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Minima Regatta - 2011

posted 7 Sep 2011, 23:39 by Graham Morley   [ updated 7 Sep 2011, 23:52 ]
Good neighbours up and down the Thames got together for Minima Yacht Club’s annual regatta at the weekend, which was sponsored by TWM solicitors.

Sailors from Thames Sailing Club, Tamesis Club, and Twickenham Yacht  Club came along to enjoy pretty crazy weather conditions, with a sunny race in a pleasant kite-flying breeze on Saturday and a golden evening to follow for the summer party on the balcony overlooking the river, followed by a cracking rain-lashed blast on Sunday morning, and (to put it politely) challenging light airs for the final race.

Entertainment was provided by a procession of Little Ships, who steamed solemnly smack through the middle of the 12-strong Merlin start on Saturday, with the Goodyear blimp overhead, and on Sunday the booming soundtrack of Kingston Carnival, where the Mayor  of Kingston, who presented the prizes, shared the soaking shower which we enjoyed on the river.

There were very few capsizes, but quite a few crashes and scrapes, of which the best value was Ken Duffell’s on Saturday afternoon, when he backflipped into the river after what you might call a toestrap malfunction and found himself fending off a restored motor torpedo boat with one hand while hanging on to his Merlin with the other. Of course everything is in miniature at Minima. The MTB looked like a battleship on the Thames, while the force 3 southerly on Sunday morning could have been hurricane Irene. It is possible that Ken was more affected by this than he appeared, as after three consecutive victories at this event he was defeated by his clubmate at Tamesis Mike Stephens. Mike led every single lap he sailed except the first, mostly pursued by Minima’s Ben Marshall.

Two of the club’s more promising juniors were knocked off the launching ramp by some careless trolley-handling to add to their cup of joy after a rain sodden Sunday morning – one having the good luck and presence of mind to land in a Merlin – we must hope this does not become some sort of boat-race style tradition.

Best race was undoubtedly the second, with all 28 boats travelling fast on a reach which is 200 yards wide at most, and plenty of leisure traffic on the river to liven up proceedings. The successful helms had to think their way through several different sorts of traffic as well as timing their tacks to outwit the opposition. Despite the soaking rain it was the best fun of the event.

The regatta was sponsored by TWM Solicitors for the fifth year running, generously as usual providing champagne for the winners, and this year also the winner of the Solo class, Sean Holton.

Report by John Forbes.
Results (Minima unless stated). 
A Rater: Bess Rhodes, Alistair MacDonald, Tom Wilson (Thames).
Merlin: Mike Stephens, Joddi Gerber (Tamesis).
Enterprise: Alan Jales, Heather Elwin.
Solo: Sean Holton (TWM).
Handicap: Tom Hill, Amy McElroy (N12, Twickenham)

1) Merlin winners Mike Stephens and Joddi Gerber (centre) keep ahead of the traffic, with Sean Holton, the Solo class winner in the blue hull to their right. Note the twin funnels of Turks Launches stern-wheeler the Yarmouth Belle just coming under Kingston Bridge in the background to join the fun. Picture Peter Halligan.
2) Minima’s Ben Marshall and Matt Allen in Pooh head a damp Ken Duffell’s Harry as riverbank spectators enjoy the good weather in the first race on Saturday. Picture: Peter Halligan.

For more photos, check out the Gallery section.