The Book Trophy is back in Sutton for the first time in 16 years. PRO Scorie Walls managed to get one race in before gusts of 28-32 knots forced the 2nd race and subsequent racing to be abandoned. That one race, hard fought right to the last, resulted in a narrow 10-11 victory for Sutton Dinghy Club over our Royal Cork YC visitors.
The day started with changes to both side original starting line-ups. Illness forced SDC’s Dan Gill to cry off and replaced by GP14 newcomer Sinead Dickson. No pressure there!
A tactical change saw Tom McGrath replace Dom Long on the RCYC team. Strong wind and a week long Nat 18 regatta in Abesoch meant Book Trophy was a race too far for the RCYC Book Trophy veteran.
This was a strong Cork team with former Nat 18 Champions Tom Dwyer as Captain and father of Sutton Dinghy Clubs Katie Dwyer to boot. The team also included Tom Crosbie and his son Patrick, currently ISA Performance 29’er squad member.
With wind hovering around 20 knots, a short postponement was in place as wind settled. On the water, the PRO set a 2 lap triangle course with Umpires Dave Cotter and Eunice Kennedy tracking both teams around the course.
There was no quarter given as a very competitive start saw all 6 boats clear across the line. Loose toe straps almost saw RCYC Tom Dwyer crewless less than 20 metres up the first beat as Barry O’Meara nearly took an early bath. Tom’s strong arm managed to keep his crew attached to the boat but their boat now trailed to the top mark. It was a close thing between Alan Blay (SDC) and young Patrick Crosbie (RCYC) to the weather mark, with Katie Dywer/Wendy Rudd (SDC) close behind. However down the reach, it became obvious that all was not well as in gusting breeze, Katie struggled to keep control of the boat. A loose rudder meant a good 3rd at the gybe mark was lost as Katie & Wendy did well to avoid capsize in the approach to the mark.
Around the 2 laps, Alan Blay (SDC), Tom Crosbie (RCYC) and Hugh Gill (SDC) engaged constantly as both teams sought the critical advantage to create a winning position. The Umpires had plenty of engagement while encouraging the boats to maintain a reasonable distance. At the gybe mark 2nd time round Tom Dwyer was back in close order with Tom Crosbie (RCYC) and Hugh Gill (SDC). It seemed keeping Patrick Crosbie/Stephane Peretti out in front and forcing Alan Blay/David Johnston to maintain contact rather than engaging with 3rd and 4th boats was the RCYC strategy.
Coming to the last leeward mark, that RCYC strategy looked like it was paying off with a winning 1,3,5 situation with Gill looking trapped. However with 10 metres to the mark, Gill used his experience to escape the trap and move to 3rd from 4th. Still a winning position for RCYC, but it allowed Blay/Johnston (SDC) the opportunity to chase down young Crosbie/Peretti. Speed and good boat handling allowed Blay/Johnston the opportunity to close on RCYC pair at the leeward mark and gain a slight positional advantage. It was still all to do.
Up the final beat to the finish, it was now down to Sutton’s Gill/Dickson to hold their advantage on RCYC’s Tom Crosbie/McGrath and somehow Blay/Johnston work to get a nose in front of Crosbie/Peretti. In a classic finale, the 2 boats covered each other tack for tack with Blay/Johnston just taking the gun with less than a quarter boat length to spare. A 3rd from Gill/Dickson (SDC) meant the tables had been turned since the approach to leeward mark with a 10-11 score now in favor of Sutton Dinghy Club.
The second race got quickly underway with all 6 boats close at the top mark first time round. However a huge gust of 28-32 knots saw 5 of the 6 boats in trouble, with 4 crews in the water. With further wind gusts ominous and Umpire and mark boats all engaged in boat recovery, the PRO and race management team deliberated before abandoning the race. By the time the boats were righted, the frequency of gusts had not diminished and PRO sent the fleet ashore with a view to waiting for a drop in wind conditions.
The PRO and race management team on a bumpy and rolling Saoirse stayed course side, but after 30 mins, abandoned racing for the day. An unfortunate end to what had been a great spectacle on and off the water. However, that single race win meant the Book Trophy was coming back to Sutton after a long 16 year wait. This is a great boost for racing in Sutton Dinghy Club, especially with the team containing quite a few youngsters, who will look forward to defending the trophy in Crosshaven now in 2015.
There was a great turnout on the day from past members and past Book sailors who came to see both the racing from the Club deck as well as pore over the unique ‘Book Trophy. Over 70 people including a very sizable Royal Cork following were on hand to see an emotional Prize-giving followed by an evening of food, wine and chat.
The teams on the day were:
Sutton Dinghy Club – Hugh Gill, Sinead Dickson, Alan Blay/David Johnston, Katie Dwyer/Wendy Rudd.
Royal Cork YC – Tom Dwyer, Barry O’Meara, Tom Crosbie/Tom McGrath, Patrick Crosbie/Stephane Perretti.
Race Management Team – PRO Scorie Walls (SDC), ARO Dom Long (RCYC), ARO Jim Lambkin (SDC), ARO Harry Gallagher (SDC), Robert Hogg, Joe Phelan, Terry Harvey, Eimear Shanahan (Scores)
Umpires – Dave Cotter (HYC), Eunice Kennedy (R St. G YC & RAYC)
Marks and Rescue – Charles Sargent, Callum Maher, Nicole Guinee, Graham Blay.
Thanks to RCYC sailors and supporters for travelling and all who helped on the day.
[whohit]-Book Trophy Race Report-[/whohit]