Regatta Reports

There follows reports from the various fleets, and others, of the activities on the river during the Platinum Jubilee Regatta. The RC (Sailing) has commented on the activities of the Race Management team, whose tireless efforts make events like this possible. Here they are…….






Whether they are up in the sky in the Race Box, or out in the weather on a Committee Boat, these are the people whose fault it always is if there is too much or not enough wind!

For this regatta there were multiple starts from many places, and the view for those race officers on the water will have been very different!




And now, on to the Fleet reports. Firstly from Angela Shephard, Class Captain of the RBODs:

Friday 3rd June saw a foul tide beat to Rubber Ball, before looping around Wallaseaness and heading off all the way down to Ron Pipe.  RED JACKET enjoyed a healthy lead until coming out of the Roach when AMANDA managed to sail high and fast and by the time they reached the north shore of the Crouch AMANDA was ahead where she stayed, winning the President’s Cup.  RED JACKET held off the rest of the fleet, but AQUAMARINE managed to get through BERYL into third place, but BERYL managed to keep ahead of WHIMBREL who were jostling for 4th place.

MANDARIN managed to keep the rest of the pack behind to secure sixth.  ONYX had been having a great race with her newly formed team until getting too close to the shore and running aground, as had BLUE JACKET until gear failure caused them to drop back.  Speaking of newly formed teams, SEA MIST enjoyed her maiden race for 20 years and all seemed to go very well for them and they were awarded the Concourse d’Elegance prize at the Saturday Night Jubilee Dinner for being so well presented!


On Saturday 4th June due to the strong winds that had arrived, unfortunately the racing had to be abandoned for the day, there was a good and early call from the Race Management team on this, for which the RBOD fleet were grateful.  This did not mean a complete day off for the fleet as the RBODs duly headed out to the boats to detangle and hoist their code flags to ‘Dress Overall’ in time for the midday gun salute to Her Majesty.

9 of the RBODs afloat on the Crouch successfully Dressed Overall (WHITE ROSE, GANNET, BLUE JACKET, WHIMBREL, BERYL, AQUAMARINE, SEA MIST, MANDARIN AND AMANDA), with a most uncharacteristic exception of RED JACKET.  With what could be likened to getting a note from your mother, Cathy Herring approached the Class Captain on the pontoon to apologise that Stephen had searched all over the house and simply cannot find his set of flags!  Away from the Crouch, in an impressive and unique development, ANNETTE was afloat in fresh water and she too was Dressed Overall.

Luckily for Sunday 5th June the wind had eased considerably so the fleet set off for the first of two scheduled races.  The first race taking them to Rubber Ball, then Jubilee (very appropriate) then Pinto home.  Having had a great first leg, BLUE JACKET then dropped back and the first three boats looked set to be a repeat of Friday until going along the east shore of the Roach, both RED JACKET and AQUAMARINE ran aground together on what appeared to be quite a significant lump of mud.  Digger later informed Zandy (who had disappeared almost up to his shoulders when he jumped over) that both RED JACKET and AQUAMARINE had successfully found Horse Island, shown on Admiralty Charts from the 1960s, so a feature that would have been more familiar to the RBOD crews of decades past than those of us sailing in this 90th Anniversary year.  This unintended discovery mixed the positions up behind first place AMANDA, with ONYX having more luck and securing second, PHALAROPE third BERYL consistent fourth and SEA MIST finishing a very respectable 5th for what might be her second race this century!

Race 2 Results: 1 AMANDA, 2 ONYX, 3 PHALAROPE, 4 BERYL, 5 SEA MIST,

The second and final race of the day was a town course and although RED JACKET took the lead from the start, AMANDA managed to get through.  For once BLUE JACKET did not have a good first leg, having misunderstood the back to back re-starting sequence and ultimately retired to get ashore before the new club crèche arrangement finished at 2pm.  The first three finishers mirrored Friday’s positions, AMANDA, RED JACKET, AQUAMARINE, followed by ONYX and BERYL.  This combination meant that the obvious winner of the Georgina Kennedy Memorial Trophy was AMANDA, RED JACKET in second and BERYL in third place as a result of consistently finishing in the top half of the fleet.  ONYX’s second came into play to finish ahead of AQUAMARINE on countback, with MANDARIN finishing sixth overall.



Next, we have a report from Bryan Haynes on SPARKLES, the latest addition to our RS Elite fleet.

We had a mixture of weather last weekend for the Jubilee Regatta and for Andrew and I our first Regatta outing in SPARKLES.  We had high hopes of not coming last in at least one of the races and we weren’t disappointed….

Friday saw 6 Elites joined by 707’s & Dragons at a 9am briefing by the PRO & we were then off up river to Canewdon for 2 races with a wind forecast of 15kts with 22kts gusts.

Race 1 saw everyone keeping a keen eye on the 707 start and then we were jostling for position on the line, the first windward mark was closely fought with some light ‘bumping’ of boats & marks so 2 of us did our turns and after 3 laps we were all fairly close over the line, with EXCALIBUR (Roger Martin) taking line honours, followed by SERIOUS MOONLIGHT (Richard Bavin) with SPARKLES following up the fleet with a rather large rip in the kite. 

A short break whilst the RO moved a couple of marks and then into Race 2, again good starts by all, but those in clear air seemed to have best speed up to 1st Mark, again all were close, but on the run back a number of boats had kite trouble, and despite having no kite SPARKLES & ANDURIL had a close finish. Line honours went to BLIND SQUIRREL (Bill Blanks), closely followed by EXCALIBUR and following up the fleet ALL THE GEAR (Neil Fulcher) with their pale blue spinnaker decorating their bow.  That ended the first day’s racing with a nice long fetch back to moorings and some refreshment and the usual post-race debriefing in the bar.

Unfortunately, Saturday saw the forecast winds of 23kts & gusts of 30kts come to fruition and sadly racing for the day was cancelled.

Sunday saw 4 boats muster for the briefing at 9.30 and with a NE wind forecast of 10kts and a dying breeze we were keen to get on the water; this time down-river near Pinto & with amended SIs, we had  3 races today.

Race 1 again saw us all keeping an eye on the 707 start from the south shore,  with the flooding tide down the line timing was everything with no real line bias.  A beat across to the north shore and kite back saw EXCALIBUR taking line honours followed by SERIOUS MOONLIGHT, ANDURIL  and then SPARKLES following up the rear.  Race 2 & 3 followed a similar format with the wind slowly dropping and despite a slight shuffle in the front markers we nevertheless saw EXCALIBUR holding off SERIOUS MOONLIGHT to take the Regatta honours, with the The Whitsun Weekend Cup presented to Roger Martin and Larry Adams later that afternoon in the RB courtyard.

A great time racing was had by all that took part and our thanks go to the race organisers and in particular the Principal Race Officer Rear Commodore David Osborne and his excellent team. Andrew & I had a great time & are now looking forward to Burnham week.

Finally we wish all the Burnham Elites fair winds in the Elite National Championships being hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes this weekend; lets hope we bring some silverware back.

Then we have a report from Rory Munro, instigator and
co-ordinator of the chartered 707 fleet……

The 707s were first out the blocks on Friday morning showing the Dragon and Elite classes the right and wrong sides of the beat. Three laps of a windward-leeward course between Canewdon and Black Point in a freshening nor-easterly breeze. ALL CLEAR and ‘hull two’, helmed by Freddie Pitcher, attempted a gutsy port hand flier however, unfortunately, this saw them ducking the whole fleet and left them some catching up to do.

Kate Harmer, with a strong start, led the eager fleet around the top mark, but with all boats splitting the downwind there was a reshuffling of the fleet. After three laps of chopping and changing, Freddie Pitcher came out ahead with Molly Brown second and Claire Dallimore a tight third. This then set the tone for the day, with race two extended to five laps and all boats being consistent by finishing in the same positions as race one!  The first day ended with much hilarity as the ‘local boys’ successfully sailed high and dry, resulting in Max Hinkins and Michael Champion having to push the boat off the mud!

No racing on day two meant that the more enthusiastic drinkers – I mean sailors – could get their heads back down and fully recover from the night before. Despite the conditions, most of the fleet could be seen out on the water in one way or another. Molly Brown and Max Hinkins could be seen planing off Winkle Bay in an RS 200, Michael Champion and Rory Munro were kitesurfing off Branklet Spit with the remaining sailors piled into RIBs and Dorys to watch the fun… Rory Maclean however could be seen smugly dipping biscuits into warm tea from the comforts of ‘Jennifer’. Harry Hinkins, Kenny-Herbert, Kate Harmer and Lily Lower saved the day when a young Pitcher and a not so young Hooper found themselves stranded and in despair, anchored 5 meters off a lee shore. After battling the conditions for a few hours, the youthful bunch retired to the shelter of the dingy park for some croquet, boule and 15 or so jugs of Pimms. The RBOD sailors, all the while, were enjoying their well-earnt “lay day” and could be found muttering under their breaths “well it took them a while to work that out”, “I know, they’ve all missed out on three hours of drinking” and, “You wouldn’t see me near the water on a day like today”.

