What a week, a great few days’ racing at the 2015 Oyster Regatta Palma ending with everyone sailing away with something among the long list of trophies, prizes and good memories. The weather’s been fickle but the racing good, on every level, from first time to feisty, all sailing the same course with respect and safe regard to the mixed experience and abilities in the 29 boat fleet.
Saturday, the last day of racing, sadly did not deliver sufficient breeze to hoist a start pennant, unfortunate given that another race round the bay might have broken the ties at the top of each of the three classes. But sailors always have a way to unknot a tie, and at the final night’s prize giving at the Cap Rocat hotel, an awe inspiring shoreside, converted and contemporised, monumentally built historic fortress, the winners were awarded their booty using the Countback process that prioritises the sequence of scores. But first, roof terrace welcoming drinks and a stunning view of Palma Bay’s full panorama sailed in the week and now seen sunset-painted in true perspective. “We’ve had a great time running this regatta for you all,” says Oyster CEO and Race Officer David Tydeman, “and we’re pleased this year to have more first timers and family boats. I feel we’ve all recreated the real spirit, the original principal of this regatta which had started to become a little too focused on winning!” So, in Corinthian mood, straight to the Race Officer’s discretionary awards, Spirit of the Regatta went to first time attendee Meteorite (Oyster 655 – Smith/Bishop families preparing for Oyster World Rally 2017-19 [OWR]) and Tenacity prizes to Ostra (Oyster 53 – Ritchie Gatt), Talaba (Oyster 54 – Rob van den Enden, and preparing for OWR) and Venture (Oyster 53 – Nigel Betts, first time racing, also preparing for OWR – In all there are now 39 Oysters signed for the OWR).
With the fleet reflecting a span of full four generations, and you can’t get more ‘family’ orientated than that, the age difference from youngest to oldest is 80 years. The youngest, five year-old Sienna from Britican, Simon and Kim Brown’s Oyster 56, sweetly came forward when invited and received gifts to take back on board to her travelling home. Parent Kim reports Sienna the best course mark spotter aboard. Well done, Sienna! Continuing the theme, and although we’re not sure about disclosing real identities this time but will, the award for oldest averaged age boat went to Boarding Pass III (Oyster 575 – Bill Munro – with apologies to Susan who we know is doing her best to bring the average down!). Finally, for Class of Their Own, or more precisely having one day sailed their own single boat start, Bare Necessities (Oyster 82 – Matt useding, used owner of this iconic 82). As Oyster is renowned for its Customer Care Service, it’s always fun to run the Concours d’Elegance as it could be called ‘Customers’ Care’! Anyway, it is actually rather tricky as judgement has to include consideration of age, used to a decade and more, and pro-crewed or not.
The team, though, resisting the efforts to sway favour, the cockpits dressed with open champagne and flutes for sampling or chilled beers for better contemplation, settled on Class 3’s Isabel (Oyster 575 – Philip and Jane Wilson – and preparing for OWR), Class 2’s Great Bear V (Oyster 625 – Graham Hetherington – also 2014 winner) and Class 1’s Dama de Noche (Oyster 82 – Alan Parker). Keep it up, more power to the elbow! To the matter of racing and the untying of winners, in Class 2 there was a tie of 13 points across fourth and fifth. To explain the Countback process, across the three races Tiger scored 4,6,3. iSNL placed 6,3,4. So both placed a 3, a 4, a 6. Identical placings cancel out. If one higher placing remains, that identifies the winner. Here there is no difference, so the overall result rests on the last race.
Not as confusing as it sounds. Tiger’s 3rd in the last race is a higher placing than iSNL’s 4th in the same last race. Hence Tiger (Oyster 625 – Simon Pillar) won the tie to take 4th overall in Class. Third went to Sotto Vento (Oyster 655 – Richard Smith – 5,2,5), then with just half a point between them, 2nd went to Great Bear V (Oyster 625 – Graham Hetherington – 7,1,1) and 1st to Flying Spirit (Oyster 625 – Rudolf Kaegi – 2,4,2). In Class 3 a tie bound all three top boats, with 7.75 points (that’s 0.75 for a first placing, and one additional point for each subsequent descending placing). Again, outcome rested on the last race. In 1st, and great to see her back, Pied Piper (Oyster 49 – Peter Blackmore – 2,5,1 – “Unbelievable, fabulous time, we’ll be back next year!”), 2nd Nikitoo II (Oyster 54 – Hugh Johnson – 5,1,2), 3rd Sara Blue V (Oyster 54 – Charles Billson – 1,4,3), 4th Isabel (Oyster 54 – Philip and Jane Wilson – 7,2,5). Finally, and similarly with the top three tied, Class 1 with 1st Starry Night of the Caribbean (Oyster 82 – 3,2,1 – pictured above), 2nd Lush (Oyster 885 – Eddie Jordan – 1,3,2 – “Full marks to Starry Night, we’ll be gunning for them in the future!”, 3rd On Liberty (Oyster 725 – Joe and Cathey Leitch – 2,1,3), 4th Infiniti of Cowes (Oyster 72 – Ken and Diana Randall, 4,4,4).
Thanks go, of course, to all who took part but also to our generous sponsors, not just suppliers but delivery partners in the Oyster way, here supporting this event and providing trophies, prizes and more. Raymarine for Race Day One, Lewmar Race Day Two and Pantaenius for the Dockside Drinks party, Dolphin Sails Race Day Three, and Pelagos Race Day Four, these last trophies, in the light of the final day’s race cancellation, included in the grand finale awards.
Pantaenius also kindly sponsored the daily Best in Class Start awards, a rare Scandinavian rum to slate nine thirsts! But that was for later, on this final evening, it was high ‘spirits’ of another kind, the volume rising and dinner switching to dancing with port and starboards around tables and dance floor clearly forgotten and forgiven with all bumps and bangs sorted, just as on the course, with a ‘sorry’ and sometimes a hug! We hope to see you all at our next Oyster regatta, in April in Antigua, or Palma again in October… between times, fair winds, good sailing!
more info …………….. oysteryachts.com
by Mike Owen