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Inter-club J80 Challenge at Royal Southern Yacht Club
by Peta Stuart-Hunt
31 May 2012
Local Solent knowledge and youthful enthusiasm proved decisive as the Royal Southern Yacht Club's Academy crew dominated the inter-club J80 Challenge against the Deauville Yacht Club.
Both clubs put up a senior and junior crew for Thursday's event, held as part of the Royal Southern's 175 Regatta, sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, and run on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Cowes-Deauville Race.
The crews were promised ‘short, sharp races with plenty of turns,' and in choppy conditions with the breeze building to 19 knots with gusts in the low 20s, all the crews found the courses suitably testing.
The Academy crew of Charlie Goodman-Simpson, Bruno Van Dyke, Rob Gullan and James Garlick, with Mike Jones as onboard mentor, showed the fleet a clean pair of heels, winning each of the three races.
They were followed across the finish line on each occasion by their more mature club-mates in the Southern's senior team. The Deauville youth boat also proved to have the upper hand in the contest against their senior team, taking third in two of the races.
‘It was very lumpy and it was very gusty – the name of the game was to keep it upright,' said Mike Jones. ‘We had a few minor incidents but we came through it.
‘I think the tide put the French at a disadvantage and it will be great to sail against them in Deauville when they will be on their home turf and I'm sure will get their own back.'
And he added: ‘It was great to sail with the Academy team, and to have four of them sailing on the boat together for the first time; they did really well.'
Deauville Yacht Club senior team racer Michel Barbey said: ‘It was a great day, but the tide was difficult and the symmetrical spinnaker was also different to what we are used to. We will be looking for revenge in Deauville!'
Racing was followed by prizegiving in the upper bar, and later by a lavish club dinner ahead of Friday's Cowes-Deauville Race. At the dinner Royal Southern Commodore Mark Inkster welcomed the many guests from Deauville, which included yacht club President Lauren Chauvin and the Mayor of Deauville Philippe Augier.
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