The ninth SWSYC Academy Cup adopted match racing as a format to test the now not-so-young crews who, in recent years have looked a bit too comfortable with their boat handling and tactics in fleet racing the J24s.
How hard can it be thought Dan and Monty? Surely everyone sails against each other and the one with the most victories is the winner. How wrong we were! 30 minutes in to the 5 minute explanation of match racing rules and procedures, all crews, helms and race management were thoroughly confused so we set to sea regardless.
Yellow flags, blue flags, rounding marks to starboard, dial ups and not knowing how many laps constituted a match made for an entertaining day on the water. One person however knew exactly what was going on – that was Simon Shaw, former ISAF Match Racing World Champion who was calling tactics for Ed Wilton.
As the ebb tide began to strengthen, hearts began to pound a little harder as Ed Wilton and Josie Gliddon set off on a game of ‘cat and mouse’ using a beautiful classic yacht on a swinging mooring as the obstacle. Every tack, gybe and luff drew gasps from the spectators as they looked on in horror as it became surely inevitable that this wouldn’t end well. With enormous relief, the starting horn sounded, the yachts peeled off and a SWSYC incident was averted however Ed’s tactician, Simon Shaw was awarded the ‘nuts and bolts’ trophy for this daring manoeuvre.
Alex Pollock put his name on the Talisker Tactical Trophy once more. Having previously used nudity as his tactical weapon of choice, this year he impressed the race committee with a huge backdown to reverse his boat in to position on the start line.
The Throne of Endeavour is normally awarded for the incident of the day and the list of past winners is distinguished. With no incidents this year, Commodore Latchford chose to award it to Charlie Hagan for vanity. This alternative demonstration of endeavour has actually been some years in the making as we believe that a SWSYC Academy Cup has never taken place without Charlie sailing bare-chested.
Match of the day went to the final race – husband vs wife in the form of Paul and Josie Gliddon. Smart boat handing and canny tactics saw Paul take the lead heading in to the final run to the finish but a collapsed spinnaker in a gybing duel was all Josie and her team needed to sneak past and take the win by half a boat length. Josie eventually finished the event in second equal place and lifted the Ladies Trophy.
The Golden Broom this year had two riders – with James Crockatt and Paul Gliddon sharing last place. The Broom has not been ridden by two helms before so the mounting required care, consideration and co-ordination from both gentlemen.
An unbeaten day on the race course gave Ed Wilton a decisive victory, crewed by Simon Shaw, Lucy Howe, Katie Wilton and Mark Dobson who raised the Academy Cup aloft at the prizegiving dinner.
We would like to express our gratitude once more to our Race Officer, Jane Montgomery and her team, umpire Iain MacDonald-Smith and the owners of the J24s who kindly lent their boats.
1st – Ed Wilton
2= Alex Pollock
2= Josie Gliddon
4= James Crockatt
4= Paul Gliddon