Roedean crew get their best result yet at the 2017 Arrow Trophy Yachting Regatta! By Caroline Bowen (No.1, 1990 - 98)
On Friday 13th October 2017, a team of nine Old Roedeanians and three very welcomed “ringers” met at Port Solent to take our 40ft race yacht across the Solent after dark, to Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. It was a bold way to start the weekend of yacht racing against twenty three other private schools, in The Arrow Trophy competition. Pre-sailing nerves quickly gave way to School chatter, excitement at our team hats, and we avoided creating any new horror stories on our maiden night voyage, despite the date! This year was Roedean's third time of entering the Arrow Trophy, and in twenty four years we are the only girls' school to have entered more than once, and so we were well remembered! It was great to be met by friendly faces from the other Schools' crews who have been exceptionally supportive of us.
On Saturday, out on the water, we had a whirlwind practice session getting to grips with the spinnaker, the huge powerful sail only hoisted downwind. One of our crew members had never sailed before and four had never raced, but they were confidently coached by Leo and Fleur, and quickly picked it up. We knew the day was going to be tough but the light winds and our first full crew (we were racing with tweleve rather than ten as we had previously), meant for the first time we weren’t at a disadvantage to the other more established and experienced teams. The race start was nerve wracking with twenty four 40ft yachts jostling for position on the start line, this was no time to be timid. Our starts were respectable, and our first leg to the mark went well after our tactician Leo found us a great clear course. As Saturday’s racing progressed we found our rhythm, and moved towards the front of the fleet. I had forgotten how competitive the leading teams were and we quickly got ourselves into a tricky situation, narrowly avoiding a nasty incident, and clearly infringing a rule! A quick penalty turn followed, and later the jury boat thanked us for taking it without being “protested”, although they also gently reminded us we should have taken it earlier. We were grateful for this goodwill later when we were pushed out of a mark by Charterhouse. Much shouting ensued, a near crash and I quickly pulled out our red protest flag as I was confident that in spite of their cries, we were in the right. Moments later we heard the whistle from the jury boat and saw the red flag firmly pointed at us...but just as my heart sank, the jury boat charged past us towards our competitor, with the red flag thrust out in front like a Harry Potter-esq wand. More shouts from Charterhouse and another whistle from the jury boat and they took their penalty turn.
By the fourth race of the day we were all flagging a little, but the crew decided a round of tea would rectify this. It worked its magic and the crew's hard work was rewarded with us being in first place as we rounded the top mark. The rest of the race was an ongoing challenge, battling the lead boats who gave us no quarter in pursuit of line honours. We ultimately finished second leaving us elated for the festivities yet to follow that evening. After a speedy turn around in port, with waterproofs quickly swapped for cocktail dresses, we assembled ready for the Pangbourne Yacht Club pontoon drinks party. It was a lovely start to an evening, which included an on land "boat race" challenge with Abingdon and finished with our now almost legendary dark and stormys with the Wellington crew.
Sunday’s sailing was marginally more sedate but, despite racing hard, we couldn't quite match our performance from the previous day. When the final results came in for the weekend, we were thrilled to discover that this year marked the School’s best performance to date, coming fourth in the Charterhouse Bowl (out of twenty) and placing eigth overall out of twenty four. All this was achieved despite most of the crew having never met or sailed together, or in some cases sailed at all! It was a true testament to the Roedean spirit and a fantastic experience. Huge thanks to everyone who attended and sent us messages of support, and especially to OR's Fleur Dilton-Hill and Leonora Bowen, for coaching the crew, and our ever supportive “ringers” Samir, Colin and Adrian. The 2017 team consisted of Daisy and Colin on the bow, Rosie kite packing, Fleur running the pit, Annabel and Anna trimming the jib, Andrea on the main, Jackie, Adrian and Samir trimming the kite, Leo running tactics and myself helming. We hope to continue to climb the leader-board next year, and encourage more OR's to take up the opportunity to test their sea legs on the Solent! If anyone would like to know more, join the crew or would like to sponsor us then please get in touch with me, or Leo at firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 Crew Members: Jackie Wilson (No. 1, 1995-2002), Anna Daniels (No. 3, 2006-14), Rosy Greenaway (No. 1, 1995-2002), Fleur Dilton-Hill (No. 3, 1997-2000), Daisy Alden-Templeman (No. 2, 2007-14), Leonora Bowen (No. 4, 1994-2001), Annabel MacLeod (No. 3 2003-10), Andrea Allen (No. 3 and Keswick), Caroline Bowen (No.1, 1990-98)