Royal Solent team wins Seaview Prince Philip Cup 26/9/06

The 50th anniversary of the Prince Philip Cup was held at Seaview Yacht Club last weekend. The Cup, over its 50-year history, has attracted some of the islands finest sailors such as Uffa Fox whose name is engraved several times on the trophy.

This year marked the 50th anniversary and was no exception in drawing a multitude of talent, including an ex America’s cup helmsman, an Olympic silver medallist, several ex national champions and one ex-world champion from various classes. The stakes were high and small errors became costly in this fiercely contested regatta.

The annual invitation event from predominantly Isle of Wight yacht clubs enter their best three helmsmen to race together in a six race series in identical Seaview Mermaids.

Each team member is required to helm twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. In order to keep a level playing field the leading teams after lunch swap boats with the slowest team, so that poor boat speed could not be blamed for the final results.

The morning’s racing took place in a perfect Seaview easterly from 12 to 20 knots, which made for some great downwind legs on a simple windward/leeward course. As the soggy teams calmed their nerves over lunch, Seaview were leading followed two points behind by Andy Green, Ben Vines and Mark Covell from Imperial Poona. Tying for 2nd place with Poona was Royal Solent Yacht Club, with Adam Gosling’s Royal Thames lads 4th.

Having swapped boats with the slower teams competitors were greeted by a turning tide, a 20-knot breeze and now fairly lumpy conditions for the final three races. With a change in tide direction, certain teams were now finding that they were a little premature at the start, those who did not return paid the hefty price of a disqualification. Reigning champions Imperial Poona made this mistake in race five unbeknown to their adversaries. Royal Thames had a great afternoon hauling in a 1,1,4 after benefiting from starting infringements made by other teams.

From the sleepy hollows of Yarmouth and racing for Royal Solent Yacht Club local X-One Design sailors Chris Trainor, James Meaning and Tom D’arcy believed that going into the final race they were now lying in second place overall, unaware that Imperial Poona had been disqualified from race five.

An immaculate start under pressure by Tom Darcy had Royal Solent in first place for most of the final race, before a broken spinnaker pole allowed Andy Green (Imperial Poona) to gain the lead on the final downwind leg, Royal Solent finishing 2nd, followed by Royal Yacht squadron in 3rd. Confusion now reigned as to had won due to premature starters, but a dsq for Imperial Poona gave Royal Solent an impressive 1,2,5,2,2,2 series to win the 50th anniversary of the Prince Philip Cup for the first time in 24 years.

Overall Results

1st Royal Solent Yacht Club 9 points
2nd Imperial Poona Yacht Club 12 points
3rd Royal Thames Yacht Club 14 points
4th Seaview Yacht Club 15 points
5th Royal Yacht Squadron 17 points