It has been a remarkably successful year for the Royal Southern Yacht Club, especially on the water. Amongst the many notable winners, Niklas Zennström became Mini Maxi and Gaastra 52 World Champion, Edward Leask took the Gazprom Swan European title in Class A, James Wilkie became 40.7 National Champion and Philip Bendon took the EUROSAF Youth Match Racing crown.
Guest speaker Stuart Quarrie joined The Royal Southern’s Rear Commodore Sailing, Mrs Karen Henderson-Williams, in handing out over 80 trophies.
At the other end of the size scale, Alan Roberts became National Champion in Merlin Rockets and Rob Greenhalgh claimed the UK Moth Nationals title. Club members also enjoyed a clutch of success in Cowes, Dartmouth, Grenada and in Newport, Rhode Island. Of course Honorary Member, Sir Ben Ainslie, also had a hand in Oracle Team USA's comeback to win the 34th Americas's Cup in San Francisco.
At Saturday evening's Royal Southern AVEVA Prizegiving, presided over by the Club's Rear Commodore Sailing, Karen Henderson-Williams, many exquisite pieces of silver and glassware were bestowed upon their delighted recipients but none was so eagerly awaited as the announcement of this year's 'Champion of Champions'.
Launched in 2012 to recognise and reward performance and consistency, the Royal Southern Yacht Club Champion of Champions prize, once more awarded by the Barbados Tourism Authority, went to the owner and helm of the yacht that performed best across all four Summer Series Regattas, the father and son duo Nick and Adam Munday.
Nick and 21 year-old Adam, a Royal Southern Academy member, raced the J97 Indulgence in IRC 3 with enormous confidence and purpose and are rightly proud of their achievements having scored 14 bullets and one fourth place from 15 starts.
Nick, who was unable to attend the ceremony with Adam, nonetheless commented that it was an amazing honour and a wonderful prize:
'It is fabulous to sail and race with my son Adam. He is a fine sailor for someone so young. He prepares Induljence to perfection, and finds capable and committed crewmates to race with. My contribution to this success has been limited to having one hand on the tiller and the other on the credit card!'
Adam also said how delighted they both are to win such a fantastic prize. 'We have owned the boat since October 2011 and Dad and I share the helming depending on other commitments. Our crew is made up of many regular sailors we have met over the years and all are very committed to our racing program.'
The prize voucher, presented by Mr Devon Chase, Business Development Manager for the Barbados Tourism Authority, includes flights and hotel accommodation for one week in January at the Radisson Aquatic Beach Resort, plus a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Race and enjoy all the legendary Bajan hospitality that surrounds Race week on the Island.
Amongst many highlights in the Club's racing calendar next year is running the 52nd edition of the Cowes-Deauville Race. The Club very much enjoyed welcoming the President of Deauville Yacht Club, Georges Bouvard and his wife Jane, to the AVEVA Prize giving.
As many will have seen at AAM Cowes Week this year, the City of Deauville has big plans for developing its waterfront and this will inevitably benefit both their Club and visiting yachtsmen and is a measure of their commitment to yachting that in 2014 Deauville also hosts the 45th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro.
The Royal Southern Yacht Club was among the founders of the modern Cowes Week, running some of the racing during the week as well as taking a lively interest in the development of the most famous yachting regatta in the world. It was therefore fitting to invite Stuart Quarrie to provide a first-hand and insightful glimpse into his role as Regatta Director and for the 200+ guests to hear how he sees the future of the regatta developing now that he is stepping down as the CEO of Cowes Week Ltd after 15 years, but remaining as its Sailing Director.
To round off the evening, tributes were paid to the Club's racing and shoreside sponsors including Marc Blees of Gaastra Pro Gear, Andy Ash-Vie of Harken UK, Alvin Saal of Mount Gay Rum, Martin Gamman of Champagne Joseph Perrier, Mike Pope and his colleagues at GJW Direct, Petra Roach of the Barbados Tourism Authority, Robert Glen of E.P.Barrus, Richard Curry of Seastart and last but not least, Richard Longdon of AVEVA plc., for his support on the water, and particularly for the Prizegiving evening.