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National Swallow 75th Anniversary Championship at Cowes Classics Week 2023

by Tony Glover 21 Jul 2023 02:42 PDT 10-14 July 2023

Another glorious few days of racing! 26 boats joined the fun and this time Gwaihir did not have it all her own way.

The breeze was generally up, there were a couple of halyard failures, but our Swallows held together well for some wet and bouncy beats and thrilling spinnaker legs. The Swallow Class was awarded the Queen Victoria Cup (1886) to mark our 75th anniversary also the Ratsey & Lapthorn trophy for the Spirit of Cowes Classics Week the pragmatic solution to Tuesday's disputed race results.

Gwaihir (Mike Wigmore. Charles Hyatt & Keith Bliss) repeated their win of last year but were pushed very hard to the final and eighth race by Osprey (Jeremy Sibthorp) and Swift (Andy Fitzgerald).

We began with a pleasant Vernon Trophy passage race over to Cowes, won by Buccaneer with Ghost also finding the right lane to finish second. The tides did not seem to hold us back, the wind direction was kind, and we were in Cowes in good time.

Monday saw a SW wind in the mid-teens. Gwaihir swept away to win both with the usual suspects of Osprey, Swift. Skua and Spectre all pressing.

The following day was interesting. The fleet finally got away at the third attempt under a U Flag, and after a couple of laps passed a RIB flying an S flag at a windward mark. Some then broke out the sandwiches and ran gently back only to find the CV apparently finishing the fleet at the bottom - but with no finishing records having been taken at the top. In effect protested itself and a sensible arrangement was eventually reached by compiling our own records of finishing order at the top mark, with Osprey first But Gwaihir had not excelled in the race which put pressure on for the rest of the series. Congratulations to Goosander for taking the round the cans race in the windy afternoon.

Windy Wednesday gave Gwaihir two more wins. Race 1 was short, the lunch break minimal, and the second race spinnaker reaches spectacular. Some boats did not come out to play as it remained manageable at 20-25 knots.

The leading bunch had all to play for on the final day. Gwaihir and Swift were both counting poor results and hoping to discard but could not afford any more poor races. Gwaihir won the first race with ease and sailed conservatively in the final race to win with 15 points, two ahead of Osprey, herself two ahead of Swift. It had been an exciting and close-fought series at all levels through the big fleet.

With the exception of the difficulty in Race 3 we were pleased with the race management. The start lines were tight and fair set courses were true and a good length and the second races took us round Solent cans, giving us opportunities for dramatic reaches, tidal tactics, and a quick return to Cowes.

The social scene was also excellent. Special mention must go the Swallow 75th celebration drinks at the Commodore's House (thanks to Lucy and her team), and the daily tea and cakes at the RLYC were welcome after a hard day on the water.

Let's see if we can all get there again next year (8-12 July 2024).

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Swallow nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8PtsNotes
1stGwaihirS93Mike Wigmore11‑95111515 
2ndOspreyS95Jeremy Sibthorp341422‑6117 
3rdSwiftS7Andy FitzGerald52233‑142219 
4thSpectreS91Jonathon Pudney25‑66535329New Helm
5thSkuaS3Harry Roome4382643‑930 
6thGoosanderS81Tim Taylor11631‑1377742New Helm
7thKansuS83James Birkett13‑18148864457 
8thGhostS96Philip Swatman17(OCS)71378131075 
9thMerlinS94Julian Kinross8‑17167125151376New Helm
10thBlue TitS80Tom Clarence‑Smith7859DNS(DNC)111178 
11thEchoS87Charles HIndson‑189171414128882 
12thSolitudeS67Andrew Reid141511‑20413141889 
13thMeridien2S77Simon Slater101315‑191011161489New Helm
14thMigrantS86Charles Fisher6(OCS)4109DNF201692 
15thSpreadeagleS85George Miller2111121116(RET)121295 
16thKa NyengaS90Michael Robinson‑2310181815992099 
17thPtarmiganS68Alistair Impey912131219(RET)1819102 
18thBuccaneerS66Mike Bond15141917DNS(DNC)106108 
19thMarengoS82Philip Pascall12720161115(DNC)DNC109 
20thBoomerangS75Robin Knibb1920‑211517102115117New Helm
21stCockersootieS92Charles Prescot16161022DNS(DNC)1717125 
22ndStealthS79Mark Walker‑2221222118162222142 
23rdPeregrineS84Robert Sharp2019(DNC)DNCDNSDNC2321166 
24thWhimbrelS60Peter Snell24RET(DNC)RETDNSDNC19DNF179 
25thCurlewS70James BaronRETRET(DNC)DNCDNSDNCDNCDNC193New Helm
26thArchonS74Malcolm GreenDNS(DNC)DNCDNCDNSDNCDNCDNC194 

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