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Kent Schools Coastal Regatta 2004

Kent Schools Sailing Association held its annual Coastal Regatta 10th/11th July, hosted by Sandwich Bay S&WSC and supported by Downs SC. 35 youngsters aged between 9 and 17yrs camped over the weekend, enjoying specialist coaching in small groups on Saturday, and four competitive races on Sunday. The racing fleet consisted of 28 boats, ranging from two Optimists through to three 29’ers.

Race Officer Steve Restall set a trapezoid course, which kept the safety fleet busy re-positioning as the wind backed from west to south-west, before veering north-west, then finally returning to it’s original westerly direction for the final race. The F3 of the first race built to a F4 for race 2, but then eased to a F2 for the final race, giving the competitors a good variety of conditions to contend with.  Although programmed for neap tides, some of the less experienced young sailors from inland clubs were caught out by water that moved. All starts were fiercely contested, but only one General Recall (on race 1) was necessary, allowing Mr. Restall to keep his black flag in his pocket.

Overall winners were Jonathan White and Alex Cruttenden who gave a demonstration of smooth sailing, winning the first three races, allowing them to discard a 5th in the final race when the were the subject of an individual recall. This allowed Mark Heather and Doug Horner in a Buzz to take the final win of the day, capping a consistent regatta, scoring top three results in all races, and second overall. Mark’s sister Lucy, crewed by Helen Stubbs in an RS200 concluded a successful weekend for the Heather family coming third overall, having had close battles with the other RS200 of Mitch Webb and Phil Spicer all day. Behind these, a closely matched group of Laser Radials had some exciting sub-fleet competition, but Katie Restall in a Topper was close enough on the water to beat them on handicap, finishing equal 4th with the Webb/Spicer RS.

Certificates for all competitors, and prizes for the top 7 boats (plus top u14, Tom Steadman in a Laser 4.7) were presented by George Clark, Chairman of the RYA, who had spent the whole weekend closely following the action, and watched the racing from afloat. He complimented the competitors for their enthusiasm and sportsmanship, and reflected on a well organised and fun weekend, highlighting the support of all the parents left on the beach.