Last year, whilst wrestling the responsibilities of childcare and sailing in the Aspirin Trophy, I, along with husband Alex and Monty (Tom Montgomery) from the Royal Thames, came up with a solution: we get the kids racing! Alex named it the Calpol Trophy, and we found ourselves at the Pond last weekend, attempting to organise racing for 15 small kids.

When we say "small", our trusty band of Pond sailors are now aged 3 to 9 (well, Benji Pollock (Hooper) is nearly 4!) The Royal Thames thought they would up the pace, by bringing two 2-year-olds into the fray (well, nearly 3!)

The event started well, with 6 working Oppies, all full of small people, bobbing merrily around the Pond. Actually, most were: Charlie Pollock (Hooper) and Wilf Montgomery teamed up, and had crashed into the reeds twice and gone aground within the first 10 minutes! It was all very jolly, and rather pleasing to see both two-year-olds on the water, with proud Dads Monty and Humphrey Dorrell patiently teaching them the concept of "towards you" and "away from you".

This scene was all very pleasant, but Sid Livingstone had not only sourced medals, but even procured a new, shiny Trophy for the event! Pottering around the Pond doesn't win prizes, so Andy Herring and Alex Pollock kayaked to each buoy, one armed with marshmallows, one with chocolate buttons. We announced this to the kids via loudspeaker, and were quite impressed with the sudden speed and enthusiasm that rushed the little boats to the sweetie corners of the Pond.

Encouraged by this unexpected show of competence, the brave organisers decided to go wild, and get the kids racing! Alex took a buoy to the far end of the Pond (as many members will remember, the wind here likes to swing 180 degrees, seemingly at random, so it wasn't exactly to windward.) Our helpful kayakers corralled the kids to a reedy corner and, after a quick loo stop and come confusion over which way the boats should be facing, they were off!

Our weekends on the Pond have paid off, as the RB boats (Millie Smith, Flora Smith, and Lucia Cole, Seb Dale and Wilfred Smith, Bléu Cornwell and Luca Triggs) headed fairly swiftly in the right direction, with Lyra Halliwell and Eddie Halliwell in the mix (sailing for the RTYC). Charlie Pollock and Wilf Montgomery took a while to work out where to go, and visiting Teddy Dorrell, first-time helm aged 5, was disadvantaged by his Daddy's weight in the stern.

The RB had a clear win, 1, 2, 4, with Lyra's 3rd not making up for the RT 5 and 6. Haribo distributed, it was on to Flight 2.

This time the crews (well, at least the parents and helpers) were more on the ball, and a more competitive start saw Charlie and Wilf rounding the Not-Actually-Windward mark in second, unable to catch the speedy Millie Smith. Their advantage was lost when helmsman Wilf noticed the exciting bubbles at the stern, and investigated, abandoning all interest in steering. Wilfred Smith and Seb Dale were quick to take advantage, and, with Lyra Halliwell and Bléu Cornwell in hot pursuit, left the RT boats languishing in 5th and 6th, bringing in a tidy 1,2,4 for the RB.

After all this excitement, we returned to the Club for some well-deserved ice-cream and Prize-giving. Pizza in the Library finished off a dramatic day, with some tears but plenty of glory. The inaugural Calpol Trophy was won by the RB, here's to the RT's challenge next year!


Penny Hooper
16 MAY 2023