RSA Racing summary 2004

Richard Bessey

We’ve had 22 boats entered in RSA racing this year, so the competition is hotting up.
The series started with the Paglesham Pot as usual. Here is the Racing Officer’s email after the race:

The years of careful planning had finally paid off. Plotting to become Racing Officer of the RSA; Working up a good handicap; contriving the date for low tides; Practicing even. Finally, Pudmuddle has won the Paglesham Pot.

Ulabella took 2nd place and Saraband 3rd. A fine start to the season, thanks to the six boats who turned out (and thanks to JL too for providing Chilli for lunch afterwards.

Next race is the Shuttlewood Cup on 23rd May - your chance for revenge.

There was a splendid turnout For the Shuttlewood Cup with 12 boats racing to the Inner Crouch and back. Stortebecker took first place with Pudmuddle 2nd and Marshmallow 3rd. Marshmallow was looking particularly splendid and put in a strong challenge. Because so many boats finished the race, the results shook up the handicaps quite a bit.

We had another very pleasant sail with variable southerly breezes for the Blue Shoal Trophy. Six boats raced from Paglesham to the Horse Shoal and back. Stravaig found a Brown Shoal (the Branklet Spit) and helpfuly marked the high spot for the rest of us (but not everyone took heed).

With the competition led astray, Pudmuddle led the rest of the way and took first place. Swanti has 2nd and Stortebecker 3rd.

We usually take the Whitaker Cup race beyond Shore Ends, and this year was no exception. After some ship-to-ship debate, the course was set from Paglesham for Buxey No 2, finish at Foulness Quay.

Unsure of the instructions, Glayva rounded all three Buxey buoys to be on the safe side, and despite the extra miles was one of the lead boats home, not far behind Imothes and Pudmuddle. But the detour cost her the race. Swanti put in a determined struggle against wind and tide, gaining 2nd place on handicap. Pudmuddle took first place and Imothes third.

The dinghy race was blown out on the Saturday, and the wind was still strong and gusty on the Sunday, promising excitement for the ladies competing for the Gracilda Cup.

From the start, Imothes forged ahead in a following wind, with Glayva in hot pursuit. Swanti, Stortebecker and Stravaig were not far behind. In Quay Reach, the two boats jostled for the lead, with spars mere inches apart. Glayva followed quickly round the Horse Shoal and gained again to contest the Branklet, but could not quite get past, and Imothes just retained the lead on the long'n'short tacks to the finish.

On handicap, Stravaig has 3rd place, Imothes 2nd and Glayva takes the Gracilda Cup.

The same afternoon for the Paglesham Yacht Race, a Chichester Harbour one-design built in 1936, came out of retirement for her first race in probably 3 decades. Tinker had been in the Quillam family for many years, and proved to be in sound condition as Simon Joel restored her over the winter. Despite the blustery winds and threatening skies, Tinker led the way from the start at Paglesham Hard, to Barling Quay and back. Reefs were dropped out as the wind grew less and the ebb gathered pace, but both Winks and Shuki had to retire, unable to make headway.

So Tinker took the cup by a whisker with Stella Marie a creditable second.

Don McDowell Trophy

After a very pleasant evening at the Ferry Boat, we agreed to set of at 10:00 for the traditional race to the Branklet. And so we did (more or less). It was some time before the crew realised that the bucket was still trailing behind Philomelle's dinghy.

A special welcome back to John Martin's Zelia whose name appears 10 times on RSA cups from 1962.

With a SW wind and ebb tide we made good progress and were still quite a tight pack until we turned towards Creeksea and the wind set more southerly. Then we spread out a bit. However Eager was pursued by Philomelle to within a minute of the line.

Eager won, with Philomelle second and Stavaig in third place.

It was a beautiful morning for the Lifeboat (cruisers) Cup, and after a long beat in light winds to Foulness, the course ran to the Holliwell Buoy and back to the Quay, Tregeagle marking the finish line with horn at the ready. Glayva was ahead from the start, with Philomelle and Marshmallow in pursuit. Stortebecker and Whisper, after a late start, were coming up through the pack and were not far behind at the finish.

Whisper, Nigel & Noreens new smack, was in third place, Marshmallow second and Glayva gets the Lifeboat Cup.

Four dinghies started the race for their Lifeboat Cup - Stella Marie, Sarah Edith, Tinker and Winks. It was a long cold haul up river to the first Rochford buoy, and a run back at the top of the tide. Winks retired at Barton Hall creek having met the others coming back! After 2 hours, the other three crossed the line within 8 minutes, with Tinker in the lead all the way. Stella Marie took the cup with Sarah Edith 2nd and Tinker 3rd.

The course was set from Paglesham to Burnham for the Roach Plate, to enable at least one participant to enter the Brandy Hole winter series race in the afternoon.  Winks couldn't make the start, so Richard started the race from the mud. The boats spread out over the hour and a half. Imothes was in third place with Glayva second, and Mistress wins the Roach Plate.

Stortebecker was up for it again this year but was up against some competition and ended the series with 7.5 points in third place. Glayva was really going for it and very nearly finished with a tie at 11 points. However Pudmuddle’s early season gains proved unassailable at 13 points, so Pudmuddle wins the series and gets the Len Choppin Trophy

Seamanship is not only about long voyages and adventures. It’s also about taking care of boats and the people who sail in them, providing a safe harbour and good comradeship. That’s why we’ve put Swanti’s name on the Seamanship Cup this year, as John has done us such good service, providing moorings, arranging winter quarters, and helping fellow members with their maintenance & repairs. Not to mention at least one rescue mission a week!