SWSYC Academy Cup – 2009

Can we really be all ready by on our way to a 5th Academy Cup?

Ever since our Captain of the Academy Dan Howe, and Chief Bosun Tom Montgomery formulated an event to get more of our generation prone to the nautical cock up, having followed Commodore Latchfords’ rousing speech on the matter in 2006, we could never of dreamed there would be so much enthusiasm and demand so many years later.

Our Captain as ever dedicated to the cause of increasing the membership sadly couldn’t be with us, as Lucy had given birth to our newest recruit Freddie Howe, the night before, and as Dan said in his text to is all:

LOA 21” Displacement 8lb. Hull colour blue. Frederick Bilson Howe launched in Kingston upon Thames at 23.00 on 12 July. All crew safe, happy and well.

The 2009 Academy Cup’s racing area this year was shifted from just off Brownsea Island, further inland to the Wareham Channel on word that there was a good lunch going at fellow SWSYC member Robin Culpins yard, which indeed there was. As ever our Academy got heavily involved with lunch and we were joined by many members who came down to enjoy numerous cold glasses of wine in expectation of the series of disasters which were naturally going to take place as soon as the band of merry, and now slightly inebriated academicians launched. Once again, Parkstone Yacht Club, lent us their fleet of Laser Picos’ and our charter fee went direct to the RYA Youth On-board Scheme. I have recently had word that through our donations over the years, we are very close to buying a ‘SWSYC Academy’ Pico for Parkstone, and the RYA On-board scheme to get less privileged local children on the water.

After almost a three hour lunch the Academy was reminded that the point of the day was to go racing, and the Race Committee and Committee boat kindly supplied by Jane Montgomery with her Sadler ‘Suzie’ headed out to the race area in the top triangle of Poole Harbour. As ever with the SWSYC, safety first, and many thanks to David Hagan with his all singing, dancing Titanic rescue boat, ‘Determination II’ which made it’s début (finally…) at the regatta. The event started as it meant to go on, and as the Academicians rocked out of the shelter of Dorset Lake Yard, they were blocked by Howard Gale and Mark Flander who had turtled blocking everyone’s path. After the usual calamity, the fleet made it to the start-line, where the race committee had become restless and were on their second gin.

The first start saw the fleet over eager, and the hooter signalled a general recall, which did absolutely nothing to turn the fleet around who were already halfway up the first beat and cheating like mad. The girls team of Alexandra Arikoglu, and Dominica Lindsey were obviously taking it far too seriously and stormed the first race to a substantial win, whilst the rest of the fleet endeavoured to pull each others bungs out, capsize and cause as much mischief as possible. Race two continued in a similar fashion, this time won by Sarah Hornby and Nick Philips who sailed well in between flexing his new pectorals after a rigorous gym regime in preparation for this very event. The third race saw the wind increase to a steady force 3 and the art of capsizing was taken to new levels, and as the start hoot went, our new academicians, Mark Shearer and Henrietta Walker, and Ben Fry and Pippa Howeson raced ahead, just letting the girls team of Alexandra and Dom sneak through on the final leg to their second win.
Race four was a close battle between the girls boat and Phillips/Hornby combo, which Phillips won with some stunning pectoral action again, which could only have put the girls off their course.

By race 5 all the sailors had truly got into the spirit of the event, and by the final one minute gun, not one boat was upright, and the correct crew with the correct boat. Arikoglu and Lindsey were the fastest upright, and flew to the windward mark, while the rest of the fleet found their feet, and even with a bold manoeuvre by Montgomery and Weeden missing a mark and attempting to t-bone them, still failed to stop their extending lead. The girls went onto their third bullet of the day winning the event, and showing the other teams how to do it.

1st – Alexandra Arikoglu & Dominica Lindsey
2nd – Nick Phillips & Sarah Hornby
3rd – Paul Weeden & Tom Montgomery
4th – Mark Flanders & Howard Gale
5th – Mark Shearer & Henrietta Walker

As ever the evening dinner and prize giving was at the Royal Motor Yacht Club, who looked after us superbly. This year our Commodore and Captain had organised an end of term exam to test our lack of nautical knowledge, which the Academy averaged a stunning score of 3 our of 20….. Onto the prize giving, and Howard Gale won the coveted ‘Throne of Endeavour’ for his impressive capsize, Mark Shearer and Henrietta Walker walked away with the ‘Golden Broom’ for successfully sweeping up the back of the fleet, and Alexandra Arikoglu and Dominica Lindsey won the Academy Cup for winning the day.

All in all another stunning Academy Cup, and many thanks to all who came to support, and all who made the day such good fun.