As with all great ideas it started with a drink…
One spring evening in 2006 Master Daniel Howe and Master Thomas Montgomery were sipping a rather cheap (apologies DBH…) bottle of Pinoto Grigo in Parsons Green, whilst making sailing plans for that summer; and as the first bottle was sunk memories of our childhood of dinghy racing, and all the fun and friends we’d made was discussed. Due to the probable poor quality of wine and impending inebriation, neither of us can remember who struck upon the idea to get our merry throng together for a summers’ dinghy race, however a plan was made and due the levels of stupidity, jollity and disaster we were hoping to get out of the event, only one yacht club could be approached. Remembering what our Commodore had said at the Annual Dinner that March, “We need our Young to start screwing up more!” we immediately called Latch who answered the bat phone, and with his unstoppable amounts of enthusiasm and capacity for joy, a plan was formed and date set in May of that year. The VC, David Hagan was also contacted, and again we had another freight train of fervour behind us.
The plan was a good’en, the execution a quandary..
Who was going to lend the SWSYC Young a fleet of boats for a SWSYC run event? The members may be an option, but did any of them have anything still afloat, or not stuck to some alleged ‘uncharted rock’ around the British coastline? How’s about our various old schools fleets, or were there still some un-served detentions deeming it impossible to return? What about a local yacht clubs fleet, but were any of us still paying our subs? Yes, we have a winner – Parkstone Yacht Club, to which many of us were still members, and still in favour had just bought a fleet of some unsinkable, indestructible, and everlasting Laser Picos. Through the generosity of the members, nine dinghy’s were bought to support the RYA ‘Onboard’ Scheme so brilliantly organised by PYC’s current Commodore Nicholas Hill.
We had a venue, we had boats, we had enthusiasm, and we were now two bottles of cheap Pinot Grigio down, what else was missing..
What do competitions need? A committee boat, a race officer, flags, a fog horn, some racing rules (not the Nicholas Phillips abridged version), cheerleaders, a bar? Ah yes, what about some competitors? Without even a blink of an eyelid, Dan reeled off the most likely candidates to compete; Peter and Mark Flanders, Nicholas Phillips, Charlie Hagan, Barney & Alex Pollock (with a P), Pippa Batchelor, Chris Halliwell, Annie Lush, and many other disreputables we’d sailed with all our lives and were still talking to us.
Almost there, but one point of detail adrift..
What are we going to race for? Possibly due to the third bottle of even cheaper Pinot Grigio (again, apologies DBH for my wine cellar…) this thought hadn’t even crossed our by now, rather fuzzy thought processes. However, our ever thoughtful Commodore was one step ahead of the game and had made and mounted the stunning ‘Academy Cup’ for the winner of the days racing, and with much hilarity the ‘Throne of Endeavour’ made from a wooden loo seat, for the cock up of the day which of course is the most important trophy of the event.
Thus the match was set and the inaugural SWSYC Academy Cup commenced on in May 2006 and the spirit of the event was just as Dan and I had premeditated with an enormous amount of chaos, capsizes and laughter.