With our sails now furled on the 2022 event , it is with great relief that we were able to hold the 2022 Challenge. It felt such a long time in the planning, having to postpone twice and from the comments received it was well worth the wait. For those that didn’t sail, we changed slightly our original 2020 plans and for the first time took the event to Bucklers Hard, Beaulieu for Tuesdays social night. This worked well and will be firmly marked as a place to go for the future.
With the winds light for the practice day, it gave crews an opportunity to prepare well for racing the following three days. Our opening night in HM Dockyard Portsmouth was officially opened by Neil Odin Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire FRS who welcomed all crews to his county. Racing began on Tuesday with slightly more winds than Monday and after 4 races, West Yorks 2, Cambridgeshire and Siren Sisters lead in the respective classes. Racing finished later than planned on Tuesday and crews arrived into Bucklers Hard knowing they had been on the water all day and the Fish and Chip Supper was well received by all, followed by our regular band Snatch Rescue letting some to use a little more energy and danced the evening away.
Boats were out on the water early and racing took place on the Hill Head Plateau allowing for constant winds all day, with 3 races completed, all crews were berthed in Cowes by 1700hrs in readiness for the Gala Dinner and prize giving of trophies over the first two days.
Although their were different winners in all classes over the two days it was the same victors as day 1 that took the trophies. West Yorks 2 , Phil Harney taking Spinnaker Class, although hot on his transom was Alex Rhodes Hampshire Zero . Asymmetric Class was taken by Mark Coupar, Cambridgeshire FRS who had a fantastic regatta taking Firsts in 4 of 7 races and retaining the White Sails trophy was Sue Antonelli on Siren Sisters . Well done to you all. With more competition this year, our Sponsors Trophy winners were FIA , with James Jones (Vimpex) and Martin Orman (Coldcut Cobra) on board . Someone has to come last and this was taken by Teddington RNLI, better luck next year.
Our after dinner speaker this year was Mr Tom Cunliffe, well known to many sailors who gave a wonderful alternative of sailing stories. Tom was very well received and a great character .
Day 3 is the PassageBack Race, a Handicapped pursuit race, with lower placed boats from day 1 and 2 starting first in groups. This is approx. a 3 to 4 hour race and although the race officers try to plan a course for all yachts the wind does have its part to play and with the wind backing part way through meant some of the Spinnaker fleet missing out on flying their kites, which does show on results . But as they say, That is Racing!!
Line honours were again taken by West Yorks 2, who started last, with NWAS 2 taking White Sails and Cambridgeshire FRS taking Asymetric. Those trophies will be presented as soon as it can be arranged.
It was announced by Mick Norman, UKFSC Chair , at the opening night that it was time for himself and members of the committee to stand day after next years event.Having originally saying they would do it for 5 years , 10 years on they are still here! Replacements are being sought with the view to shadowing the organisers for next year and taking the keys after racing in 2023. Good news is, we have had a couple of people interested , watch this space for further information.
As is the norm, Charitable donations were made to four charities . The Fire Fighters Charity , RNLI, The nomination of West Yorks 2 Amyloidosis Foundation and the nomination of Tom Cunliffe Sea Change Trust all receiving cheques for £1000 . The UKFSC is a non profit making organisation and once all monies have been paid out it is our intention to purchase and donate Defibrillators to the marinas we visited if needed.
Dates for next year are to be finalised shortly with the entry system opening at the ESS in September. Boat numbers will again be limited and so it will be recommended to have your entry ready for that time.
Thank you for everyone that attended and a massive Thank You for all our Sponsors and Supporters who have made the event to what it has become.
Stay Safe see you in 2023!!
Link to all event photos here: