Offshore Regatta 2014
Posted: Tuesday, 24th June 2014
The EAORA Offshore Regatta Sponsored by Fox’s Marine & Country Store was raced over four days from 19th to 22nd June around a triangular course from Harwich to Ostend to Ramsgate and back to Harwich. With great weather, which created its own problems with the light winds, it was another resounding success with all the competitors enjoying some great sailing and partying ashore.
The Regatta started with the Graham Wallis Trophy race from Harwich to Ostend with an early start inside the Harwich breakwater in very light 5 knot winds. Most of the fleet set shy spinnakers or asymmetrics at the start but within a few minutes the wind headed and it became a very slow fetch and eventually a beat against the end of the ebb tide to the Medusa buoy off the Naze. Once round it was just free enough for a shy spinnaker but with the wind still backing and dying it was a tricky leg to judge with the tide now flooding a sweeping the fleet to the south. Oystercatcher, Inn Spirit and Berserker made it round Longsand Head buoy with the tide and out of sight before the wind died completely and the fleet kedged to avoid being swept the wrong side of the buoy and onto the breaking waves over the Longsand. It looked as if an evening in Ostend was now out of the question as it was 13.00 before the wind filled in from the forecast northerly direction enabling the fleet to reach towards Ostend in a building breeze. The three leaders had been swept down tide well below the rumb line, but also away from the new wind which took much longer to get to them, enabling most of the fleet to come back strongly and re-join the leaders. It was now a speedy crossing with spinnakers kept on deck and only Amazon’s code zero flying to Twin at the far side of the Shipping lanes. With a slight bear away and a freeing wind spinnakers were set for a fast reach to the finish off Ostend with the fleet arriving between 22.00 and 23.00. The winner overall of the Graham Wallis Trophy was Des Cowan and his crew in Eclipse, only three up, from Robert Leggett’s Ape-X and Martin Brook’s Sapphire.
After a quick meal it was off to the Cosy Corner bar, the traditional meeting place for the EAORA fleet, for another great evening with many not getting to bed before daylight and with many sore heads the next morning the fleet had a lie in before exploring the fish market, shops and bars of Ostend through the day. At 18.00 the Chairman’s party and prizegiving was held on the pontoon at the end of a very warm and sunny day.
Unfortunately with the good weather and high pressure there is a downside, as the forecast for Saturday was for very light winds so the race officer Brian Bolton came up with plan B for the fleet to motor to Ramsgate and race round the cans just off the harbour entrance. With a 10 knot afternoon breeze the race was a series of beats, runs and reaches on very short legs making the crews work hard, as most boats were lightly crewed. The winner of the Cannonball race was Robert Leggett in Ape-X, second was Richard Matthews’ Oystercatcher XXX and third was John and Jackie Edwards’ Red Macaw.
Sunday also looked rather light, so the race officer Brian Bolton moved the start line to Broadstairs Knoll to get the fleet away quickly. With the tide now going north and under 10 knots from the north east, the fleet beat to the Elbow buoy off North Foreland and then fetched across the estuary to Fishermans Gat with shy spinnakers before running down to the Black Deep which stretched the fleet with the north going tide. It was an easy fetch up the Black Deep to the Sunk Head Tower buoy where spinnakers were set for a shy reach and then a dead run from North East Gunfleet to Medusa. It was on the run that the fleet compressed with the light winds inshore and the leader Oystercatcher lost out to the fleet behind which closed up with more wind. The last leg was a shy reach to the finish inside Harwich breakwater in around only 7 hours. The winner of Walker Challenge Cup was Alan Bartlett’s Inn Spirit, with Robert Leggett’s Ape-X second and Pat York, Ray Flanagan, Richard Thomas’ Berserker third.
The prizegiving was held at 18.30 at the Haven Ports Yacht Club on the top deck in brilliant sunshine. Congratulations to the overall winner of the Regatta, Robert Leggett and his young crew on Ape-X. Winners of the team trophy were the Haven Ports Yacht Club team of Ape-X, Eclipse and Red Macaw. A big thank you to Michael Wallis for the use of his yacht Another Diamond as the committee boat, with race officer Brian Bolton, ably assisted by Wendy Bolton and Ray King. Lastly thank you to our Sponsors Fox’s Marine & Country Store for donating in-store vouchers to the winners.
|3rd||Red Macaw||John & Jackie Edwards|
|3rd||Inn Spirit||Alan Bartlett|
|1st||Red Macaw||John & Jackie Edwards|
|2nd||Berserker||Pat York, Ray Flanagan, Richard Thomas|
|3rd||Amazon||Tony & Chuffy Merewether|