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Regatta Report 2016

The Arrow Trophy 2016: Old Cheltonians' Second Offshore Sailing Regatta
By Andrew Gossage (H, 1981)

Andrew Gossage

(H, 1981)


Paul Koch

(H, 1981)


Nigel Powell

(BH, 1979)


David Miller

(L, 2005)


Andrew Kenyon

(BH, 1979)


James Dallas

(L, 1994)

Foredeck Boss

Henry Garthwaite

(BH, 1985)


Toby Francis

(NH, 2009)


Alastair McRobert

(NH, 2009)


Jack Forrester

(BH, 2015)


Mark Glowrey

(L, 1981)


Eoin Hughes

(S, 2015)


Buoyed up by a successful first outing in 2015, nine of the OC crew formed up at Port Solent on Friday 30 September for a day’s crew training on our sail over to Cowes.  Once again, we were in a Sunsail Match First 40 yacht; this time ‘4005’.  The pleasant late summer sail gave us the chance to exercise all the usual drills for racing: tacks, gybes and spinnaker hoists and drops.  We were joined by James Dallas, David Miller and Toby Francis that evening in the pub.

0630 hrs arrived all too soon as we went to breakfast in the Duke of York’s pub and then the racing brief at 0800 hrs at Cowes Yacht Haven.  The brief concluded with a monumental thunderstorm!  Nevertheless, we set off to the race area in light airs and practised the whole crew with the spinnaker on the way.  The race committee directed one reef and spinnakers allowed for the first race because the wind was building.  After a 2 lap windward / leeward course we finished a disappointing 20th out of 24 and determined to do better in race 2.

By now the wind was building although oddly enough the race committee allowed full mainsail and spinnakers.  We had a problem furling and unfurling the headsail, and managed to cross the start line in last place. The crew worked hard with James Dallas leading the foredeck and Andrew Kenyon trimming the main constantly.  It started to get wet for those sitting out on the rail and I could see a big squall coming down the Solent from Hurst Castle.  It was 2 miles wide and full of wind!  We elected not to put the spinnaker up on the downwind legs.  Four boats did put the kite up; 20 didn’t.  As the squall hit the fleet we watched the 4 boats with spinnakers broach badly, completely laid flat on their sides.  Three boats cut their spinnaker away in time but Winchester College didn’t and the mast gave up the unequal struggle of 5 tonnes in the keel and 10 tonnes of sea water in the spinnaker at the other end.  The mast snapped in 2 places, then the broken end got stuck in the mud 4 metres below.  No one was hurt but the Gosport Lifeboat came out to the rescue and towed them back to Cowes.  Meanwhile, we finished in 12th place, having climbed above 12 other crews in 2 laps. Bramblemet recorded a 51kt gust at 3.15pm; that’s Storm Force 10!

Still having problems with the headsail furling we managed to get some of it out just in time for the start of the 3rd race.  This time the race committee directed 2 reefs and no spinnakers (not surprising!).  And with 31 to 37 kts showing on the dials all the time we didn’t need too much canvas out in any case.  After another ‘not so good’ start we completed the 2 laps of race 3 in a mixture of horizontal rain, howling wind and glorious sunshine as the squalls came through.  We finished in 15th place and a close race to the line with Radley, who came 14th.  Then it was time to sort out the headsail furler on the way back to Cowes.  Sailing into the lee of the Island with some searoom we were about to start the job when there was a very loud pistol crack as the forestay snapped.  Very quick action on the foredeck secured the spinnaker halyards to the bow and turning down wind we dropped the mainsail, thus averting the chance of the mast coming down on top of us.  Unless another boat could be provided we weren’t going to be racing on Sunday.  We motored back to Cowes slightly disheartened but safe after an eventful day’s racing.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club laid on an excellent dinner and the Cheltenham table was still in place at 0100 Sunday morning; everyone else having moved off.  Well, we knew we weren’t racing tomorrow!  About this time Toby Francis and Alastair McRobert very kindly agreed to take on organising the Cheltenham crew next year.  Very kind of them and they were constantly reminded the following day!  They are holding to their word.

Sunday dawned quite bright and clear with a reasonable racing breeze.  After a final, hearty breakfast at the Duke of York’s we slipped Cowes Yacht Haven and motored back to Port Solent, while the other boats raced 2 more races.

The final results show that Cheltenham finished 20th out of 24 crews, despite not racing on Sunday.  We are very grateful to the Old Cheltonian Society for their grant, and to the Arrow Trophy committee and the RORC race committee, and of course to Sunsail Port Solent, for an exhilarating regatta on Saturday.  Next year we will try to race both days!!  If you want to crew on the boat next year then do get in touch via the OC Society facebook or website, or via the OC office at College.

Back Row: Toby Francis, Henry Garthwaite, Paul Koch, James Dallas, Eoin Hughes.
Middle Row: Andrew Gossage, Mark Glowrey, Jack Forrester.
Front Row: Andrew Kenyon, Alastair McRobert, Nigel Powell, David Miller.