5(OCS)212161651
12thGold10092Good VibesAlex McEwanAmber GiumaliFrensham Pond‑131297111251
13thGold10007SpectreEvan HarrisJames VellacottWaldringfield SC11153‑22121152
14thSilver10003EnigmaOscar BushEmily KrailingWaldringfield SC910‑181714353
15thSilver9982Racing StripesRhona EnkelKali KaraskasWaldringfield SC159‑1615101463
16thGold9400She Who Shall Not Be NamedElouise MayhewClara VellacottWaldringfield SC1418‑1911181374
17thSilver10001Pushing ItKemmel ThorogoodGeorgina LoaderWaldringfield SC1913‑2414151778
18thSilver10032BoombasticHettie ThorogoodNicole RichardsonWaldringfield SC‑20141518201986
19thSilver10094ThunderstruckGeorge Cox‑OlliffEliza CardBrightlingsea SC1717201321‑2288
20thSilver9984True colursTom KrailingElla EdwardsWaldringfield SC1811‑2624191890
21stSilver7274WaveRiderJosh DavidsonRosie HancockSouth Cerney SC21(OCS)1416222194
22ndSilver3989Hot RocksMonty SlumpFrankie SherwoodFrensham Pond‑25232320171598
23rdSilver8556Black JackAva RobertsWilliam HancockSouth Cerney SC‑242117212320102
24thSilver8352Master MarinerJemima McMorrisHarriet DaviesSouth Cerney SC162021‑262523105
25thSilver9401Little Demons 2Thomas PontetNoah SauvenSouth Cerney SC23192525‑2624116
26thSilver9983SorcererJames BaileyJasper BushWaldringfield SC‑262222232425116

Regatta Fleet Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st9080AzureTeya BrezanKyla BrezanSouth Cerney SC221‑4128
2nd10002AeolusAva StoddartIsabelle DaviesFrensham Pond1‑6252414
3rd8447HydrosphereBenjy BullockOscar WardSouth Cerney SC41‑624314
4th10006ZephyrMave Parry‑ShieldSophie BaerFrensham Pond33413‑514
5th8529UtopiaMia StanislausIsobel StampFrensham Pond‑74335116
6th8573Never Look BackMimi WindibankRose LittleFrensham Pond5556‑7627
7th8378AnimalOlivia StampSophia StampFrensham Pond67(DNC)88736
8th8403ShadowfaxTom StoddartAmelia StampFrensham Pond(DNF)DNCDNC76841
9th9232Nauti BoysBruce WardMaxwell StanislausSouth Cerney SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC50

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