Overall, 22 dinghies took part in our annual Ship in a Bottle Regatta. This is a three day event which is traditionally sailed over the extended Easter Weekend at Coombe Cellars. Six, all in handicap, races where scheduled with four to count and the early tides meant that the sailors had to be rigged and ready to go by 9.00am on the Saturday and Sunday and 9.30am on the Monday.
The forecast for all three days was for cool, generally North-westerly breezes and as it turned out these did materialise but where shifty and varied in strength from drifting to full hiking conditions.
In the first race on the Saturday the very fast Osprey, helmed by Eric Alston, took overall line honours followed by Paul Craft sailing his RS100. However, when the handicaps were applied Mike Commander (K1) had done enough to take the win, with Peter Hearne (Solo) in second place ahead of Neil Howard (Solo).
Mike Commander again won race two by a comfortable margin over Peter Hearne with Malcom Davies (Solo) third.
So, at the end of racing on Day 1, Commander led with 2 points, Hearne second with 4 points and Davies and Howard both on 8 points.
With Mike Commander unable to attend the racing on Sunday there were opportunities for others to move up the leader board. Hearne looked to be in control of race 3 but sailed to the wrong mark on lap 3 and Andy Colyer (Solo) took the opportunity to seal the win ahead of Paul Craft. No mistakes in the second race of the day saw Hearne take the win ahead of Dave Northcott (Solo) and Paul Craft.
At the end of Day 2 Hearne comfortably led the Regatta ahead of Craft but with Commander and Colyer both carrying two DNC’s, which they could discard on the Monday, it was still all very open.
Dave Nothcott (Solo) also sailed himself into overall contention by winning the first race on the Monday and Mike Commander was back in the hunt with a Second place.
In the final and deciding race of the Regatta, Commander comfortably took line honours but could then only look on and hope he had done enough as his rivals, sailing slower handicap boats, headed towards the finishing line. Colyer had rounded the last windward mark second on the water ahead of Hearne but a problem with his centreboard meant Hearne was just able to sail over the top of him on the final reach.
It was all too close to call a winner until the computer had done it’s stuff. As it turned out Hearne took the last race win, 4 seconds ahead of Colyer, with Commander a further second behind on corrected time.
So, Peter Hearne was the overall Regatta winner but only by 1point and a margin of five seconds in the final race. Mike Commander was second and Dave Northcott third.
A special mention for Maddie Farmer and Millie Miles, both Cadets, who raced an RS200 for the very first time at this Regatta. They sailed some super races and their sailing skills were much admired by the more experienced sailors. Such was their improvement that they were able to beat their dads, Paul and Ben, in the last race!
Many thanks to Garnett Showell for taking and providing photos of the event
Finally, a thanks to all those who supported the racing by performing Race Officer and Safety Boat duties. This is much appreciated by the sailors taking part.
Click the link below for full results table:
NB.Chris Tilbrook did turn up on one day to sail his foiling moth but the conditions were not suitable. However, he did sail this impressive machine on the following Wednesday at Coombe Cellars and Garnett Showell was able to capture this stunning shot which I thought you may wish to see: