After a hugely successful inaugural SWSYC Academy Cup the previous Spring, Poole Harbour was once again descended upon for some hotly contested dodgems in Laser Picos on 2nd June.
The SWSYC Academy was formed as a result of a grave concern held by the Commodore that the art of T-boning, grounding, crash gybing, dismasting and fouling ground tackle was lost amongst the next generation of sailors. True to SWSYC form, the Academy was born and rose to the challenge in 2006 delivering our eager Commodore a fine display of crashes, capsizes, steri-suture head wounds and close-quarter marina miscalculations.
2nd June it seems was the only day that Britain experienced summer last year – only it was a day of bad wind. Breathless to be precise. Nevertheless, the Academy assembled themselves at the Royal Motor Yacht Club for burgers and beer. As seems to always be the case, the proceedings were two hours late kicking off as Academians rolled in slightly behind schedule with weak excuses including hang-overs, leg-overs and bad traffic.
Earlier that morning, Bosun Montgomery had performed a memorable manoeuvre that involved towing twelve Picos in a long line, a crossing tide and moored yachts that resulted in the Commodore inducting him into the SWSYC at the dinner that evening.
Dan Howe kicked off the afternoon with a quick briefing and endured the seemingly mandatory waterpistol-in-the-crotch hilarity before all the Picos were towed over to the shallows off Brownsea Castle. A broken tow halfway across the main channel caused some excitement for the Harbour Master who witnessed four unrigged but crewed Picos heading rapidly for the chain ferry on a strong ebb tide. With that potential disaster averted, the dinghies were rigged and the pirate-hat wearing Pollock brothers performed their customary double-moon to signify they were ready for the contest to commence.
The racing was somewhat unorthodox and it was clear that brawn rather than brain was likely to win the day as the tide was running at a marginally higher velocity than the wind speed and so paddling, pumping and tiller-waggling were the techniques of choice. Nevertheless, the first start was hotly contested with thirteen of the fourteen boats over the startline in an entangled raft. A short triangular course brought the teams past Commodore Latchford for review twice before Victoria Jackson found herself receiving Race Officer Howe’s bullet.
The start of the second race unfortunately coincided with Parkstone YC’s X-boat fleet trying to sail through the area in a crunch Saturday series race in conditions to test even the patience of the wooden keelboat sea-salts. Some were amused but most were bemused by witnessing grown adults racing two- up in children’s dinghies.
With three races finally complete and still no wind, it was time to head back to the Royal Motor Yacht Club. The return trip was not without incident and the Harbour Master had another heart stopping moment as he watched Pippa Batchelor and Paul Weeden’s Pico fast-tracking for the chain ferry on the tide. Pippa and Paul safely retrieved, all the Picos headed back to the dock and the Club’s beer taps were once again flowing fast.
- Overall winners of the SWSYC Academy Cup for 2007 were Alex & Barney Pollock.
- Bosun Montgomery lifted the Throne of Endeavour for his Club membership-worthy Pico
- Howie Gale and Sarah Coughtrey flew off on the Golden Broom having found that Howie 115kg frame was surplus to requirements in the conditions of the day.
That evening the SWSYC held a fund raising dinner for our Yngling girls – Shirley, Annie and Lucy at the Royal Motor Yacht Club.
The academians joined the members of the Club for drinks on the sunset-drenched veranda before sitting down for dinner. Katie Wilton and Lucy Howe drummed up some raffle ticket business before Nick Bonham took to the floor for the auction.
Fast and furious bidding fuelled by Nick’s inimitable style resulted in the Club being able to present Shirley and the girls with a significant cheque.
Once the dining, raffling and bidding were over, the floor was cleared ready for everyone to rock to the Academy’s band “Charlie and the Chaps”. Fresh from his victory on the race course that afternoon, Alex Pollock was called onto the stage to play guest cow-bell before the evening finally came to a close at midnight.
The academy would like to sincerely thank all those lot donors, prize suppliers, the Royal Motor Yacht Club and of course Charlie and the Chaps for all their effort in making it a superb day and evening.
The date for the 3rd annual SWSYC Academy Cup has been set for 31st May 2008 at Royal Motor Yacht Club.