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125th annual Minima Yacht Club Regatta

by John Forbes 8 Sep 2014 00:02 PDT 6-7 September 2014

A moody north-westerly, which might occasionally have reached force 1 made for a difficult and draining 125th annual regatta for Minima Yacht Club under mostly grey skies at Kingston on Thames at the weekend.

Northerlies are good news on Minima's reach, which runs north-south, but a bit of west produces turbulence over the trees and wind reflections off the flats on the town side of the river, and the result is a wind which changes or even reverses direction unpredictably – which meant helms and crews could never settle.

In these conditions experience and guile are at a premium, and Minima's veteran pairing Alan Jales and Heather Elwin demonstrated plenty of both to run away with the Enterprise class, winning their first two races by a wide margin, although a disastrous mark mishap by Alex Cane definitely helped Jales take the second race. However experience-free helm Naz Ivasyuk also impressed, coming in 5th in a club boat in his first sail in the class. Two Twickenham Ents had major or minor repairs carried out by Minima's class captain John Forbes, but this was little help on the water.

Twickenham's commodore Nick Titley took the solo class, ahead of Minima's commodore Andy Banks, and three other Minima helms, but there were only three competitors apiece in the Merlins and National 12s. The Merlin honours were taken by the evergreen (and ever-victorious at Minima) Ken Duffell, evidently proud to be crewed in one race by his grandson Matthew Valentine. Twickenham are pretty much the National 12 specialists in this neck of the river and their Pip Deverson won the class with three straight firsts.

With just 19 boats on the water entries were well down on previous years. The dire wind forecast probably didn't help, and the classic Merlin event at Bosham was said to have lured the Thames contingent, who were conspicuous by their absence. Minima needs to attend more of the neighbours' events, and hopefully they will return the compliment, which would benefit all parties.

At least the sun came out for the last race, and the jazz on Saturday night went down almost as well as the cask of Adnams. The event was sponsored once again by Surrey solicitors TWM.

Overall Results: (Minima unless stated)

1 Alan Jales & Heather Elwin
2 Alex Cane & Scott Plenderleith
3 John Forbes & Andy Cuckson

Merlin Rocket
1 Ken Duffel & Brian Corking/Matthew Valentine (Tamesis)

National 12
1 Pip Deverson & Peter Hinson (Twickenham)

1 Nick Titley (Twickenham)
2 Andy Banks

Thames Rater
1 Martin Hunter (Upper Thames)

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