SWSYC Richards & Wheatley Regatta 23rd June 2015

The conditions could not have been more perfect in Port de Pollenca as the race committee made up of SWSYC judge, Jane Montgomery, Linda Tovey, and international cruisers, Colin & Margaret Wheatley, briefed the competitors with the plan to have the first start at 14.00. The winds were now a shifty and inconsistent force 3 to 4 and the eager competitors were even more grateful for their excessive lunch! Once the ‘complexities’ of the RS Feva and RS Visions were described to the racers by an unknowledgeable German bosun, the fleet headed out to the start. Captain Chris Richards, his soon to be bride and super yacht chef, Hazel Wheatley, Rachel Montgomery, Dave Wheatley (fresh from racing in Australia) and Tom and Alexandra Montgomery fetched out between the moorings to clear waters in the bay.

A perfect windward-leeward course was set by the PRO, and the fleet started only thirty minutes later than the planned start time. Fiercely competitive Chris Richards achieved a stunning start applying the well tested ‘Nick Phillips school of starting’ and crashing in on Port. Chris was closely followed by Hazel and Rachel, whilst Alexandra Montgomery found her footing on the trapeze, with Dave covering the starboard side of the course. On an increasing breeze to the first mark, the teams battled with the true power you can only achieve in an RS Veva. Alexandra, fairly new to the sport fought a tough battle for last, whilst Chris took line honours.

Our plucky PRO went straight into the second start, with Hazel hanging back and sneaking over the line at the committee boat end, covering the fleet. Alexandra with her new found skill headed into third as she rounded the windward mark, whilst brother and sister, Dave and Hazel fought another battle at the top of the fleet. Chris Richards was soon to find his feet, this time applying the ‘Matt Hardy I’m surrounded by Amateurs’ approach, in this probably the pinnacle of his sailing career, storming down wind into second place. After a quick break the competitors, with new found vigour, headed out for the final race in the sound. Dirty tactics was the name of the game, and Tom Montgomery capsized a number of boats breaking nearly every rule in the book. Then disaster stuck and Dave Wheatley suffered a boat breakage reminiscent of Ellen Macarther’s heroic solo global voyage; the German knot in the main halyard came untied and the main sail came crashing down forcing a retirement. Chris who again was taking the whole event ever so seriously fought his future wife to gain line honours, reminding her she should stay in the galley.

Crew support, made up of Susanna Gemma and Louise dynamically managed to get Dave back out on the water for the final ‘Champagne Race’. To add a new dynamic to the course, we came in land, so the cleverer competitor could use Russell Whitworths family yacht, ‘Acrobat’ as an obstacle. Sadly we didn’t have any such competitor, causing a number of raft ups and the fleet fought it out at the leeward mark. As the afternoon came to a close Captain Chris Richards of AB ‘Henry’ fame was the clear winner. Many thanks to all that helped with this crucial event in the international yachting calendar.