Cumberland Regatta Report 2015


Over 60 members and guests assembled on the Squadron platform on Friday night for champagne and canap├ęs in preparation for the start of the Cumberland Regatta. The Squadron Haven was full of RTYC yachts, which varied from 27 to 60 feet in length, not only wearing their ensigns but also their Cumberland pennants.

Saturday dawned, sunny with a light breeze, so the CSO set a reduced course around the Solent for starting at 1100 and competing for the Royal Thames Victoria Cup. All of the 10 yachts finished in under two hours, the yachts then anchored in Osborne bay for lunch on board. John Westlake and his family aboard Polar Bear III won the race on elapsed and adjusted time with Bob Gatehouse’s 32 foot classic Erida close behind.

As soon as lunch was over members were offered a sail in one of the new J/70s, which had been towed out in pairs to Osborne bay. Crews were rotated around the boat with tuition by the RTYC Cowes based bosun and the idea was considered a successful way for those members who might not otherwise have considered sailing a J/70 to find out what a versatile boat they are.

In the afternoon racing commenced again for the RTYC Offshore Challenge Cup with a start near Osborne bay around the Central Solent finishing off Cowes. This was an exciting reaching start and the fleet were led away by Roderick Walker’s trimaran, Tinkerbell, which held the lead to the finish and won the Challenge Cup both on elapsed and adjusted time with Erida again capturing second place.

The fleet then retired to the Squadron Haven for well earned pre dinner drinks followed by the annual Cumberland Fleet dinner in the RYS Pavilion, overlooking the Solent on a glorious summer’s evening.

On Sunday the prestigious 1776 Cumberland Cup is raced for as a pursuit race. Each of the 10 yachts was given a different start time based on their elapsed times on the previous day. Despite there being a gap of 50 minutes between the first and last starters, it was the strong adverse tide on the start line that determined the winners and losers. 6 yachts finished within 7 minutes after one and half hours racing. Geoffrey Taunton-Collins’ Spirit of Esk was the clear leader, but one tacking error in the last 50 metres allowed both Tony and Marilyn Crawford’s Touche IV and Peter and Midge Bainbridge’s Whisper through. Bob Gatehouse’s Erida finished one second ahead of John Westlake’s fast approaching Polar Bear III to clinch 4th place.

Touche IV therefore won the 1776 Cumberland Cup by just over a minute from Whisper.

The fleet then dispersed for home ports able to relax after the intensity of racing that a pursuit race engenders.