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May Merrie Trophy Race – Monday 6 May 2013

posted 12 May 2013, 12:10 by Graham Morley   [ updated 13 May 2013, 11:44 ]
For the second year running, the May Merrie Cup/R.N.L.I. Trophy event, with a course set traditionally to pass around the island of Raven’s Ait and back to the club house, was re-jigged as a ‘near the island’ race owing to a lack of wind. Although a little stronger than for the previous day’s event and more southerly, breezes were poor in Minima’s home reach, so a shorter, more productive course was set in the wide reach of the river, between a start line at the Riverside Café and the north end of the Ait.

This is Minima’s first open event of the season, and members were joined by two Thames Sailing Club crews, fielding an Omega dinghy and a Thames ‘A’ Rater which made the meeting more interesting. Raters, which look like large slippery slivers of soap, are always head turners, and Rater 9 Karina added to the public spectacle. We had a large audience on Queen’s Promenade. Competitors either sailed and paddled or took a tow to the start, where the breeze was instantly better and closer to a southerly, although still rather slight. There were occasional healthy blasts coming from between the boscage, which made it actually feel like sailing, but conditions were still difficult for novice helms like the writer who are struggling to master the basics. The tall-masted Rater and Merlin and the best helms in Enterprises and Solos predictably performed well, while the rest of the fleet was spread out, mainly according to ability. Our guests Jane Gerrard and Patrick Rayner, sailing the Omega, came in seventh. Ed Mayley showed his skill by beating the writer’s Enterprise with his Topper in conditions which did not favour a small sail. Jackie Griffin did the same in her Solo. Minima’s newcomers were well represented, including Hyun-Joo Jeong crewing for Andy Banks, Claire Evans crewing Ian Peace, and Keon Woo Lee in a Topper. The sunshine put in a good showing, being persistent enough to make sunscreen essential for the fair skinned, while the author regretted afterwards not wearing a hat. He found himself unable to say properly ‘Raters Look Like Large Slippery Slivers of Soap’ in the bar later, and puts it down to slight sunstroke rather than an excess of Glenmorangie. 

The presentation proceedings were attended by the Worshipful the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames, Councillor Mary Heathcote, and the Mayor’s Consort Dr. Roger Heathcote. Before the ceremony, Madam Mayor spent some time speaking to club members.

In his welcoming address, Commodore Andy Banks thanked Madam Mayor and her party for attending Minima’s May Merrie prize giving ceremony, and also thanked our visitors from Thames Sailing Club for entering this open event and making it all the better. None of the weekend’s hard working helpers were forgotten, and bosuns, race officers, caterers and assistants alike were all named and thanked. Andy recalled the Queen’s 2012 Jubilee Beacon Lighting Event on the river at Minima, when club officials taking Madam Mayor out to the beacon were instructed: ‘If she falls in, grab the Chain!’

In her answering speech, Madam Mayor spoke about how much visiting Minima Yacht Club had meant to her while in office. Attending the May Merrie event twice had practically marked the beginning and end of her term, making this day a pleasant homecoming to a club she holds in high regard; and thanks to Minima Yacht Club, the Royal Borough of Kingston’s own 2012 Jubilee Beacon was made rather special by being anchored and lit in the middle of the Thames.

Sailing Secretary Steve Collins then announced the winners and Madam Mayor presented the prizes, after which Chris Martin spoke on behalf of the visitors from Thames Sailing Club to thank Minima for making it so enjoyable and giving them a warm-up open event to start the season.

See below for the Results Table:

 Place Class  Boat Name  Helm  Crew  Club 
 1st Merlin Rocket  Pooh  Ben Marshall  Sel Shah  Minima YC 
 2nd Solo  Isabel  John Metzner  Minima YC 
 3rd Thames 'A' Rater  Karina  Chris Martin  Sue Williams, Stefan Ketner  Thames SC 

Full results can be found by clicking this link: Race Results

Photo Key (Top to Bottom):
  • Ben Marshall and Sel Shah accepting the May Merrie Cup and the R.N.L.I. Trophy (for first Minima boat home) from Kingston’s Mayor, Councillor Mary Heathcote
  • John Metzner accepting second prize
  • Chris Martin and Stefan Ketner accepting third prize
Report by Andy Cuckson