If seasons are judged by the weather, then 2018 must be one of the best. Warm, sunny, gentle breezes and very few cancelled races.
The quality of racing has been excellent with respectable fleet sizes for club races, some new winners, a very competitive Points Week and fantastic performances in the Solent regattas.
The start of the season felt very much like the end of 2017 with Lass and Xcitation dominating the racing. As the season progressed more boats featured at the front of the fleet and racing got closer and closer.
We reduced the overall number of races compared to 2016 by having slightly fewer b2b races on Sundays. Despite this I think we will probably sail a similar number of races. For 2019 we are planning a similar schedule. We would like to make a few more changes but we must fit in with Swallows, Sunbeams and other classes.
The multi-race OOH days have proved increasingly popular. So popular that the Swallows came and joined us. However, the Passage races have produced small fleets or been cancelled due to weather.
We experimented with holding the Matson Spoons trophy over a weekend, but this didn’t work as no ladies sailed both days. For next year we will pick one day or one race and promote this more.
Points Week was once again fantastic. We had 25 entries (nearly as many as the other two classes put together) and great competition throughout the fleet. My highlight, and probably the closest finish was the Ladies Race. We had 9 Ladies helming in 20 knots of breeze and a fantastically close finish. We need to get more ladies helming regularly. For 2019 Points Week will be held quite late in June but the race times will be more civilised around midday to early afternoon.
The social side of Points Week was great once again. Thank you to Cheryl and Roger Yeoman for hosting the XOD party once again.
We have tried to hold more social functions this year starting with the Skittles evening at a new venue, The Barley Mow in Walderton. The Men’s team took the competition far too seriously beating the Women’s team but the curry was excellent.
Following the Points Week party, we held an “Itchenor XODs & friends” drinks party at Cowes Classics Week. This was held aboard Pete Robson’s commodious 50’ yacht and the surrounding pontoons. 40 crew, supporters and friends joined us on a beautiful evening in Shepards Marina. As we had some wine left over from the Points Week party we held a Vice-captains party in August hosted by Susie and Jerrold were again we had over 40 people attending. The final XOD-only social event is the Joan Shaw dinner this evening.
Seventeen Itchenor boats ventured to the Solent for some or all the regattas. The Solent “Safari” started at Lymington with an Itchenor team of Lass (2nd) and Xcitation (4th). Sadly, the Lymington Regatta coincided with the Central Solent Championships hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble. Itchenor were represented by Athena (1st) and Princess Jalina (4th) and thanks to the sponsors Charles Heideick, a good time was had by all.
The XODs then moved to Cowes for the Telegraph Bowl with was fantastically run by RORC. Itchenor did well again with Xcitation (1st), Athena (2nd), Lass (4th) and Princess Jalina (6th) with Quixotic coming a very encouraging 10th.
Without a break we were straight in to Cowes Classics Week. Itchenor produced 13 boats making us the largest division. After a few years of trying Lass finally won the event holding off last year’s winner, Claire du Lune. Lass and Athena won races and all the Itchenor boats were at the front of the fleet at one stage or another.
Following a week off we were in to Cowes Week with 11 Itchenor boats competing. Lass won the Captain’s Cup for a record 6th year in a row. Well done to John Tremlett, Ian Andrews and Richard Bullock who sailed superbly all week. Congratulations also go to Foxglove (3rd), Catherine (4th), Xcitation (6th), Astralita (9th) and Falconet (12th) in a fleet of 49 boats. The Itchenor division retained the coveted Phililipson Challenge Shield for top XOD division the 8th consecutive year.
The other divisions note that we travel to their events and hopefully we will see more visitors to Points Week as a result.
While some of us have been travelling the Summer Series took place at the club. Congratulations to Xtravagance for winning both Summer Series.
WER racing has gone well but the numbers are slightly down. There is a hard core of regular boats, but we rarely get more than 10. The Swallows behaved themselves better this year and took their turn running races. We are indebted to Tina and John for running so much of the racing. We need more volunteers to run racing, not just drive the ferry.
This year it was our turn to award the Royal Motor Yacht Club Challenge Cup. We ran a series of over 50 races for the Pilsey and Stocker fleets made up of In-Harbour, Out-of-Harbour and Open Events. The best 12 races counted including at least 4 Out-of-Harbour and 4 In-Harbour. We then applied a handicap system which produced an incredibly close finish. Xtravagance capped a fantastic season winning narrowly from Quixotic.
Although there have been one or two “racing incidents” there appears to be better rules observance on the water. Hopefully, we are all sailing better and more “cleanly”. Personally, I find the less shouting I do, the better my results.
The Crew Forum has tried to find spaces for potential new crews. Having reviewed our records, we have plenty of interested crew (of various ability) but very few owners seeking crew. This highlights the real problem we have. We have fewer boats on the water doing more races. Owners and crews who have regular arrangements are sailing as often as they want. However, fewer boats means fewer spaces and it is more difficult to get new crews on boats.
One area that has worked well is chartering and syndicates. This is a great way of potential new owners trying out the fleet on a season long basis. David McLean chartered X73 from Peter & Anne Taylor and has bought X172 for next season. Looking to next year there appears to be quite a few new boat partners.
Talking of new owners, I would like to welcome Tom Hammond and thank Tony Probert for his generosity and help to get Madame X back on the water. I look forward to watching Tom, hopefully with a young crew demonstrating his excellent boat handling skills in a race soon.
If there are any owners with boats sitting on driveways or in sheds and who might want to part with them, please come forward. We need to get as many boats on the water as possible.
I would like to thank David Priscott for looking after the scoring which is a very complex and time-consuming job. Thank you to Susie for the huge amount of time and organisation she has put in yet again. It is great that she has bought Merlin and is out sailing with an all-girl crew. Finally, thank you to William Plant who is stepping down as our treasurer having taken on the more complex role of the club’s Honorary Treasurer. I am grateful to Michael McNish who has agreed to take over.
At the recent XOD Class committee meeting Susie and I nominated Tony Monks to become an Honorary Member of the association. Tony has contributed an enormous amount of time over many years to the Technical Advisory Committee. This is a very detailed job which includes updating the rules and answering the questions of creative owners. I am very pleased to say there was unanimous supported for the Tony’s nomination.
Finally, it is the XOD’s turn to nominate a member for the Burnford Needle. This is an award made by Itchenor Sailing Club to a member who has “made a notable achievement or service to their class or to the club”. There were many deserving nominations and I am very pleased to say that the award is presented to Tina Scott. Those of us who are members of the Class Association know how much work Tina puts in. Regarding her contribution to the club I cannot put it better than this email I received from Antigua. “I nominate this amazing lady as she is ambassadorial, fun and ISC should feel very proud to have her as a member”.
Overall it has been a good season with fantastic weather. For next year we must make it easier for potential owners and crews to join us, get all our boats “up to speed” and thoroughly enjoy our racing.