Queen Mary at the National Schools Sailing Association Regatta 


QM entered a team of 10 in this years NSSA regatta which took place at Datchet Sailing Club. We had 8 toppers, a laser 4.7 and a laser radial.  For the majority of the fleet, their previous experience of start lines had been limited to about 20 boats so getting lined up alongside 80 of the best sailors in the country was always going to be an experience.  The week was forecasted to be sunny with the odd shower and predominantly light winds.



The Mondays first race was scheduled for 10.25 and with bright skies, temperatures in the high twenties and a force three blowing, it was the best days racing for the week. All our fleets got three races in during the day. In the Topper fleet, following two general recalls and the introduction of the black flag, Angus Couper set the standard with a second in the first race, closely followed by Felix Crowther in seventh.  During the course of the day, James Bryant relished the stronger winds which were absent for the rest of the week to score a 21st in the second race. Lucy Gates had a consistent day with two finishes in the top 25. James Cole sailed the third race well and scored a top 50 position despite the strengthening winds.

After a controversial protest, the race committee “imposed” a 20% penalty on William Fitz-Gibbon despite an invalid protest which dropped his finish down to 35 but with the remainder of Will's races scoring top 25 for the rest of the week, Queen Mary was getting a good showing in the topper fleet.

Ellie Tapper and Frederick Scheske in the lasers were getting into the larger fleet starts nicely and scored well in their first few races. Fred's top place for the day was 8th and Ellie scored a very respectable 41st



On the second day, the fleet was held ashore due to light winds and only managed to get out on the race course gone 2pm so only one race was sailed.  The wind was light and shifty and all the fleets managed just the one race. In the Toppers, Liam Horgan got a fantastic start and sailed well to post a 22nd place, the best of his regatta.



Wednesday saw a change in the race format with the prestigious Mount Hayes Trophy, an all comers race and a single handers race. QM entered two teams in the Mount Hayes, Liam Horgan / James Bryant and Lucy Gates / Ellie Tapper.  We knew we were up against the best sailors in the competition so entertainment was the name of the game. Sailing Xenons, which none of the sailors had even been in before, classed as more intermediate adult training dinghies than youth ones, there was a huge challenge and with neither of the crews opting for the safe option of leaving the spinnaker down, they were guaranteed a fairly fast ride (and a swim!)  Both teams sailed well and did QM proud but unfortunately didn’t make it into the finals. Next year maybe!

The rest of the team had a chance to get involved in the Single hander race and the all comers pursuit race and then an early finish to allow everyone to recover.



Thursday saw the fleet sent out in a nice force 2 with all boats starting the first race fairly on time. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and with heavy rain, thunder and lightning, a mad dash to the shore was a good idea. Early lunch and then back out on the water to surprisingly warm temperatures, clear skies and light winds.

All the fleets got two races in during the afternoon. Ellie Tapper sailed a fantastic race to get her best score of the regatta, coming in 25th out of 53 laser radial rigs. Fred got another good race and came 8th out of the fleet of 34 in the sow handicap.

In the toppers, Felix Crowther was making his move for the top spot and racked up a 4th and a 1st thorough the course of the day leaving him lying in top 5 position going into the final day. The rest of the topper fleet had some good racing, Angus coming an amazingly consistent 13th place in the last three races. Lucy gates sailed a great 5th race and came 12th in the fleet. Will scored his best place for the regatta, with a 19th in the 6th race before having to miss the last day.

Possibly the best result of the week came from Michael Smith who despite having a few finishes towards the lower half of the pack, sailed a brilliant race to score an incredible 9th position, boosting him well up the field in the overall results.



With expectations high, Friday turned out to be a bit of an anti climax. Light and shifty winds prevented the slow handicap fleet from getting any racing in with the toppers and lasers getting just the one race in.

Felix once again stood out in the toppers with a first in the mornings race. Lying second overall, Felix needed one more race to get the top spot but it wasn’t to be.

Another result came from the Slow handicap fleet with Fred scoring well in the last race, coming a very impressive 5th to move him well up the overall leaders board.

This was the first big competition for many of the sailors and the first one for a while that Queen Mary had entered. The whole team did brilliantly well and there were a number of comments from other team managers that the team was always happy and always willing to help out with launching and recovery. They all did QM proud and are asking about next years event at Grafham. The date is the final week of July so put it in your diaries now. We will be camping so a few parents will need to stay on site.

Overall Results

Laser 4.7              Frederick Sckeske            13th

Laser Radial          Ellie Tapper                      46th

Topper                 Felix Crowther                   2nd

Topper                 Angus Couper                   12th

Topper                 Lucy Gates                        26th

Topper                 William Fitz Gibbon             30th

Topper                  Michael Smith                   44th



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