The Society and Itchenor drew 3-3 in the annual Itchenor Swallow match 2018 for the Stewart Morris Trophy held at Itchenor SC on Sunday 20th May. The match was held in sunny weather, as always, but we were met with limited wind and a big flood tide. A strong team with great experience and significant maturity had been assembled, augmented by an injection of youth. We were led on the water by our current President and were determined to reverse last year’s defeat. The home team itself was half comprised of Society members.
The race officer very ably set a short rectangular course not far off Cobnor Point (whose eponymous elegant white house was once occupied by Martin Beale, a past President). The shifting and fickle south easterly gradient wind battling against a potential sea breeze required frequent mark relocation.
Itchenor won the Race 1 start and seemed comfortable with 1, 2, 4 at the first mark, but the run down against the tide gave the Society opportunities to wriggle back into contention and to win with a 2, 3, 5. The second, third and fourth races were, however, emphatic wins for the home team being mercifully shortened to avoid further processional embarrassment for the Society. It had been a very tricky morning with a most difficult wind, fading to nothing from time to time and then picking up in patches. Moreover we had had to contend with all the Mirrors, Scows, other Swallows and Cruisers choosing to occupy the same patch of water.
Back to the Club for lunch and Itchenor were feeling confident with their form for the day with a lead of three races to one.
By the afternoon nothing had improved out on the water: the wind was equally difficult and the flood stream had increased significantly. Race 5 had an individual recall signal but only one boat went back. The Society finished 1, 4, 6 on the water, led out nicely by Josh Flack, but an Itchenor boat had failed to return and its OCS gave that race to the O&CSS. So we were still in the game. Although the wind still refused to improve, Race 6 was perhaps the most enjoyable, with some team racing tactics now workable – notably between Henderson père et fils (père winning….). Despite a poor position after the first round the Society pulled through to win with a 1, 2, 5.
It was now three races all with a suggestion of a sea breeze creeping its way up harbour showing a tantalising but ever-distant flurry of blue on the placid surface of the harbour. However the day was passing and the course would need to be completely re-set. We agreed to avoid the delay and uncertain outcome and called it an honourable draw. Just as the ebb run was starting to gather pace the fleet returned for tea and cake and joint presentation of the Stewart Morris Trophy to the two Captains.
Itchenor is a such delightful place to sail and the Swallows are splendid boats for Team Racing and it would be good to see some new Society faces in the team. If you are potentially interested in participating in next year’s event please let Andrew Reid know.
O&CSS Team for Itchenor Swallow match 2018: Josh Flack, Vincent Geake, Will Henderson, Ian Macdonald-Smith; Roger Palmer, Mark Struckett.
Itchenor Team for Itchenor Swallow match 2018: Simon Slater* (capt), Malcolm Green*, Arthur Henderson*, Alastair Impey, Philip Pascal, Mike Wigmore. *also OCSS members