The Roedean team gets ready to set sail! Carolne Bowen (No.1, 1990 - 98) describes the teams weekend taking part in the competition.
The Arrow Trophy is an annual yachting event for Old Boys Schools’, or in our case girls! It is sailed over a weekend in October in identical Sunsail F40 yachts, and racing runs from Cowes on the Isle of Wight. In order to enter we need a minimum of 6 Roedean Girls, a crew between 9 and 12, with a maximum of 3 “Ringers” – non Roedean crew members. This is the 4th time we’ve entered a team, and hopes were high after an excellent performance in 2017. Once again, we were the only girls’ school to enter, and our main objectives were to have a fun weekend, with no injuries and not to come last place! The weekend started with a “Dark and Stormy” cocktail evening held at the London Corinthians Sailing Club, when everyone had assembled in Cowes on the Friday evening. This was an apt way to celebrate the safe passage of the boats across from Port Solent in the dark and stormy conditions. Racing the following day was delayed due to Storm Callum’s imminent, uninvited and most untimely arrival, but it did allow a gentle start to the day with plenty of rest for slightly sore heads. When we finally set sail, the race committee had decided the fleet should race without spinnakers, and with 2 reefs (reducing the sail area), to minimise “misadventures” in the 27 boat fleet. With three races planned for the day, we were keen to make a good start, and that was exactly what we managed with some excellent manoeuvring from Caroline on the helm. This perfect start, combined with an excellent first beat, and a solid performance for the rest of the race, meant we were very happy with 9th place to begin the weekend’s racing with. Unfortunately that proved to be a high point of the weekend… Our second race start was less promising, but whilst we remained in a respectable midfleet position, everything was still to play for. We had gained a few places due to excellent tactics from Leo, and Anna’s herculean efforts winding winches, but a rigging mishap rounding our final mark, meant we were unable to tack for the finish line, and could only watch with despair as boats slipped past us. Thanks to the quick work of the bow team, Daisy and Adrian, and seamless tacking from Jackie and Kealey and smooth gybes from Samir and Mary – we managed to salvage a couple of places, ultimately finishing in 21st, a position we still felt was salvageable. Saturday evening’s social events meant there was barely a moment to reflect on our day’s racing, as we spruced ourselves up, donned our glad rags, and headed for a cocktails at the Royal Yacht Squadron, at the kind invitation of the Pangbourne team, with whom we have developed something of a standing arrangement. Highlights included a cider based “boat race” with Stowe (we, of course, won), and becoming reacquainted with old friends. Sunday began early, with all of us keen to improve on the day before. The weather was atrocious, with unabatingly heavy rain, but luckily the wind was suitable for sailing. So we headed out again, wearing our very fetching matching maroon beanies, and prepared for the first start of the day. At 2 minutes to go, we tacked on to starboard (the right of way boat, with the wind coming over our right hand side), to make our final approach to the start line. And at 1 minute to go, after frantic yelling, and evasive manoeuvres on our part, our racing ended abruptly with a nasty crunch. We had been hit squarely on the side by a Malborough team, who were in the wrong according to the racing “rules of the road”. After a quick assessment it was clear that we could not continue, as we not only had damage to the gunnel but a large crack along the deck panels. In a seamanlike manner, we lowered our sails, sadly retired from the race and began to motor in. It was a disappointing end to the weekend, but our final position of 22nd out of 27, and with smiles all round, meant we had succeeded in the weekend’s objectives. We are by now becoming a well-established team, warmly received at the event, and can build on our experience year on year. As always we were very excited to welcome 3 newcomers on board, Mary Goddard (Scott, No.3, 1984 – 89), and Kealey Harding (Belcher, No.1, 1984 – 87) who joined us from the far reaches of Jersey, both OR’s, and Karim who kindly stepped in at the last minute as a valuable and experienced Ringer. We would also like to thank the ORA for their generous donation supporting our entry of this event, and the School for supplying the hats.
If you are interested in participating next year, please contact us on: Roedean.email@example.com. We are also looking for supporters of women in sailing who might help us access a yacht for training and/or additional events.
The 2018 team: Caroline Bowen (No.1, 1991-98) Leonora Bowen (No.4, 1994-2001) Daisy Alden-Templeman (No.2, 2007-14) Fleur Dilton-Hill (No.3, 1997-2000) Annabelle Daniels (No.3 2006-14) Jackie Wilson (No.1, 1995-2002) Kealey Harding (Belcher, No.1, 1984-87) Mary Goddard (Scott, No.3, 1984-89) Samir Dhanani Adrian Roberts Karim El Shawbrawy
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