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2019 Setley Cup and Seahorse Trophy Junior Model Yacht Regatta - Preview

by Luke McEwen 18 Dec 2019 14:05 PST 26 December 2018
Windy conditions for the 2015 Setley Cup and Seahorse Trophy © Ann Brunskill

The 37th Edition of the Setley Cup model yacht race for kids will be raced on Boxing Day 2019 at Setley Pond, just north of Lymington.

Conceived in 1983 as a battle of home-made balsa boats, the event now attracts up to 70 competitors (including two boats from the very first edition still sailing). Since 1998 it has been split into monohull and multihull classes, racing for the Setley Cup and Seahorse Trophy respectively. Construction ranges from bottles, bamboo and bin bags cobbled together on Christmas Day, all the way to elegant carbon fibre and epoxy creations. Ingenious designs have been created using beer cans, toothpaste tubes and ice skates; a catamaran of two decoy ducks once managed to win a race.

The childhood winners of this classic competition over the years have gone on to claim Olympic medals in dinghy sailing as well as National, European and World championships. The event has also attracted some of the world's top yacht designers and boat builders including Simon Rogers, Rob Humphreys, Ed Dubois, Doug Peterson, Pom Green, Geoff Stock and John Claridge - almost all of them unsuccessful in their attempts to design a boat that could win the coveted trophy. Boats have to be launched for each race by a child and often it is the observant teenagers building their own boat who work out the best design.

No stored power is allowed, which rules out radio control, motors, rockets, elastic bands... it's a pure sailing race and the main challenge is making the boat sail straight as well as fast, in conditions from a shifty drift to a gale, sometimes with icebergs. Rules are limited to length overall and sail area (see below) allowing plenty of design freedom. Draught is unlimited but it's sensible to make your keel shorter than your wellies.

The rules:

1. Length: 66 cm max, including bowsprits etc.
2. Beam: unrestricted.
3. Sails: must fit in a rectangle of 100 x 50 cm (they may be rearranged to fit e.g. turning jib upside down).
4. No stored energy, so batteries, radio control, rockets etc are not permitted.
5. Boats must be launched for each race by a child (under 18)

Everyone is welcome to join in or watch and the event is free. Registration starts at 10am, with the first race at 11am. Usually there are up to five races for each class, with the aim to finish around 12:30. Remember to bring wellies, plenty of warm clothes and a change of socks for kids who may wade too deep in their enthusiasm to launch a few inches ahead of their neighbours. A hot flask is a good idea too.

Previous winners of the Setley Cup (now for monohulls):

1983 Nick Rogers, Luke McEwen
1984 Luke McEwen
1985 Nick Rogers
1986 Luke McEwen
1987 S. Nuding
1988 Katie & Helen McEwen
1989 Luke McEwen
1990 Robbie Claridge
1991 Sam Akester
1992 S. Nuding, P. Smith
1993 Sam Akester
1994 T. Turnage
1995 C. Lawrence
1996 C. Horden
1997 Max Johnston
1998 Max Johnston
1999 Jamie Jardine
2000 Jack Clifford
2001 Danny Tewys
2002 James Bye
2003 James & Mathew Bye
2004 Jamie Jardine
2005 Jamie Jardine
2006 Harry Woodington
2007 Connie Stock
2008 Esme Woodington
2009 Connie Stock
2010 George Dunsdon
2011 James Nicholson
2012 Annabelle Hutchinson
2013 Peter Bennett
2014 Joanna MacAlister
2015 Annabelle Hutchinson
2016 Charlie Rea
2017 Maisie Hutchinson
2018 Sylvia McEwen

Previous winners of the Seahorse Trophy (multihulls):

1998 Simon Mason
1999 Max Johnston
2000 Sarah Kemlo
2001 Nicole Donvitto
2002 Kirsty Urwin
2003 Richard Mason
2004 Arabella Jardine
2005 Kate Hardacre
2006 Hector Hurst
2007 George Russell
2008 Amy Clark
2009 George Russell
2010 Maya Gill
2011 Flynn Luxton
2012 Emma Bennet
2013 Dirk Rogers
2014 Chloe Crowther
2015 Finn Gabriel
2016 Lola Mordaunt
2017 Finn Gabriel
2018 Will Reeve

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