Inter Services Gold Cup and 2000 Millennium Series Open 2016
The Gold Cup has long been the pinnacle of Armed Forces Dinghy and Dayboat sailing. For many years it was sailed with sudden death heats and a one race winner takes all final. It remains a difficult to win but ever so coveted trophy and still draws the cream of serving and retired sailors from the Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. For 2016 it had been decided to tweak the format and merge the Gold Cup with a 2000 Millennium Series event hosted by the Army Sailing Association Thorney Island Sailing Club.
And so 28 2000s from as far afield as Cardiff and Germany arrived under a threatening grey sky. At the briefing it was announced that due to the poor wind forecast for Sunday it was likely that 4 races would be sailed that day. Then the fleet were off: an easy launch off the widened slipway and a fast run against the flood to a Committee Boat anchored on Stocker Lake, with a windward mark tucked as close as it was possible to get under the Pilsey Beach shoreline.
Race one started in 18-20 knots, but by the time the first boats reached the windward mark there were sustained gusts of Force 6. In a fast and furious race Hamish Walker and Alex Pickles (Royal Navy Sailing Association) established a solid lead but were chased hard by Steve and Sarah Cockerill (Stokes BaySC and RNSA) (returning to Service sailing for the first time in many years) and then Rob and Sarah Burridge (Weir Wood SC). In fourth place Miles and Anderley Wade (Army Sailing Association) defended well from a hard charging Helen and Andrew Phillips (Cardiff Bay YC). Behind this group there were plenty of incidents, including some synchronised swimming at the leeward gate.
If anything the breeze had increased for race two. This time the Cockerills got away in front followed by Hamish and Alex, and Rob and Sarah. Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge (ASA) were back on their normal form, and closed out fourth place.
It was a relieved fleet that saw the breeze drop to 16 to 20 knots for the start of race three. A right hand shift looked like it had favoured those who had tacked away early from the port biased line, but the breeze flicked back as the left hand group neared their layline. Taking full advantage Miles and Anderley Wade rounded first only to suffer a dose of the slows when they gybed early underneath the fleet. Matt Sargent, sailing with 10 year old daughter Gwen (ASA ), was enjoying the lighter conditions and rounded third behind Hamish and Alex, with the Cockerills fourth. These three extended from the fleet, the Cockerills flying into second on the run. As they reached the top of the last beat the breeze returned with a vengeance: the Sargents just held onto third by the thickness of the spinnaker cloth from a hard charging Team Phillips.
Back to three laps for race four with the breeze well up in the 20s again. This time the Burridges pulled away from Hamish and Alex, with the Cockerills third. Ray Workman and Alex Watts continued their steady improvement to take fourth. The fleet was again relieved: this time that Race Officer Clive Grant didn’t invoke the option to finish on the Club Line. By this stage no-one fancied racing a 1¾ mile beat against the Spring ebb.
Unfortunately the wind refused to play ball on Sunday, despite attempts to set a course in the main harbour and, as High Water slack approached, in the Thorney Channel. As the ebb kicked in properly it was time to abandon, leaving Hamish and Alex worthy winners of the Gold Cup, the Cockerills in second, and in third Rob and Sarah Burridge.
- 1st Overall: Gold Cup winners and RNSA Dinghy Champions: Hamish Walker and Alex Pickles
- 2nd Overall and RNSA Runners Up: Steve and Sarah Cockerill
- 3rd Overall: Rob and Sarah Burridge
- 4th Overall and ASA Champions: Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge
- 5th Overall: Helen and Andrew Phillips
- 6th Overall and ASA Runners Up: Matt and Gwen Sargent
- 10th Overall and RAFSA Champions: Kev and Jake O’Brien
- RAFSA Runners Up: Mike McEwing and Rob Wilson
- Services Silver Fleet Winners: Hugo Blanshard and Adam Booth.
- Services Silver Fleet Runners Up: Nigel Amphlett and Cat Juniper
- Endeavour: Jay Miller and Conor Fisher
- 1st ASA TISC: Jonathan Dannat and Petrina Goodwin
Full results here: http://www.2000class.org/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3639
- Sailing photographs thanks to Clive Grant
- Winners photograph thanks to Wayne Shirley
- Report by Matt Sargent
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