Swanage Regatta Open Meeting

Usually a two day event this year’s regatta was reduced to a single day due to the Red Arrows performing over the race area on the Saturday. It was almost worth losing a day’s racing as the views from Swanage Sailing Club balcony were stunning and the performance flawless. We were also treated to an evening firework display as part of Swanage Carnival Week.


Sunday morning dawned fine with a light northerly breeze which was starting to fade. With insufficient boats for our own start the Albacores were sailing with the fast handicap fleet and at 10am we were ready and waiting for the remaining boats to arrive at the start line. Racing finally got under way in light fluky conditions and Bill McMillan led the way to the first mark. The fast fleet were soon overtaking the Laser fleet which had started three minutes earlier. After the first lap  Bill’s albacore still led and this continued up to rounding the third mark when the lead boats followed by the rest of the pack including Trevor Smith fell into a hole in the wind. The trailing boats, including National 12s and Andy Pearce in A7525, seeing the problem, stayed in the wind and took the long route back towards the second mark and then cut diagonally across the very strong tide to round the fourth mark in the lead. In sight of the finish, but unable to reach it against the tide, the whole fleet struggled to cross the finish line. The final order was an RS400 sailed by Tim Hughes from Swanage in first, Bill McMillan in second, Trevor Smith in third and Andy Pearce in fourth.  Due to the failing wind several boats had only managed to complete one lap and the fleet was sent in for an early lunch.

The forecast was for the wind to swing round to the south west and fill in and strengthen through the afternoon. Race two started promptly after lunch and again Bill led from the line. Trevor was soon close behind and contesting for the lead which swapped several times before Trevor crossed the finish line first with Bill a close second. Andy Pearce finished in third. Race three was run with the wind freshening more and this time a Fireball helmed by C. Downing from Parkstone led the fleet home followed by Trevor. Bill finished in fourth and Andy in fifth. The final race would decide the series and after some close racing between the Albacores which seemed in a class of their own on the day the finishing order was Bill followed closely by Trevor. A Laser 11 sneaked into third and Andy finished in fourth.

With four races and three only to count Bill and Trevor were tied equal first with five points each. After count back on first places Bill was placed first and Trevor second. The RS400 of Tim Hughes sneaked into third place with ten points and Andy finished in fourth on eleven points. Not quite an albacore whitewash but almost with Speed boats in first and second and that blue Porter never far behind. It shows how competitive the Albacore really is and even in the excellent afternoon sailing conditions it beat the faster RS400s and Fireballs and two catamarans!

Excellent close racing was enjoyed by the albacores throughout a well run event at a super venue. This regatta deserves more recognition and support from our fleet.

Andy Pearce
Blue Jay     

Albacore results:

1. Bill McMillan
2. Trevor Smith
3. Andy Pearce


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