Merrydown Club Regatta
Published 09:57 on 10 Sep 2016
The 2016 Royal Victoria Yacht Club Merrydown Regatta took place last weekend (3rd and 4th September). Members and visitors alike enjoyed the club's hospitality and there was much action on the water - not only sailing. Experienced sailors revelled in the fresh breeze with 15 - 20 knots blowing both days. Saturday's breeze was from the South which meant flat water but gusty conditions. Race Office Martin Harrison set multi-lap courses for the dinghies and Squibs for race one followed by a longer 'around the cans' course for race 2 which was for the Vena Phillips Trophy. 18 Squibs competed with half visiting from the mainland, many under the auspices of the Portsmouth Sail Training Trust. They were led home by Joe Henry and Roly Wilson in Bacchante. Two Tornados from Stokes Bay joined in with the usual fast handicap dinghies, their towering rigs flew around the course and Russell Belben won the first race. Unfortunately he was unable to finish the second in which the laser 4.7 of Paddy Lord was victorious. Dragon Boat racing was organised by PGL for non-sailors and much Pimms and Merrydown cider was drunk.
Sunday's breeze had veered to the West which meant that the sea state worsened as the tide started ebbing. The race officer took the wise decision to keep the slow handicap dinghies in the relative shelter of the creek while the keelboats and fast dinghies again had two races out in the Solent. Slow handicap was won by Peter Pragnell and Angel in a scow, followed by Zoe Irons and Florrie Webb in their Feva with Arthur Farley third in an Oppie. Nigel Talbot's Trimaran 'Nitric' again enjoyed blasting around the course, revelling in the conditions and duly won the cruiser class. Sadly the Tornados were unable to race on Sunday and Phil Wright's Aero was only able to complete one race which left Paddy Lord to complete a clean sweep of the Fast Handicap class with two bullets in his laser 4.7. The final race of the day was for the Merrydown trophy. Neville Hill, founder of the event in 1959, recounted its history and links with Fishbourne. Merrydown's involvement is believed to be the earliest commercial sponsorship of a sporting event. The Squib start saw a few boats over the line and some returned, a topic of much discussion over Merrydown cider after the race! Joe Henry and Roly Wilson again took the win which meant they completed the clean sweep of Merrydown barrel, Merrydown trophy and the RVYC's magnificent Thomas West Cup (pic) as overall regatta winners. Thanks to Wightlink for exclusive use of its slipway for the weekend. RVYC looks forward to hosting the Merrydown regatta for many years to come.
Last updated 10:21 on 11 January 2018