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12 teams to compete in the Carmela Cup for the RYA Two Boat Keelboat Team Racing Championship

by Jack Fenwick 11 Apr 21:54 PDT 13-14 April 2024
Carmela Cup racing © Simon Winkley / Royal Thames YC

A long standing favourite among team racers, the Royal Thames Yacht Club's Carmela Cup will see more teams than ever competing to claim the title of UK National Champion.

For a bit of fun this year, we have asked the sailors to predict the overall results for all teams and while the names at the top of this list will be familiar to team racers, the margin in the middle of the pack is "predicted" to be very close, highlighting how close the sailors expect the racing to be.

Topping these predictions is reigning champions Elmside Neighbours with helms Murray Hampshire and Scott Wallis. Speaking about hopes for this years event, Murray Hampshire said "We're hopeful that we can defend the title but our main aim is make sure that we make it to the knock out stage. Honestly though, it's just great fun racing against the best in the UK!"

Next up on the Sailors list is the Oxford & Cambridge Sailing Society team lead by Fiona Hampshire and Arthur Henderson with multiple Carmela Cups under their respective belts. Fiona Hampshire enthused "While we obviously want to win, the event is just great fun! The Sonars are great to sail, there are four crew on each boat to coordinate, Rule 17 is still on making it pure team racing. Incredible."

Third on the list is the first of TWO Rutland Sailing Club teams, the Rutland Raiders, skippered by Brothers Ben and Jamie Tylecote. Back for the second year in a row, the whole team is keen to improve on their sixth place finish last year but having a fun event is also high on their priority list.

For our own, Royal Thames Academy Team, with helms James Hammett and Alex Smallwood, finishing in the top half of the fleet is the primary goal but when asked what their real hopes were, James admitted "beating the brother in-law, Murray Hampshire [former Academy member and event favourite] off the pin end of the start line would just make my event" we'll be watching their race closely.

Royal Thames Captain of Team Racing, normally a mainsail trimmer at high profile events such as this, is helming with fellow mainsail trimmer Tim Gratton in the other boat representing the "Crews Union". Guy is a fan of the Carmela Cup, "The racing is very high quality and great fun, it's hard to say how we might do overall but I know we are going to enjoy a lot of tight racing."

In addition to the Carmela Cup, this year's championship will see the Brixham Ladies Cup presented for the first time since 2011 for the best placed University team with Cambridge University fighting against Imperial College for the honours. Imperial's Commodore, Teodor Tiryaki is hoping his team can adapt their firefly team racing skills to the keelboat arena and see them finish in the top half of the field. Blake Tudor, helm of one of the Cambridge boats is looking forward to "mixing it up with the best and hopefully making in to the top half."

With an ambitious 130 races scheduled over the weekend but a decent breeze forecast for the duration, this is lining up to be one of the best Carmela Cups for some time.

To keep up with the racing, results can be found on the Royal Thames Yacht Club website with updates from the sailors through our Instagram.

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