Roach Sailing Association racing report 2003

Richard Bessey

This year’s racing started and ended with a good blow. The Paglesham Pot must have been the windiest race we've had for years - approx 5-6 SSW and quite gusty. The course was Paglesham - Inner Crouch to Port - Paglesham and it was all over in 2 hours. Six boats took part including 3 new to RSA racing - Ulabella (Buchanan Great Dane), Glayva (UFO 30) and Philomelle (another Buchanan). On corrected time, Ulabella had 1st place, with Eager 2nd and Imothes 3rd.

The Shuttlewood Cup was a quieter day, presaging a season of light airs. The seven contenders jostled to round the Horse Shoal (Philomelle was forced to turn away in a failed bid to oust Stravaig) and headed for the finish at Foulness Quay, where Stravaig took the Cup, with Stortebecker 2nd and Glayva 3rd.

Eight boats started for the Blue Shoal Trophy, but all but two retired, unable to find enough wind to head the tide. Stortebecker was ahead of Glayva when the rest came motoring past on the way to the George & Dragon, so the result was declared then and there.

With light easterly winds (opposite of forecast), the fleet of eight set out at 11:00 from Quay Reach. The course was S Buxey to Port, then back. The tide turned against us and boats approaching the Outer Crouch found themselves drifting backwards to Shore Ends. Meanwhile the two leaders agreed to shorten the course to Buxey No 2.

After six had retired and returned to the Quay, and five hours had passed, Stortebecker led Glayva past the post with only 2 minutes to spare. So Stortebecker is awarded the Whitaker Cup.

Our guests the Hosteliers gave an account of the Paglesham Yacht Race in the last newsletter. On handicap Heather’s mini-sail won, with Stella Marie 2nd and Merganser 3rd.


Next day was the Ladies Race. Five boats set out for the Gracilda Cup with a slight westerly, gusting occasionally SW. Marshmallow had a bad start, but with topsail set was soon in the lead to the mark which was inner crouch to Starboard and finish at quay reach. Turning at the mark, Marshmallow stuck to the south shore and made the Roach with one tack. The rest of the fleet had to tack more as the wind increased. Swanti retired as the crew started to feel uneasy with the squalls. The rest finished in very close positions. Anne brought Stravaig to 3rd place, Heather with Marshmallow had 2nd, and Rosemary took 1st place with Stortebecker.

Unusually, the race for the Don McDowell Trophy was against the flood, and as sod would have it an East wind. Quite a number of boats had come up to Fambridge the night before, but with dinghies to pull, few stayed in the race for long. Ulabella persevered all the way to the Branklet, tacking through Burnham with the dinghy in tow. However she took 2nd place to Glayva who was by now well ahead.

The Lifeboat Cup race was another day of 'variables' which produced another crop of retirements as we struggled against the tide. We welcomed Saraband to the racing, and also the return of Haze. First to finish at Foulness Quay was Stortebecker (1st), closely followed by Haze (2nd). Glayva (4th) and Mistress (3rd) also completed the course.

John Apps was at the start line in his sailing tender Shucky, to contest the RNLI race with Winks. As it was too early to find water round Potton, we chose to go round Rushey island first. With a NE wind we made rapid progress to Wakering, sailing downhill over the ford and to arrive at Havengore bridge. Then the trouble began.


They tacked back and forth in the pool by the bridge, unable to gain ground. John was concerned he would get swept into the bridge, and went on the mud to adjust his rig. Meanwhile Richard discovered that Winks’ centreplate had dropped and was swinging beneath. He joined John on the mud. John helped to tip Winks over and Richard re-fitted the centreplate, held up with a piece of string.

They set off again for another attempt at Narrow Cuts. This time Richard was able to make progress, though it was not many yards each tack. Over an hour later the two boats met between Rushey and Potton - John had sailed back up Rushey creek and up to the Potton bridge, which he found closed. They sailed back to the Roach and up to Paglesham. Winks crosed the line after 4 hours 45, and went ashore in Paglesham Pool just as a rain sqall hit. John suffered this sqall and the turn of tide, finally rowing into Paglesham against the ebb. And so home for a cup of tea. So Winks won, but only by default!


We had whistled for half a gale, and half a NW gale we got! Still nine boats turned out for the on the Roach Plate starting line. It was a quick race from Paglesham to the Crouch, Redward and Horse Shoal both to Port, then finish at Foulness Quay. Imothes was first over the line and all the rest followed within 15 minutes. On corrected time, Imothes took 3rd place, with Mistress 2nd, and Swanti gets the Roach Plate.

The Len Choppin Cup went to Stortebecker which held a clear points lead from early in the series.