9th May Surrey Schools Regatta

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What a mixed bunch! Entries ranged from an Optimist to a Merlin Rocket sporting carbon fibre spars. ''How come you won''t even buy me a Topper, Dad?'' I heard one sailor ask, as he rigged his battered club boat next to the gleaming Rocket.

Toppers provided the biggest fleet with 14 boats and the increasingly popular Feva fleet was second with 11. The rest was a smattering of Picos, Tazs, Teras, Laser 2000s, Laser Radials, and Lasers. Race officer Peter Curtis and his team were kept very busy, as all boats were timed to give handicap results for all entrants, as well as class results.

 

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The fleets were split into fast and slow for both starts and results, with overall winners also computed.

Organiser Mike Curtis was blessed with perfect weather after Fridays near-gale, and the rescue boats had a relaxed day.

The interesting feature of Surrey Schools is the wide age, experience and skill levels, resulting in an age range from 9 to 18 and a very wide skill range which resulted in Fevas lapping Fevas in a 3 lap race!

But this is the attraction of Surrey Schools events. It is many young sailors'' introduction to open racing; this first venture into the wide, wide world of open competition will be long remembered by them. They all take it as seriously as Russell Coutts takes his Americas Cup races, with the possible exception of the two girls in a Feva who chatted animatedly from start to finish in every race - and it wasn''t about spinnaker trim, I assure you - as they never attempted to fly it. But hey, why not - a Feva is as nice a place as any in which to discuss life in private with your best mate.

At the top of the fleet skill levels were high. Matt Innes posted his seriousness with 2 firsts in his full rig Laser before lunch, with National Squad sailor Julia Beck close behind with two seconds in her Radial.

The Feva fleet provided some of the closest racing with home boat James Curtis and Harry White and RGS boat Thomas Curtess and Richard Tyler equal on points at lunch with a 1st and 2nd each. In the 3rd race decider Curtis and White did the business, with another 1st, taking the Feva Trophy, with Curtress and Tyler close behind in 2nd. This result lifted Curtis and White to 3rd overall, on handicap, for the day.

In the Toppers William Barnes led after two races with a first and second. However, he could be beaten after lunch if Angus Couper, who had won the first race, beat him. In another close race Barnes led Couper home to take the Topper Trophy and 4th overall.

In the handicap fleet Matt Innes in his Laser had cleaned up by lunch time with his unbeatable two 1sts, but Julia Beck gave notice that future regattas might end differently by scoring a 1st to Innes''s 8th in the final race.

All in all, an excellent, well organised, regatta with no major incidents and just one complaint. William Whitmore from Island Barn was very miffed at not receiving a 1st Taz trophy. The fact that there was only one Taz didn''t diminish his disappointment. He said he had a brilliant acceptance speech prepared which would now go to waste. Save it carefully for next year, William.

Overall Results:

Topper
1st William Barnes (RGS Guildford)
2nd Angus Couper (Queen Mary SC)
3rd William Fitzgibbon (Queen Mary SC)

Laser
1st Matt Innes (RGS Guildford)
2nd Julia Beck (Tormead)
3rd Amy Foreman (Queen Mary SC)

Feva
1st James Curtis & Harry White (Island Barn RSC)
2nd Thomas Curtess & Richard Tyler (RGS Guildford)
3rd Anne McGough & Sophie Quiney (Guildford High Scl)

Slow Fleet Handicap
1st William Barnes, Topper (RGS Guildford)
2nd Angus Couper, Topper (Queen Mary SC)
3rd Sam Tucker, Pico (RGS Guildford)

Fast Fleet Handicap
1st Matt Innes, Laser (RGS Guildford)
2nd Julia Beck, Laser Radial (Tormead)
3rd James Curtis, Harry White, Feva (Island Barn RSC)

Overall Handicap
1st Matt Innes, Laser (RGS Guildford)
2nd Julia Beck, Laser Radial (Tormead)
3rd James Curtis & Harry White, Feva (Island Barn RSC)
4th William Barnes, Topper (RGS Guildford)
5th Angus Couper, Topper (Queen Mary SC)