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Home / News / D-Day Commemorations 2024
Home / News / D-Day Commemorations 2024

D-Day Commemorations 2024

Published 07:48 on 8 Jun 2024

Worthing Sailing Club commemorated the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings along the Normandy coast during World War II, in a most spectacular way on 9th June.

A fleet of club members took to the water, adorned with flags, sailing east towards the pier, while above an impressive formation of ex RAF trainer aircraft 'The Bullpup flyers' sped through the sky. A full balcony of members and guests were delighted by the display in this moving remembrance of those who did so much for us all those years ago. Images from the day can be viewed here in the gallery, thanks to Max Robinson for capturing the event (all images to be credited to Max if used online)

D-Day Commemoration + Isted Trophy Race by Patrick Palmer

The 80 years since D-Day have seen many changes, but one thing remains, just as strong as ever, and that's our seeming enthusiasm for marking such occasions. And so, at around 15:00 on Sunday, 24 assorted monos and catamarans sailed eastwards from WSC HQ for about 10 minutes to a point probably in line with Grand Avenue (where there is curiously enough a Canadian flag which notes the presence of those brave fellers who spent a bit of time here before going off to participate in the horrors) and then did a clockwise circuit. At the same time, 12 (was it?) single engine propeller driven planes in groups of 4 did a bit of formation aerial cavorting of their own. They did a bit where they assembled as a 'D'! Apparently some of the pilots were really old including one in his 90's just the repetition of this seems as if to repeat an obvious bit of leg-pulling

Some of the boats had flags adorning them and it (probably) was stirring to see various Union Jacks, a Stars & Stripes, a Merchant Marine ensign, the flag of Sussex (the county, not our erstwhile Californian royals) and even (can it have been?) 2 x Royal Yachting Association flags a neat little reminder by John Cooper of the invaluable role played by those indefatigable RYA officials who ensured there was no deviation from port/starboard and water-at-the-mark rules, and any straying U-Boats performed their 720 degree penalty turn* before being mercilessly blown to pieces. Rob & Fi, themselves a remorseless sailing machine, flew 3 flags (Belgium (plucky), Canadian (stout) and UK (stiff upper)), which you'd have thought would have handicapped them when it came to racing; surely a little extra drag?...

The racing: the following is the view from the Race Box, so excludes the usual on-the water gritty detail. Despite being thrown into the fray with barely any notice (in fact we did offer), race officers Phil Selwood & Patrick Palmer had sufficient handle on things, especially given the invaluable assistance from Jo Nichols/Charles Maskey to at least allow battle to commence. What Rob had described in his briefing (before delegating R.O. duties to the aforementioned) was a simple upwind / downwind course with three marks (only) Line Finish, the upwind and the downwind. This arcane labyrinth proved too much for one of the assembled armada, but by Race 3 Gilbert/Bob had mastered it sufficiently to record an actual legal finish to a race. DSO's (in bar) all round!

The conditions were fluky, Westerly backing North Westerly, tricky to ensure a reasonable challenge, but thankfully the course seemed to provide enough of an upwind to make it a difficult decision whether to head inshore as opposed to tacking out to sea (which looked like the right option from the race box but this was a delusion). The wind was not so strong as to unduly favour the cats, f2-3, which proved to be the case with some very close finishes between the leading monos & cats. None of the starts were close to threatening either Recall flag having to be raised, perhaps something to do with the angled line. The course was fairly long, at least for r1/r2, which usually does favour the cats but Andy Ruffer (Laser) did well in r1 to get an adjusted time win over Rob/Fi (d18) of over 2 mins, with Rod/Sarah (d18) third.

R2 saw Rob/Fi pip Andy by a mere 30 seconds, with Caleb/Chloe getting 3rd. The young duo then retired; truly, for them, the Isted Trophy was over.

What with the rapidly receding tide & battle fatigue, the Race Officers shortened the course for the final foray, which led to a brisk 25 minute scamper around the buoys. And indeed, R3 saw Andy reassert his mono-mastery over the multi-hulls. Those fighting in the bocage included an amazing Theo Valentin (Croix de Guerre/VC combined) proving that Mr Ruffer was not the only mono to get the jump on the cats, with a squeaky 9 second win over the 3rd placed boats. Boats, do I hear? Plural? Yes Simon Ash (dfc & oak leaf) got exactly the same adjusted time as Rob/fi and so 3rd place was shared.

With 2 1sts and one 2nd, Andy Ruffer was the clear master of Europe (Isted) and took overall honours to precipitate dancing in the fountains of Steyne Gardens, and Sarah Rose appearing on the balcony graciously accepting the thanks of the nation. Despite their best efforts the next best mono was Simon Ash in 4th, and it was indeed the dependable duo (x 2), of Rob/Fi & Rod/Sarah who had 2nd & 3rd medals pinned to their manly/womanly chests.

Thanks to the beach crew and tractor drivers for their efforts.

*This rule, as we know, was subsequently amended to a 360 penalty turn.

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