SWAC Hampshire Schools Summer Sailing Regatta

Kate Grosscurth writes: As the final end of term events were drawing to a close a group of 18 dedicated St Swithun's Sailors were donning their sailing kit in preparation for the annual SWAC Hampshire Schools Summer Regatta. SWAC was teeming with children from schools across Hampshire, including our main rivals Prince's Mead and The Pilgrims.

After the race briefing the competitors were divided into two fleets, the 'Main Fleet' for those improvers with some racing experience and the 'Regatta Fleet' for those fairly new to sailing. The main fleet then began the tow out into Southampton Water were their races were to be held, while the regatta fleet sailed out into the Itchen, directly in front of SWAC. 

The race committee were getting increasingly concerned about the strengthening wind. This was somewhat reminiscent of the autumn regatta when the wind strength brought a premature end to racing and we all hoped that the gusts would die down and we would complete three races planned for the afternoon. Unfortunately this didn't happen. As we set about letting the 'main fleet' children off the tow the wind was just too strong and there was capsize after capsize. There was a spectacular 'pitch pole' capsize from Phoebe and Annabel. This where the boat goes over bow(front) of the boat first, rather than sideways! The SWAC safety boats had their work cut out rescuing children and boats and the very tough decision to abandon racing had to be made again. 

The regatta fleet were having more slightly more success up river and had managed to complete two races. However they also started capsizing so plans were being put into motion to run some inter-school relay races from SWAC's slip-way across the river and back again. This was a popular decision. 

Despite the lack of actual racing all the girls had a wonderful afternoon and were disappointed when we had to finish for the prize giving. Although we didn't win either of the main trophies; the 'Regatta Fleet' prize went to Pilgrims and the 'Main Fleet' prize went to Prince's Mead, we did seem to sweep the board with the individual prizes.

Congratulations to Agnes and Anna for winning the 'Highest Placed Girls' trophy, to Lula for winning the 'Wind Warrior' trophy as well as a sailing bag for 'Most Improved Sailor of the Year.' and to Annabel and Phoebe on winning hats for ' managing the almost impossible and pitch poling a Quba.'



The girls have made enormous progress on the water over the course of our first year of StSwithun's Sailing, it has been a pleasure to take them every Saturday. It has been lovely to see them become more resilient and to deal with tough situations with huge smiles no their faces, they are often both the youngest and smallest girls on the water, but always the keenest. Their never ending enthusiasm, no matter the weather, is astounding. As is the enthusiasm and professionalism to the SWAC team, who have been instrumental in making St. Swithun's Sailing the success it has become this year.