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Classic and Vintage International 14 Championship at the Royal Torbay Yacht Club

by James Vaughan 18 Jun 09:37 BST 14-16 June 2024
Classic and Vintage International 14 Championship © Caroline Gosford

The most recent 'windy weekend' in our wonderful British summer (14-16th June) saw an entry of 7 Classic and Vintage 14s join the modern International 14 for 3 days of racing in Torbay, courtesy of the Royal Torbay Yacht Club.

Given the completely foul conditions on the arrival day, with raging seas, howling winds and pouring rain, one of the older vintage 14s decided that staying cosseted in its dry/safe garage was by far the most sensible course of action! However, 6 of these wonderful old boats subsequently took to the water on Friday 14th underneath leaden skies and accompanied by a significant breeze. Despite the conditions, all the boats completed both races and notwithstanding several capsizes and a few minor breakages, everyone returned to the harbour more or less unscathed. At the end of the first day, morale was high amongst the fleet and many told long tales of some spectacular screaming reaches...Confidence was high.

Moving into Day 2, the Prince of Wales Cup Day and the forecast was a significant increase in wind on the previous day, yet despite this, there was still some healthy debate amongst a few stalwarts about launching for the race. However, the consistency of forecasts eventually led to everyone deciding to stay on shore and no racing was held for the older boats. The forecast proved spot on and from the comfort of the quay, the classic and vintage fleet enjoyed some great spectator sport, watching the modern 14s battling the conditions (20 started but only 7 finished) and a number of the older boat crews helped out as shore and rescue crew.

Day three, Sunday 16th, saw a return to 'normal-ish' British summer conditions with a good breeze and some sunshine, the two scheduled races were again completed and one of these was nominated to be the Postponed POW cup race for the older boats.

So, despite the fact that 2024 POW week echoed the windy 2023 POW week at Itchenor for, when only one race could be sailed. At Torbay, the class managed to complete 4 out of 5 races and there was some very close racing between the various ages of boats.

Three notable points to mention were firstly the first successful post-refit sail of K243, Uladh originally built in Malta to a Morgan Giles design nearly 100 years ago and now lovingly restored by Ned Coakley; secondly a wonderful team crewing performance by the Hutchinson family in K556, with Dad, Harry, crewed by two of his young daughters, Annabel and Maisie who appeared to thoroughly enjoy the feisty conditions and helped the boat to achieve third place in the Series and finally a shout out for John Mason sailing K1095 with his son Richard. On the first day's sailing John, who is a veteran+ in 'sailing lingo' and Richard capsized several times but they remained competitive, completed the course and came in with a huge smile on their faces much to the admiration of the whole fleet.

The POW race was won by James Vaughan and Alastair Wilson sailing K935 and so took the Peacock Trophy. The Series Racing was won by Joe Plant and Brian Willmott sailing K1113, taking the beautiful miniature of the Trent cup.

The first Vintage in the POW cup went to K366, sailed to perfection by Paul and Karen Armitage who notably had successfully rebuilt their ancient goose neck, broken on the first day of racing to allow them to put to sea again on the last day.

Thank you to the whole team at Royal Torquay Yacht Club and to the main 14 fleet for allowing the older boats to participate in the class event... 14s really are forever!

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