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KSSA Regatta With Coaching, Wilsonian SC

An impressive thirty-eight dinghies entered the first KSSA event of the year, the Regatta With Coaching hosted by Wilsonian Sailing Club on the River Medway.  The spread of experience of the fleet ranged from youngsters at their first ever regatta to those with several years of solid racing under their belts. With classes ranging from RS Teras, Toppers, Bytes, RS Fevas, RS 200s, Lasers, a Blaze and an RS800, the course was set as a triangle across the river based on average lap times.

Before racing, Head Coach Sam Rowe, assisted by Ed LeGassick, briefed the sailors on the start procedure and local conditions.  Race 1 had to be postponed for 30 minutes whilst the Race Officer waited for the incoming tide to give sufficient water to lay a leeward mark!  Meanwhile, the coaches took the sailors for an impromptu warm up run along the beach.

Vying for the top two places in Races 1 and 2 were Michael Calvert (Radial) and Chris & Mark Thomas (RS200) chased by numerous Lasers and the Topper of Paddy Keech.  With five coach boats on the water, there was much emphasis on developing competitors’ racing skills, specially permitted by the Sailing Instructions.

After a break ashore for lunch, two further races were held.  The RO commented that he had been pleased with the line discipline of the sailors, although in Race 3 the entire fleet waited an extra five seconds after the start gun before anyone crossed the line! By Race 4 the tide was ebbing fast, such that when the leeward mark was recovered after being rounded by the last boat, the RIB crew all but picked it up off the mud.  The top spots were again dominated by the Thomas boys and Michael Calvert and local sailor, Quentin Bes-Green (Radial) picked up two 5th positions.

After a shore-based coaches’ debrief, the prizes were presented by the Commodore of Wilsonian SC, Christine Godber.  The endeavour prize was awarded to Morgan Archer from Blue Circle SC. Having capsized on the start line, his mast and sail drifted under the committee boat in the tide.  Once upright again, he then battled his way up the fleet to achieve a creditable position by the windward mark. 

Prize winners:

Chris & Mark Thomas     1st

Michael Calvert                 2nd

Tom Goodey & Jenny Pearson-Farr 3rd

Quentin Bes-Green        1st Wilsonian sailor

Paddy Keech                      1st Topper

Ben Gray                             1st RS Tera

Morgan Archer                 Endeavour

This event counts towards the Maidstone SC Memorial Trophy Series and is followed by another KSSA Regatta With Coaching on 5th May at Hampton Pier YC.