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Rory Cheetham Cup 2024 at Queen Mary Sailing Club

by Ollie Meadowcroft & Matt Shaw 3 May 07:22 BST 20-21 April 2024

On the 20th - 21st April, the fifth annual Rory Cheetham Cup Match racing event was hosted at Queen Mary Sailing Club. Organised in partnership between Royal Thames Yacht Club and Exeter University Sailing Club, it was set to be a weekend of enjoyable high level match racing, in memory of Rory Cheetham, a former EUSC member who sadly passed in 2018.

Saturday morning saw a fresh northerly breeze awake the fleet for an early start, with the pristine Royal Thames Sonar fleet thundering its way out to the start line. Ed Harris and crew made a flying start, ending Day 1 without a loss, matching the supreme effort of Ted Blowers who also completed Day 1 with a 100% win rate. Behind them, Jack Hanslope and Ollie Brookes had made strong efforts leaving them to round out the top 4.

Racing was concluded ashore with some ice cold 'stubbies' for all competitors - Rory's favourite. That evening, a social was held at the Roundhouse in Wandsworth, reuniting various generations of Exeter Sailing both past and present. Rory's father, Andy, commented "It's very fitting that the event brings together Rory's old friends and many new faces". This is something we certainly saw at the social with competitors, alumni and friends forging new friendships and reminiscing on fond memories of times past.

The second day was more of the same, with some slightly heavier heads for those who had enjoyed the London activities the prior evening. Champagne conditions were becoming a theme of the weekend, with the final races of the round robin completed. This left the aforementioned top 4 to take the semi-final spots, with the remaining sailors competing in a 5th-10th repechage.

Ted Blowers continued his winning ways taking his semi-final 2-0, while Ed Harris won a heavily contested match 2-1 against Jack Hanslope. The 5th-10th series was won by Ollie Meadowcroft after a nail-biting decider with Rob Giardelli, involving numerous lead changes and umpire decisions.

This left Ed Harris to face Ted Blowers in the final series, and we would not be let down, with Ed putting up a supreme effort against the current National Champion. It would be in vain however, as the umpires flew their red flag in a close race 2, leaving Ted Blowers to take the series 2-0 and win the Rory Cheetham Cup, all while having not lost a single race all weekend.

The Rory Cheetham Memorial Cup was awarded to Ted Blowers and team and, as per tradition, the winners collectively 'chugged' the cup full of "a suitably disgusting but drinkable mixture".

We would like to pass on our gratitude to Queen Mary Sailing Club and Royal Thames Yacht Club for their equipment and support on and off the water. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of Royal Thames in allowing us to use their gorgeous Sonars and their continued support of EUSC.

Thank you also to our PRO Tom Rusbridge, Match Support Freddie Cardew-Smith, Chief Umpire Liz Procter and umpires Steve Procter and Nick Devereux. Finally, a special thank you must go to Jack Fenwick who's efforts in both the run up to and during the event were crucial in the deliverance of such a well-run and enjoyable weekend.

All in all, a sterling weekend of sailing was had with fantastic conditions and a brilliant standard of racing. "Bringing people together for a great time was one of Rory's true talents" so it is very fitting that we continue this tradition in his memory. As we see the event continue to grow from strength to strength, it is great to see the continued social ethos of the event blending with high quality racing.

We look forward to welcoming competitors, alumni and friends back next year, for another great weekend!

Overall Results:

PosTeam NameSkipperCrew
1Team AbsoluteTed BlowersWill Birch‑Tomlinson / Ryan Orr / Kelly Hillier
2Walders BoysEd HarrisCameron Harris / Alex Nikoloudakas / Archie Goodhead
31b Herschell Match Racing TeamJack HanslopeOscar Baker / Jakob Schmutz / Lewis Lane
4Golden OldiesOllie BrookesTim Pitman / Alex Hawkes / Annabelle Body
5Exeter CabernetOllie MeadowcroftToby Petit / Michael Schenk / Alice Snook
6Penn State UniversityRob GiardelliArchie Penn / Lizzie Andrews / Charlie Joyce
7What's Our Team Name?Tim BakerEmily Gent / Henry Hollingworth / Jamie Elder
8Don't be late!Jessie MainEmma McKnight / Lily Carter / Will Knatchbull
9Match a'TacksJulia StaiteRuaridh Angus / Laurie Maddalena / Hattie Askew
10Knot So FastNatasha BakerLeo Yates / Katie Byne / Keali Rhodes

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