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Whitstable Week 2023

by Steve Gray 8 Aug 2023 08:35 PDT 2-6 August 2023
Race start during Whitstable Week 2023 © WYC

Whitstable Yacht Club's biggest event of the year is Whitstable Week which this year ran from Wednesday Aug 2nd to Sunday Aug 6th.

The format for the event is a ten-race series with two races per day and socials each evening which included a cadet night, a quiz night, an evening that started with commodore's cocktails followed by the amazing WYC music group, and a Summer Ball with canapes and fizz supported by a further band 'Betty and the Swingtones'. Whitstable Week was sponsored by Holidaycottages.co.uk who have kindly supported WYC's major events in 2023 and WYC's growing cadet fleet.

Returning to WYC from his recent emigration to the USA was Race Officer John Boorman, who ran an excellent race series when the weather allowed. Such dedication to Whitstable Week earned John the 'Spirit of Whitstable Week' trophy.

Wednesday was forecasted to be wet and windy which sadly proved to be correct with 25mph gusts resulting in racing been abandoned for the day, but fortunately the bar opened early so all wasn't lost!

The fleet were keen to make up the lost ground on Thursday with a light northerly wind as they launched. The wind then went southerly, south easterly, and just as the RO was considering binning the day, a NE force 4 sprung up under a dark raincloud. The first race was won by Rick and Sarah Perkins from WYC in their Tasar followed by Paul and Bronwyn Ridgeway from Australia and also in a Tasar. Chris Marsh who is a WYC member but sails his Laser/ILCA for Thailand finished third to set a somewhat international tone to the results for the week. Chris won the second race of the day from Rick and Sarah and Millie Lewis from Medway YC in her Laser/ILCA radial.

There were medium breezes on Friday, but rain made for a rather cold and unwelcoming racecourse. The one race held was won by Chris Marsh, with Millie second and the Ridgeway's third.

Saturday saw more wind and rain which failed to diminish the fleet's enthusiasm. The 1-2-3 was the same in both races with Paul and Bronwyn finishing ahead of Rick and Sarah and Chris Marsh on corrected time. Most notable were Adam Whitehouse and Mike Hanson who borrowed Adam's Dads Fireball for the event, capsized with the kite up in race 1 putting Mike through the mainsail, but with the split taped up took 4th place in the 2nd race - not too shabby for a scratch crew!

So, coming into Sunday the points were tight between the leading Tasars and Chris's Laser/ILCA, however Chris had departed to compete in the Under 21 ILCA Open Europeans which left the Tasars to tough things out. Conditions were described as 'a proper foam up' with a brisk northerly onshore wind giving some big waves which made launch and recovery something of a challenge. A single race was held which resulted in a further win for the Ridgeway Tasar followed by the Laser/ILCA of Harry Newton and the Laser/ILCA Radial of Max Hunt both from WYC.

Overall, Paul and Bronwyn took the week and the Tasar prize by just two points from Rick and Sarah with Chris Marsh third overall also taking the Laser and first cadet trophies. Millie Lewis came 4th overall and took the Laser Radial trophy, the Fireball of Adam and Mike the General Handicap class and 10th overall (and submarine trophy for most spectacular capsize), and cadet Joe Barton took the Topper and slow handicap prizes at 14th overall.

Full results can be found at wyc.org.uk/results/Whitstable_week_2023.html

It was a tough week of racing supported by some amazing parties which stretched the brain with a challenging Quiz, showcased the depth of talent in the club's music group and showed that WYC members can scrub up well for Saturday's Summer Ball!

Thanks must go to John Boorman the PRO and his team of volunteers, especially the safety boat crews who braved the worst of the weather whilst keeping an eye on the fleet. Thanks also to our sponsors Holidaycottages.co.uk who supported Commodore's Cocktails and the live band, and Laser supplier Sail and Sport who provided the fizz at the Summer Ball, and perhaps just the odd fuzzy head the next morning!

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