After a couple of blazingly hot days, the weather was overcast and temperatures were more moderate for the 38 Junior sailors competing in the 2014 Surrey Schools Regatta. More importantly the wind was a perfect F3 from the NE for most of the day, in direct contrast to 2013 when a SW gale was a-howlin' and many people went a-swimmin'.
With the majority of the 25 boats being Fevas and Toppers, the Race Officer, Peter Curtis, split the fleet into two starts. There are not many events where Fevas make the fast start...but for this event they did. A simple quadrilateral course was set to allow for average lap times to be calculated with some fast boats completing 5 laps whilst others only managed 2.
After 2 fiercely competitive morning races, the most welcome lunch break coincided with a sharp rain shower, which thankfully had passed over by the time the afternoon sailing commenced. The legacy of the short rain front was a veering of the wind which manifested itself during the third race, with a reshuffling of places up the final beat in tricky conditions as the wind sorted out what it wanted to do. After a swift re-set of the course the final race was held in the briskest conditions of the day with some sharp gusts that caught a few sailors out.
Racing was close in both fleets with places decided by seconds on handicap. In the fast fleet, Alex Storey (Wilson's School) in a Laser Radial led the races on the water but was pushed all the way by Jo Dunn (Ajax Sea Scouts) in a Laser 4.7 and no more than 11 seconds separated them on corrected time in any of the races. Alex just beat off Jo by 4 seconds in the final race to secure top spot in the fast fleet with Toby Mizzi & Tom Callan (WAG) in a Feva sailing super consistently for 3rd spot.
One feature of the Feva sailing that particularly exasperated IBRSC Feva coach Mike Curtis was the tendency for the young crews to sail the direct route on the run without spinnaker, hoisting and dropping for the two reaches. Toby and Tom consistently found the correct angle to sail downwind with spinnaker, which is quite deep in a Feva and hard to get right, and this reflected in their clean sweep of firsts amongst the Fevas.
The slow fleet was a 2 way battle between the Toppers of Zoe James (Epsom College) and Kyo Wong (IBRSC) with Kyo often leading in the early stages of the races only to be chased down on each occasion by Zoe. Third in the slow fleets was the Optimist of Emily Bagley (St Catherines) who was never far away from the tail end of the much faster Toppers.
Overall results are here, with prizes, which included chocolate awarded to:
3rd Hannah XXX/Hattie YYY (St Catherines)
2nd Austin Reason/Iwan Drewett (WAG)
1st Toby Mizzi/Tom Callan (WAG)
3rd Ellie Wall (IBRSC)
2nd Kyo Wong (IBRSC)
1st Zoe James (Epsom College)
3rd Alex Storey (Wilson's) in a Laser Radial
2nd Kyo Wong (IBRSC) in a Topper
1st Zoe James (Epsom College) in a Topper
Thanks to all the children for an excellent and competitive day's racing and to the volunteer race and galley teams, led by Mike Curtis, who kept everything on track.