Following a rather splendid, excessive dinner and night of dancing at the club, day three was a little slow to start. It appeared that even the weather gods were a little hungover; they were blowing much less than the previous two days and it was going to be a morning for the tacticians.

Race one in light conditions saw Molly Brown come out victorious – with the wind backing rapidly, it called for a quick adjustment of the top mark before race two was underway. As the boats crossed the start line skippers looked up the course, only to see that Molly had obviously had an early night or simply that she could handle her tequila just as well as she could start a race! Pulling off the regatta winning maneuver, a port hand flier off the start to gift her an easy race 4 win.

The final race of the day left a close contest for second place overall, reigning champions Clare Dallimore and co-Skipper Billie Quinlan sailed a flawless race to give them their first win of the weekend and even points for second. Unfortunately, a race victory came a little too late and Freddie Pitcher managed to secure second place on count back.

Multiple positive reports have come back off the water and a great weekend was had by all. It was fantastic to see 4 of 5 boats skippered by ladies and a whopping 72% of all 707 sailors were female! Alas, the rumours are true. Training has been done, the lessons have been learnt, the crews assembled… The 707 fleet are migrating to RBODs, its time to discover the techniques of this unique class – sailing with a drink in one hand and that all important race to the bar – it’s no wonder they put the boats so close to the pontoon!

Jon Sturmer has given us this report on the dinghy activity:

An eager fleet of dinghies assembled in front of the Club on Friday for what was due to be a series of 8 races over the celebratory weekend.

The fleet consisted of various Lasers, RS200s and a very fast Sprint 15 Sport catamaran. 

Unfortunately, the wind had a lot of north in it, so setting a course for the boats was tricky. Course setting was further complicated by the wide range of ages of the sailors, which ranged from 12 up to a septuagenarian!

Two races were sailed on Friday, before the wind strengthened and crews started to fatigue. The courses took the fleet out to No 3, followed by a couple of laps around No 11 and a windward mark off the BSC. Congratulation to the victors, Ant Law in race 1 and Eammon Browne, sailing the Sprint 15 Sport, in race 2.

Saturday arrived and disappointingly the decision had to be taken to abandon racing for all Classes due to the forecast of 20kts, gusting 30kts.

Racing resumed on Sunday morning, but again the poor weather conditions of a light breeze and a strong flooding tide made life difficult for the Race Team. The dinghies were sent off down river to No 3 and then completed a number of sausages, rounding a laid mark on the north shore before reaching back to the Club line.

The spoils in what was race 7, went to Ben Harden and Lucy Ellerey sailing an RS 200. This was Ben’s last competitive event before heading to Stone SC where he is looking to defend his Blaze National Champion title 

Race 8 was won by James Hutton-Penman racing his Laser.

The Overall champion, with a very good and consistent set of results was Ant Law, sailing a Laser Radial 

There is lots of dinghy sailing on the Crouch so if you or anyone you know wants to get involved please contact the Club. 

One of the more poignant courses sailed was a trip to the newly
re-named “Rubber Ball” buoy, and the Commodore has provided
a record of this…..

On Thursday 2nd June a flotilla of over 20 boats gathered around the River Crouch racing mark previously named Greenward to celebrate the renaming of the buoy to Rubber Ball in memory of local legend Alistair Munro.

For those who may not have had the good fortune to know Alistair, he was a renowned sailor, raconteur and larger than life character who brightened the lives of all who met him.

The weather was perfect as the 100+ group on the rafted up and anchored boats enjoyed their picnics before the Christening of the buoy.

As Simon Barnes read out a moving address over the VHF,  Amy, on the famous Musto RIB with Rory at the helm, christened the buoy with Mount Gay rum, one of Alistair’s favourite tipples, as Sylv and Stuart, family and friends looked on.

The Rubber Ball buoy itself looked resplendent with its unique flag and the strap line ‘Better than a park bench’.

It was a fitting occasion which would have met with the approval of the big man himself. After the rum had done the rounds, the group returned to the RBYC to continue the celebrations of a life very well lived.

Each time we round Rubber Ball to starboard, we say hi to Alistair and smile as we imagine the witty comment he would make as we pass.





Finally, some pictures from the Prizegiving on Sunday………