Gertrude Cup Success for RTYC


The Royal Thames Yacht Club's Etchells Invitational Gertrude Cup was completed on Wednesday 3rd August after a nine-race program which saw incredibly close racing amongst the 14 teams competing, teams from 13 different yacht clubs around the world.

Like the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup the Gertrude Cup is an invitational event open to international teams who are each provided with a fully sorted and race prepared Etchells, each boat having matched sails to make the fleet as one-design and standard as possible. Now in its third year the Gertrude Cup is established as a key event in the Solent one-design scene.

The last day began in a building 9 to 10 knot SW breeze with the front runners in the fleet sharing the top five positions in the morning race. A win for Tom Carruthers (San Diego), second place for Chris Hampton (Melbourne) and third place for Jan Muysken (Abu Dhabi) meant that there was literally nothing in it overall, with a multiple teams tied or within a point of the lead at the top with one race to go.
TimGratton and his youth crew were hounded up the last beat of the last race but they were never headed and they took the last race and the Gertrude Cup. In another piece of symmetry the Royal Thames Yacht Club whose team won last year’s New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup now have another major international invitation trophy to sit in their trophy cabinet at the same time.
A great win by Tim Gratton and his young team of Emily Wiltshire, Jack Davies, Lilly Carlisle (average age 22 years) and a tribute to the RTYC Youth program and to David Franks and Ted Fort OBE who established the Etchells fleet youth programme in the first place and are both members of the Royal Thames and supporters of the Academy.
Winning Team's Report: (from RTYC Youth Academy)

A Royal Thames Academy team consisting of Emily Wiltshire, Lilly Carlisle, Jack Davies and Tim Gratton headed to Cowes this week for the always competitive Etchells Invitational Regatta for the Gertrude Cup. There was a good mix of backgrounds in the boat, although three of the team had only sailed an Etchells for one week previously. It was therefore with uncertain expectations that we went into the event, looking for a respectable result and as many learning experiences as possible.

Over the practice day, we worked hard at getting a good approach to the start line as well as some solid boat handling routines that we could build on throughout the week.

Given our inexperience in the boats, we were somewhat surprised to find ourselves leading the first race, having had a great start combined with some fast sailing and smart tactics up the first beat. We held onto the lead in this race and posted a 4th in the second, before some mistakes in the building tide saw us slip down the fleet for a 10th in the third.

Going into the second day in third overall, we were keen to keep putting in consistent results near the front of the fleet. The team worked really well together to achieve this, despite having to dig deep to recover from a bad start in one race. This saw us move up second overall, joint on points with the leaders.

Racing on the Tuesday was canceled due to the high winds, so all the teams proceeded to David Franks' house for an excellent lunch. This was followed by a superb gala dinner at the Royal Yacht Squadron, marching band and all!

Going into the last day, we knew that the racing would likely be curtailed early due to a building forecast and the tide changing to increase the sea state. However with the results at the top of the fleet so close, it was all still very much to play for. In the first race, the team fought back from an average start to finish in 4th place. This meant that we were still very much in with a chance going into the last race. A great start and first beat saw us leading the second race, before slipping into second on the final run. However with an upwind finish, our boat speed and tactics combined with some extra hard hiking saw us overtake within the final hundred metres and win what would be the final race of the event.

Upon arriving ashore, the results confirmed that we had won the Gertrude Cup by a narrow margin in a highly competitive and international field.

Full credit must go to the team for their superb efforts this week - everything clicked together really nicely in the boat which made for a thoroughly enjoyable week. Thanks also to the event organisers, in particular David Franks, the boat owners for their incredible generosity, and the Royal Thames, not only for putting on the event, but also to the Academy for giving us this incredible opportunity