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  CHSC/YSC Challenge Cup, 2013

Blazing sunshine and a strong south westerly breeze provided ideal conditions for this year’s YSC/CHSC challenge.  It proved suitably fitting as this year’s race was particularly special for two reasons; it was in part a centenary celebration for rcc ‘Bessie Bell’ and the inaugural appearance of ‘Grayling’ Kevin and Sabina Priest’s brand new river cruiser.  In an act of generosity the Ebbage family had also donated a new trophy, a beautiful half model of ‘Bessie’ and some Woodfordes. 

The respective teams were:


‘Marigold’ ‘Golden Moon’ ‘May’ ‘The Only Girl’ 


‘Bessie Bell’ ‘Grayling’ ‘Anna’ ‘Brigand’

So.  At almost exactly twenty past ten, we all set off on a course downriver to Langley ribbons and return to Coldham hall.  Handicap-wise the fleet had been divided into two distinct groups, segregated as one would expect by the boat with the handicap in the middle! (Bessie Bell)

Favorable downwind conditions aided all competitors as we reached through Train Reach.  As expected, within a mile of the start the fleet had divided itself quite distinctly leaving use slower craft watch longingly as the leaders came to the clear airs beyond fleet dyke.  

Some complications arose regarding the turning point for the course, as not only had the ribbons disappeared, so had the stile next to them!  Unfortunately this meant ‘Marigold’ did sail an extra 600yards to Langley Woods to the remaining stile. 

The return leg was a mixture of closed haul and tacking, neither of which particularly suited any of the boats, although ‘Golden Moon’, ‘Marigold’ and ‘TOG’ were still at this point no more than 100 yards apart!  There was a great deal of skirmishes (all friendly) as we made the return tack to Beauchamp Arms.  Of note at this point, after both ‘GM’ and ‘TOG’ had spent 10 minutes attempting to get through the narrows, Roy and Katie on ‘Marigold’ caught a lucky gust and sailed straight through!

Local knowledge was used to advantage for the return passage of Train Reach, with fluky powerful gusts making for interested and trying conditions in the last ½ mile of the course. 

We finished,  roughly two hours since we’d left CHSC, and in a very civilised fashion both clubs decided to sample the hospitality of Coldham Hall before the prize giving. 

The prize giving itself was delivered by Colin Brown, rear commodore of CHSC.  Which proved interesting, as he’d given such a fine performance on the course he took home the trophy and the beer! 

All in all, it had proved a thoroughly enjoyably day with decent sailing.  A fine way to celebrate both ‘Grayling’ and ‘Bessie Bell’.


last edited on:  30/06/2013 at 21:52   by: The Editor