SAILING: Club regatta and Bart’s Bash

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Draycote Water Sailing Club

Pictures by Malcolm Lewin

Oppies away!   Pictures by Malcolm Lewin

Oppies away! Pictures by Malcolm Lewin

Sailors young and old took to the water as Draycote Water Sailing Club combined its Club Regatta with the second annual Bart’s Bash, an attempt at the Guinness World Record for the largest sailing race.

Some 80 club sailors in 67 boats joined at least 10,000 participants worldwide who were taking part in 500 clubs in 62 countries, sailing in yachts, dinghies and windsurfers.

The final tally will only emerge in a few weeks when results from around the world are in.

After times adjusted for handicap based on the type of boat, one of the club’s youngest sailors, Katie Byne, age 10, was declared the winner in an Optimist.

Katie did very well to hold off the experienced Solo fleet sailors who obviously found the light wind conditions to their liking, claiming seven of the next 10 positions.

New world record holder in the RS Tera Pro class, Harrison Pye, age 14, came a commendable 12th.

Prizes were given out to winners of individual fleets as well as a Novice and Junior prize, with a rule that no-one could win more than one prize, while spectators and participants enjoyed a US diner-themed lunch in the “wet bar” with gourmet burgers and foot-long hot dogs.

The afternoon was rounded off with youngsters battling their way round a Sailing Assault course. This included sailing Picos and picking up balls from moored Fun Boats and a Dart 16. Judging from the shouting and splashing, they were having a great time!

It continues to be a busy period for Draycote Water as two weeks earlier the club was host to a turnout of 167 youngsters in the Optimist Class Late Summer Championships.

They were competing for places in the regional and national squads in their boats, known universally as “Oppies”.

Bart’s Bash winner Katie was in the thick of it along with Millie Irish, daughter of Steve Irish who in addition to being a Draycote Water member is Podium Potential coach for the British Olympic Sailing Team in the 470 class.

Bart’s Bash is organised by the Andrew Simpson Foundation, set up to remember Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson. Gold and Silver Olympic Medallist who died in 2012 while training for the America’s Cup.

The Foundation’s aims are to help get young people into sailing and develop the next generation of sailing stars.

Draycote Water Sailing Club is situated in the Severn Trent Country Park between Rugby and Southam and is open with safety boat cover every day of the year except Christmas Day.

The club has about 800 active sailing members, ranging in age from seven to 75.

The club provides a range of training courses accredited by the RYA, sailing’s national governing body, to take participants from beginners up to racing in performance dinghies.

It is also a specialist centre for the windsurfing training. To book courses, contact (01788) 814418 or visit the club website which can be found at: http://www.draycotewater.co.uk/