Firkin Trophy Team Racing 31 May 2014

posted 12 Jun 2014, 10:05 by Sailing Secretary   [ updated 14 Jun 2014, 09:43 ]

This annual meeting between Minima Yacht Club and Twickenham Yacht Club has been held, as far as can be established, since 1938. The date can be seen on the bow of the trophy – a stylised boat made from half of a small barrel – which appears in the photographs.

 The competition alternates between the two clubs, each fielding a team of six boats – three Enterprises and three Solos – over two or three half-hour races. This year it was Twickenham’s turn to host, and taking part this year gave the extra interest of seeing the various improvements they have made to their club house, in itself a rather charming place.

 The Minima team consisted of:

Solo class: John Metzner, John Kemp and Ali Banks;

Enterprise class:  John Forbes and Brian Cheetham, Alex and David Cane, Andy Banks and Andy Cuckson.

 Winds were rather light and the sailing not especially exciting although enjoyable. In both races, our Ents made the best starts. Crewing Great Harry, the author was pleased to help improve performance from 5th to 3rd place over the two races, despite the boat shipping excessive water through the bottom. We concentrated on sailing, not bailing. The tidal water was vaguely tricky when combined with the poor wind, although sailing was properly scheduled to start two hours before high tide.

There was an unseen hazard in a submerged concrete structure, which John Forbes said makes funny crunching noises when your boat runs onto it. A special treat was seeing and competing against the vintage Enterprise number E9, which looked original except for the aluminium mast, and even sported cotton sails. The Minima team did very well, and Twickenham’s winning margin over a straight two races was a mere five points.

TYC were warmly welcoming hosts, and following combat treated us royally to a supper with magnificent portions of chilli con carne, strawberry pavlova and syrup pudding and custard. The author liked the blue table settings with boat themed table napkins (see photo). But of course, they were wrong – the boat is sailing close hauled but the burgee says it’s running! There was also of course the firkin of Fuller’s ale served free to competitors.

 The event made for a great day out, including readying the boats and towing them in convoy; taking them through Teddington lock; taking part in the sailing; and enjoying the host club and its facilities including the club bar, the supper and the hospitality. Ruth and Rob Mayley watched from the start line, while several other members attended for the presentation ceremony and the supper. As John Forbes said, it didn’t matter that we didn’t win, it was superb. Many thanks Twickers!


The photos, unluckily, don’t show any of the sailing, because I was busy crewing! I’m usually behind the camera, but as the Commodore insisted that I be included in ‘team’ photos, you can play ‘spot-the-author’ this time (no prizes).

By Andy Cuckson (photos by the author and Andy Banks)