British Keelboat League Youth Qualifier at the Royal Southern

"The quality of the racing was extraordinary, seven teams all achieved a first place..."

Jun 27, 2019

Event Report from Pat North, Sailing Chair

The Royal Southern Yachts Club were the hosts for 11 teams competing in the Youth Qualifier event for the British Keelboat League.
We are delighted that the Academy Team of Annabelle Vose, Amy Sparks, Tim Gratton, David Robertson were the overall winners and have qualified for the finals of this event to be held in September at Queen Mary Sailing Club. There was also a second Academy team led by Emily Dresser.
The conditions on Saturday were perfect for the quick fire format of the event; 6 identical RS21 and windward-leeward races of around 15 minutes. An excellent start was at a premium, along with smart crew work and good mark rounding. The on-the-water umpires were kept busy in the close quarter action. On Sunday the wind was lighter, and on occasions shifty, and this added another dimension to the race committee’s and crew’s decision making.
The Race Team, lead by Mike Foster, delivered 22 races over two days. The action on the start boat was no less fast and furious than the sailing. 22 starts, a few OCS plus a couple of APs kept Linda on flags and Tanya on timing, sounds and communication very busy. With 6 boats and 11 teams the fast crew changes were key to keeping the racing to schedule so thanks to Maggie who drove the rib. We were also privileged to have two club motor boats, Colin who provide the committee boat and Mel the nanny-boat where the non-sailing crews could relax and watch the racing.
Our thanks also go to RS boats who provided the RS21’s and delivered bosun support on the water, and also to the RYA for lending 2 ribs and providing an experienced umpire team for the event.

Event Report from Mike Foster, Race Officer

Last weekend saw the Royal Southern play host to the third qualifier event of the British Keelboat League 2019, the fourth year of BKL, which also acted as the Youth Qualifier. The British Keelboat League is a series of events created by the Royal Thames Yacht Club and the RYA in 2016, where sailors pit their capabilities against each other in short quick races in six equal boats. In 2019 RS Sailing joined the British Keelboat League along with their brand new fleet of RS21 keelboats, which are travelling the country facilitating events and showcasing their suitability for this event format.

With eleven teams competing and a crew changes after every race, twenty-two races required to be sailed over the two days, with each team completing 12 races in total. The coordination and organisation required to keep the show on the road with seamless boat transfers requires good planning and preparation and indeed a lot of concentration by the race team.
The races are umpired to avoid protest meetings and the penalties by the umpires have drastic results. The perpetrators will have learnt a lot about the application of the rules!
The race track was in the vicinity of William staying on the Hillhead plateau in order to keep an equal tidal flow and not to disadvantage teams on either side of the course. The wind was exactly as the forecast and, after a short delay allowing the competitors to arrive, the racing commenced in a 10-12 knot south easterly breeze which maintained direction with only a few mark changes throughout the day.
The quality of the racing was extraordinary, seven teams all achieved a first place on the short windward - leeward course comprising of two beats and runs. One of the teams had previously only sailed dinghies thus the RYA objective to get promising young people into keelboats is working, indeed it was also good to see many female competitors, taking on the men and beating them! The photo in the header shows three of the competitors at the first leeward mark one of many close tussles throughout the day. The good conditions allowed 14 races to be bagged thus allow a delay to commencing the final 8 races on Sunday.
With the home team helmed by Annabel Vose having a slight overnight lead there was still everything to play for. The wind was not so steady as the day before and a one point even no wind! However, as soon as this returned the remaining 4 races were completed bringing in a complete series.
The winner was not decided till race 22 all very close! The top two teams were the Royal Southern entry, helmed by Annabel Vose, in first place, followed by Bristol University helmed by Joe Burns. Both now progress to the finals which will be run by the Royal Thames at Queen Mary Sailing Club later in the year.
The success of the weekend was significantly enhanced by the support from members who provided their yachts, Bootlegger as the accommodation platform and Ondine as the committee vessel. This is very much appreciated along with all the Race management team who gave freely of their time and expertise.
Mike Foster
Principal Race Officer

British Keelboat League's event report:

See final results below:


Racing Academy Youth