Southerly Regatta 2009

Southerly Regatta 2009

24th May, 2009

Twenty six Southerly’s ranging in size from 32 to 46 feet arrived in St Peter Port, Guernsey during the weekend of the 23rd May. Some of the Southerly’s taking part were ‘fresh out of the factory’ and Owners enjoyed wonderful weather on their voyage across to the Channel Islands.

We met our Owners during the afternoon of the 24th for registration and the race briefing. That evening, the Southerly Regatta started with the customary Vin d`Honneur and were welcomed with a short speech by Mike Garrett, Deputy Minister for Culture and Leisure from the States of Guernsey.

The Guernsey Yacht Club provided a sumptuous barbecue and the weather for the occasion was very warm and sunny. The barbecue was held on the veranda of the yacht club, with spectacular views of St Peter Port with Castle Cornet. It was a very pleasant evening where old friendships were renewed, and new owners were welcomed into the Southerly family. Owners were keenly discussing tactics and looking forward to the next few days of racing.

The first days racing ' Lombard and Selden Inshore' started with not a great deal of wind. This was clearly a race that would be won based on spotting the wind shifts and using the tide to the best advantage. As the fleet crossed the line, most ventured out into the main channel opting to follow the prospect of more breeze further offshore. Two Southerly 42RST's however opted to stay close to shore in an attempt to stay out of what little tide was remaining against them, as they beat down towards the South of Guernsey.

As it happened, the fleet converged against the first mark as they quickly furled their headsails and reached off towards Herm and Jethou with their cruising shutes and gennakers flying.

The race restarted as the fleet reached the next mark as the wind had died away and left the boats at the mercy of the tides. The return leg provided the most excitement for the day’s racing as the sea breeze filled in to take the fleet back towards Castlet Cornet for the finish. There was then a close run finish between the first two 42RST’s crossing the line within seconds of each other.

The following day, the ‘Lewmar Round Sark Race’ was fantastic ! and the complete opposite weather conditions compared to the day before.

The race began in gusts of over 30 kts, which continued all the way around the 26 mile course. This race saw a fleet of 20 Southerlys set off over the start line in what can only be described as perfect sailing conditions for these boats. Sunshine and strong breezes, combined with spectacular scenery round Sark meant there were plenty of stories to be shared in the bar later that day.

The Southerly fleet took roughly three and a half hours to round Sark, reported by the race committee to be on one the faster times for this poular course.

On Tuesday evening we chartered the Trident ferry for the 30 minute journey to Herm. This followed the Round Sark Race which had taken place earlier in the day. Everyone who had raced was eagerly discussing the day with those who hadn’t taken part. The race was held in blustery weather conditions which at times saw 35knts of wind across the decks, with 2 metre swells greeting the fleet between Sark and Herm - a spectacular sight of these Southerly’s racing home.

Once on Herm the Mermaid Tavern was the venue for the evening and we were welcomed with Sea Breeze cocktails followed by a Hog Roast. It was not long before everyone was tucking in, following the days excitement. The food was fantastic and the venue was superb, however, there were many tired faces on the ferry ride back to Guernsey.

The 'Raymarine Round Herm Race' the following day was one that took its toll on the crews. With rain squalls and still very strong winds, the boats participating set off into the distance, disappearing in no time into the rainy mist. Local sailor Adrian Heyworth and his crew on board his new Southerly 42RST were the first to appear round from the bar of the island, closely followed by Derrick Gill onboard his new Southerly 38.

The week’s racing proved a superb opportunity to sail in class against equally matched boats and also for our Owners to take up their competitive spirits.

After a fun filled afternoon of dinghy racing on Thursday, the final dinner and prize giving was held at the Guernsey Yacht Club. Following the formalities, a superb three-course dinner was served in the lower restaurant. Photographs of the week's activities were playied in the background which was greeted with cheers when Owners were viewed, especially those taken at the optimist sailing event held on the boating pool.

Les Webb of the Southerly Owners Association gave a short speech, thanking the Southerly team on behalf of the Owners.

The final dinner & prize giving was held at Guernsey Yacht Club. With such splendid weather, the champagne reception took place on the veranda, so that everyone could enjoy the evening sunshine. John Warne, Managing Director of Northshore gave a short speech thanking everyone for attending and also thanking the sponsors for their generous support during the Regatta. Robert Hughes then took over and awarded the many superb prizes.