Marlborough wins the Bobby Reynolds Tankard

The 2022 Arrow Trophy permitted the return of pre-covid normality after a couple of years of disruption – gone were the mandatory lateral flows, stifling of coughs and the imminent threat of losing a member of crew to a positive test!

As is now the status quo for the OM sailing club, for this years’ regatta we gathered a strong crew made up entirely of OMs which is a testament to the popularity of the Old Marlburian Sailing Association (OMSA) and the depth of quality that it harbours. The 2022 racing team was made up across a wide spectrum of age and experience: Hugo Hentenaar (C2 2012-17), Alex Quinan (C1 2004-09), Charlie Kendrick (C1 1998-2003), Philip French (SU 1989 – 94), Mike Orange (PR 1986-91), Karen Hill (B2/MM 1988-90), Edward Gregg (C2 1988-93) and Andrew Knatchbull (B1 1983-88). In addition to the crew members, it was great to welcome Mike Dana (House B3 1959 – 63), a stalwart of the OMSA over many years, Piers Dibben (B2 1981 – 84) and Catherine Brumwell (NC 1991 – 96) to join us for the annual OMSA crew meal on the Friday night.

An unlucky set of results in 2021 influenced by a damaged spinnaker pole (see 2021 report) meant that Marlborough would be competing in the second-tier competition of the regatta, vying for promotion back into the main Arrow Trophy Sunsail fleet. As such, the crew were required to congregate the day before racing further down the south coast than usual at Port Hamble Marina where we were allocated “Carte Blanche”, 1 of 12 boats in the Fairview fleet of Beneteau 36s – a smaller and more nimble cruiser than its Sunsail cousin! Due to damp and inclement weather conditions a tactical decision was made to jettison the Friday training session (usually featuring a series of spinnaker hoists, tacks and jybes) in favour of crew nutrition.

A fantastic evening of crew bonding was had at No. 3 restaurant on Cowes High Street ahead of a mingle with the competition at the “Dark ‘n’ Stormy” Hour hosted by the race committee at the Royal London Yacht Club. The team finally retired to the crew house only after some of the local musical talents had been enjoyed at the famous ‘Vectis Tavern,’ with skipper Mike (Jaffa) Orange leading the charge on the dance floor.

Race instructions were issued early the next morning, and with a strong breeze filling into the Solent, the order was given for mandatory “2 main reefs, life jackets and no kites” further validating our skilled tactical decision to skip training the day before. With four races scheduled for the day, the race committee promptly got proceedings underway. The team signalled intent during the first race of the day, sailing well as a unit to hold onto a 3rd place finish despite a minor misread of the course and a late challenge from Downside.  Races 2, 3 and 4 saw the team reach astonishing focus, reaching new heights thanks to some fantastic starts to achieve three 1st place finishes in a row ahead of closest rivals Shrewsbury and St Swithun’s. The crew showcased fantastic teamwork, consistency and spirit throughout the day from bow to stern. A special mention should go to Mike Orange at the helm for his faultless concentration in tough conditions, Andrew Knatchbull for his excellent trimming of the main sail and Phil French who used his local knowledge to great affect, to make some shrewd tactical calls on wind shifts and tide changes.  Marlborough concluded the first day’s racing in 1st place within the Fairview fleet

On cloud nine after a fantastic day, the team donned a variety of OM ties and trooped off for a celebratory drink at the Anchor before the annual Arrow Trophy regatta dinner at Cowes Yacht Haven. Following an excellent dinner there were the usual good-humoured exchanges with the 21 other schools represented before a few quieter drinks back at the Anchor as the team reflected on a brilliant day on the water.

Sunday morning saw not only another early start but also the loss of the wind! After 2 hours of drifting on the tide towards Ryde, the race committee cancelled the day’s racing. Although a shame to finish without any further racing, it cannot be denied that this was a great advantage to the Marlborough Crew. This meant we were able to secure promotion back into the main Arrow Trophy Sunsail fleet for 2023 based off our brilliant Saturday racing results alone. The OM crew secured their first place positioning across the Fairview fleet of 12 boats convincingly and won the Bobby Reynolds Tankard. We all look forward to continuing the OMSA’s strong performance at next year’s regatta.

A special thank you to all those who worked behind the scenes to make this the event it was and to the OM Club for their ongoing support.

Alex Quinan (C1 2004-09)

If you are interested in getting involved in the Old Marlburian Sailing Association, please contact Charlie Kendrick (C1 1998 – 2003) on ckendrick0123@gmail.com or 07946 641136.  All levels of experience welcome from beginners to seasoned sailor and yacht racers.