Sunday, June 25 2017

Published on June 15 2017. Sport
Perfect weather for Ladies Cup
Helena Ann, with Glenda Wilson at the wheel made good progress in the breeze

Perfect weather for Ladies Cup

With the arrival of summer weather at last, there can be few better places to be than on the sea, and this certainly proved to be the case last Saturday, June 10.

A good start

Rye Harbour Sailing Club (RHSC) ran the first of two cruiser races for the Bramley Cup which also doubled as the race for the Ladies’ Cup. The rule for the latter is that each competing boat must be helmed by a lady. (Boats tend to be big boys’ toys which means that the ladies don’t always get the opportunities that many of them deserve!).

With an almost-cloudless sky, a light southerly breeze of about 12 knots and a relatively (for Rye Bay) calm sea, conditions were perfect and it was almost surprising that only six boats started.

The start was just off the mouth of the Rother and all boats got away well with Mallard (helmed by Sara Milner) leading the way from Helena Ann (Glenda Wilson) and Foo Fighter (competing in the Bramley cup only, not the Ladies’ Cup). The rest of the fleet were in close proximity as they headed west towards the first mark – Rock Channel Marine Buoy, off Winchelsea Beach.

Close Encounters keeps up with the leaders

By now Mallard had extended her lead and conditions certainly favoured the lighter boats although the wind was just sufficient to drive the heavier wooden Helena Ann forward to keep well in touch as the fleet turned south towards the Fairway Buoy situated well out into the Bay. Mallard rounded first and set her spinnaker for the dead run down towards Camber. She was the only one of the leading boats to set a spinnaker and it did not seem to do her a lot of good – distance between her and second placed Helena Ann remaining fairly constant – and indeed closing as Mallard wasted time taking her spinnaker in at the mark off Camber. (This was supposed to be the RHSC racing buoy but, having a mind of its own, it turned out to be well out of position so one of the water ski buoys, which happened to be in about the right place, was used instead). Then on to the final reach towards the finish line off the river mouth with all six boats finishing within nine minutes from first to last.

The final result on corrected time (taking into account each boat’s rating, or racing handicap, was: 1. Mallard  2. Helena Ann  3. Close Encounters  4. Foo Fighter  5.Limbo Girl  6. Lady Jane. Close Encounters and Foo Fighter, not having female helmsmen, were not eligible for the Ladies Cup and raced only for the Bramley Cup.

Photos: John Minter

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