The Academy’s 7th outing took on the first weekend in September and saw a return to J24s in Poole Harbour.
Following the resounding success of the J24 racing last year and the incredibly generous owners who kindly lent their boats, the Academy descended on Parkstone YC for an early lunch before setting off to do battle on the water.
The usual rules were, yet again, given a stiff ignoring – don’t be late, no heckling during the briefing and no water-pistols. Prepared for the water-pistol-in-crotch hilarity, Deputy Race Officer Howe (jnr) had the foresight to wear waterproof shorts. What he wasn’t expecting was for the adults to ‘crotch shot’ him whilst the 3 years olds went for the face shot!
Finally afloat, 5 boat fleet crewed by 30 academicians were treated to an Olympic race committee! Fresh from her Weymouth 2012 responsibilities, Race Officer Ruth Pearson took to the flags and horn on the committee boat ‘Suzie’ ably assisted by Jane Montgomery and “rescue boat Dave” (as he is charmingly known to the Montgomery family).
We followed a similar format of single lap windward-leeward races, fitting in a remarkable 7 races. The academicians were treated to stunning conditions with 8-10 knots of breeze and warm sunshine – perfect for topping up the end of season tan whilst not breaking boats.
Charlie Hagan set a new punctuality record, arriving from London in time for the start of race 3. Thankfully he brought Sonny Mallett’s beautiful girlfriend with him who had no choice but to sail in a pretty (aka short) summer skirt! Admittedly, it did take some time to prise Katie from David Hagan’s insistent hospitality aboard Determination, but Deputy Race Officer Howe eventually did finally manage to place Katie on Nick Hornby’s all-female crewed boat. Katie’s stylish sailing attire won her the ‘Ladies Trophy’.
The Academy had two graduates this year, both of whom raced in the Academy Cup. Thankfully Richard Jackson didn’t fall overboard again and Nick Hornby didn’t decapitate a spinnaker with a knife as he had skilfully demonstrated in Cowes Week earlier this summer.
Harry Brewer stepped down from helming his boat, deciding that his skills were better used on the foredeck. In carrying out this role, he managed to delight the whole fleet with a graceful one-legged hop around the foredeck during a tack with his ankle secured in a loop of genoa sheet. For this artistic effort, Harry was awarded the Throne of Endeavour.
With 7 races complete and the wind dying the water-pistols returned for a final battle as the teams motored back to the dock and headed to the veranda for a well earned beer.