19 July 2018: Itchenor takes second place in Commodore's Invitational Regatta at RYS
Published 14:23 on 19 Jul 2018
Following Itchenor's invite from the Royal Yacht Squadron, Andy Fitzgerald volunteered to find a crew, not knowing what he had let himself in for. The inaugural regatta was 4 crew fleet racing with the Royal Yacht Squadron's own fleet of J70s. The crew competing for Itchenor comprised Andy FitzGerald, Jonathan Pudney, James Hartley and Fred Hayes.
It was a six-race regatta with one discard over the two days characterised by light winds. Race one was all about learning, having learnt that they were set up wrong, the squad took a slow walk to the back of the fleet with a seventh. However, things picked up in race two with a good second, and both races showed the importance of a good start as the boat that won the start won both races.
The race team then called a passage race back to the club as a new westerly wind arrived circa 15 knots. A strong east going tide saw a strung out start, but despite a shabby start by the first mark Itchenor were up to second and hunting the leader down. Much tacking later, a full beaching on the sandbank and back to first again, they succumbed to going around the last mark the wrong way around, forcing them to double back to take second.
The following day there was a light easterly breeze that was filling. Sharpened by yesterday's experience Andy's crew won the start and won the first race. It was now a proper contest between Itchenor, Aldebrough Yacht Club and Royal Torbay Yacht Club who had won the first two days' races.
With a safe start, race two resulted in a second to the Squadron commodore. Race three started with a contested Port end with the Navy. Itchenor were ahead again at the first mark but by now the breeze was failing and sailing away from the others didn't happen as the tide set strongly against the windward leg. The race restarted at the leeward mark and the wind played games as the crew played the right hand side, losing three boats to finish fourth. Itchenor was now one point behind RTYC.
The last race was started in a new southerly breeze and despite a safe middle of the line start ISC were called over, dipping the line they went left in almost drifting conditions with big wind changes. Having been directed to the easterly zephyer, they picked up the wind first to round first. Shorten course was sounded and a spinnaker reach to the finish, ISC won the race and regatta or so they thought, but alas the boat behind came up on a new wind to overtake the crew, two boats short of the line and as they did, so the race team abandoned the race, resulting in a second overall to RTYC
Huge thanks to the Squadron for a fun regatta. The J70 was great fun, easy to sail and light on the tiller; the boats seemed well matched with nice sails.
1. Royal Torbay YC
2. Itchenor SC
Last updated 16:24 on 5 August 2021