September 18/19. 17 Flying Fifteens raced on the River Alde in the Aldeburgh Yacht Club F15 open meeting, part of the Southern Traveller series. Post racing those involved in the organisation were enjoying a well-deserved pat on the back when I was reminded that back in 2000 the club regatta attracted 20 Flying Fifteens and the Southern championships held at Aldeburgh attracted 41 in 2001. Lean years followed until a few years ago when the resurgence began. We have a little way to go however, interest continues and boat numbers are thankfully increasing.
In the sunshine, gentle breeze, and Suffolk backdrop over the weekend, 7 visiting and 10 AYC boats enjoyed both windward/leeward courses and river racing around the club marks kindly orchestrated by our RO Robert Mulcahy.
Day 1. The first race, downriver from the club was 3 rounds of a windward/leeward course with the added interest of high water coinciding with the second lap. Visitors Charles Apthorp and Justin Waples were first and second respectively with local sailor Duncan Matthew third.
The second venue was upriver and raced between the club marks around the bends at Stanny and Brick Dock. The receding water and moored boats added to the skill required. This failed to confuse the visitors with Charles first, Pip Hudson second, and local competitor Chris Sparks third.
The final race of the day again around the club marks but finishing at the club was enough to confuse the visitors with Chris Sparks winning, Justin second, and Duncan third.
Day 2. The gentle easterly breeze and high water were perfect conditions for 3 rounds of a windward/leeward course upriver at Mansion Reach for race 4. Pip Hudson showed how to win with Charles second and Chris third.
Starting at the wide expanse of water at Mansion Reach, race 5 took us round the cans finishing at the club. The visitors gaining in confidence finished in the top four with Charles taking this final race.
Congratulations to Charles and Richard Apthorp for winning the Ratcliff Trophy and John Hanson and Helen Seldon for taking the Silver class Flamingo Tankard.
The newly emerging AYC fleet has yet to find its form against the experienced Flying Fifteen sailors. However, both Chris Spark and Duncan Matthew stood out. George Hill and Emily (it’s in the blood) Barker also deserve a mention, sixth place not bad for the first time helming a Flying Fifteen.
Full results here