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Hunt Cup at Lymington Town Sailing Club

by Giles Chipperfield 31 Dec 2022 08:43 PST 26 December 2022
Famous Martin Bees © Abby Keighley-Hanson

Many clubs run a seasonal event at this time of year, to select the club champion or just to share the joy of mid-winter sailing. At Lymington Town, we have the Hunt Cup, which is a fancy dress championship on boats, usually with an equally large support team who do not go near a boat.

In charge this Boxing Day was Dave Gorringe, who chose to run the event as a Musical Chairs 'race'. After an incomprehensible briefing on the course, with no questions permitted, the sailors, in full and mostly very impressive, fancy dress sprinted to the Le Mans start off the slipway. The rest of the spectators were issued with carol sheets on the club pontoon and started the musical accompaniment. From then on, each time Dave raised the 'X for Xmas' flag the choir stopped, everyone turned for the finish, and the last boat to get across the line was disqualified, until there were none left. Simple.

The deficiencies in the briefing became apparent early on as sailors approached the course in both possible directions, including some tight corners where this was physically not possible. An early man overboard manoeuvre for a silver feathery pirate hat caused some further confusion to those taking a lead from the boat ahead.

The fancy dress was impressive on the water, but not always optimal for sailing. The Bumble Bee team complained that their pollen collector legwarmers became soggy very quickly, while the dragon costume's large tail made gust response in an Aero tricky. Various animal onesies discovered that the snouts blew across the eyes at critical moments, which was OK unless both the crew had the same snout design and lost all vision at the same time.

Eventually, Mike and June Baker in their RS400 were the last undisqualified boat, but had won nothing yet because the trophy is awarded for the fancy dress part. Their curious raccoon and vicar combo seemed unlikely to make it a double win, and so it proved.

Honourable fancy dress mentions went to Iona Willows for fine dragon costume, moving on from winning last year as Spiderman, to the bees, and to Jenni Lewis for the silver pirate outfit, and its on the water recovery. Comprehensive winners though were the Broomfield family who turned up in Yacht Headstrong which could not even attempt the course, but they scored highly for an entire crew in full fancy dress, including their many daughters and Digby the dog. More conclusively, they provided the rescue boat team with hot homemade sausage rolls from their galley, and were pronounced worthy winners on the spot.

Many thanks to the PRO, the RIB crew, the excellent spectator choir, and to everyone for turning out and reminding us all that sailing clubs can be great fun.

More serious racing at Lymington Town restarts with the Perishers Series from Sunday 8th January through to the end of February. Visitors are very welcome. Do come and join us.

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