Last year Cranleigh entered its first sailing event for a generation and this year we are continuing the process of building a team comprising pupils from our younger year groups. Efforts to conduct team training at the start of term were frustrated by weather, either too much wind or none at all. The School’s entry for the Hoad Shield, held at Bough Beech reservoir in Kent on 30th April, was therefore speculative because we had not had the opportunity to either train for match racing or sail the class of boats provided. The Hoad Shield is one of the most prestigious inter school team racing events and we entered one team into each of the under 19 class, sailed in Firefly dinghies, and under 17 class sailed in RS Feva dinghies. All our competitors were under 16!
Match racing involves two teams per race sailing a short course head-to-head. It needs a very good understanding of the rules and tactical acumen in tight situations, rather than straight line speed. As so often in sport, practice is vital, and we had none. During a long day of gusting and changeable winds, 165 races were held and both our teams should each have sailed ten races, although the under 17s missed one during the hectic schedule.
The Cranleigh teams performed really well in their first event. The under 19s won four of their ten races and were placed tenth. The highlights amongst some close racing were a clean sweep (1,2,3) against Eton and victory against the hosts, Sevenoaks. No-one amongst the under 17 team had match raced before and the first few races showed the team’s inexperience. However, a few words of advice from Archie Grant’s father and the team improved, winning their last three races, including a victory against Sevenoaks A, to be placed twelfth overall.
The members of the two teams were:
- Under 19 (Fireflys): Piers Nicholls & Tom Hartley; Archie Grant & Max Hartley; Charles Handley & Louis Burden.
- Under 17 (RS Fevas): Daisy Roberts & Harry Hall; Ella Morgan & Kate Harris.
- Reserves: Jazz Davis and Charles Enoizi.
The teams should be proud of their successes against schools with long histories of sailing and whose teams sail as their main sport all year round. Once again very many thanks must go to all the parents for their considerable support and encouragement and, finally, a very big thank you for all the behind the scenes assistance from Mrs Ellin and Mr Witcombe.