Susannah May Memorial Cup


A gentle breeze on Sunday encouraged near 50 sailors out to what has become since the mid 70’s a popular if slightly bonkers friendly on Helford’s dinghy racing calendar. One of the founding families of HRSC – the May’s – with friends distant and of Cornwall relish their summers on and around the Helford. What better way to celebrate lives remembered and acquaintances renewed than a joust – sponsored by Fido May – between the cognisant and novice, native and holidaymaker, exuberant and venerable.

It was to Captain Dinghies Andy & Karen Biggs that the enviable duty of maestro & recorder fell. Orchestrating a discordant bunch aged 12 to 63 sailing anything from tiny Optimists to dreadnaught RS800’s, would require a degree of flexibility hitherto unavailable within the Rules of Racing.

For the first race, those that turned left at the Pin end and got in front, all appeared normal. Behind a cacophony of sound heralded the crunch of wood against fibreglass all to the chorus of “room, water, starboard, oh dear – we (the RS800) just boarded the Wayfarer” Had the RS800 owner known the owner of the Wayfarer is possessed of 3 full sized bronze cannon on his lawn with a clear view of the river, he might have thought a little more carefully about this manoeuvre.

Elsewhere Nell Ruscombe- King’s crew had wrapped himself around the yellow coarse mark whilst still attached to the Feva – and for this and other daft displays was awarded best comedic capsize. Nell’s son Harvey with a good dose of his mothers capsize gene was awarded most capsizes with five of the very best.

A fleet of Wayfarers swallowed up the wind for those left behind – but not before Imperials & South Ken’s finest: Rob McPherson sailed a blinder for a 2nd over the visitors Lucy Gordon and son Ned’s 3rd. Phil Samuel’s protracted nuptials with his Solo found him in raptures first on this short course.

In the second race with a little more breeze, the big sails could go a little faster pulling Roger McDonald and Beccy Kestin in the RS600 whilst avoiding the embraces of a Wayfarer and Albacore to 2nd Phil Samuel had to be content with a third – despite an encouraging nudge forward by a hugely apologetic Laser to his rear. Young Sam Philpott – 12 – stormed though on his Laser 4.7 to take first over arch rival youth sailor Ollie Chamberlain who’d otherwise sailed a snorter before taking an early bath in a gust before Central.

It was left to Commodore Julian Samuel to thank the all those supporting the fleet on the day, the Mays for their brand of Mayhem, and in absentia Fido May for having sponsored and encouraged this fun race for the last 40 years.

Results: 1st overall Phil Samuel,
Race 1st Phil Samuel, 2nd Rob McPherson, 3rd Lucy Gordon & son Ned
Race 2 1st Sam Philpott, 2nd R McDonald & B Kestin, 3rd Phil Samuel


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