The Packard Ladies' Cup 2011

»«Sunday 19th June 2011

The second annual race of the Packard Ladies’ Cup took place in splendid conditions at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham on Crouch on the afternoon of Sunday 19th June 2011.This year six Corinthian lady helms came to the line in a fleet of 707s to keep alive the memory of two intrepid yachtswomen, the Packard sisters, Celia and Nina, who originally won this cup in Burnham Week 1899.

Two of the Corinthian Ladies who took part, Katie Cole and Teresa Wilkes, normally race in the Dragon Fleet, whilst last year’s race winner Lynn Frost, races her Royal Corinthian One Design, Corsair and the other helms, Sarah Giles, Jane O’Brien and Sally Gray had the advantage of coming from the 707 fleet.

The race was sailed in a south-westerly force four, with an occasional gust up to force five and formed excellent sailing conditions after what had already proved to be a windy and testing weekend of club racing. The hard working crews played an important part in providing the brawn, whilst the delicate ladies provided the brains.

The course, devised by the wily Peter Marchant, took the competitors up to Coleward and back to buoy number seven, via the well worn number three buoy, for two laps. The start at 1510 hours favoured the four boats that got cracking on the south shore, with Teresa Wilkes taking an early lead which she kept for the entire race. At the first rounding of Coleward the fleet was still tightly together but clearer wind soon gave the leading boats an edge.

There was a moment when Mutley, in the lead, coughed and broached, the entire crew landing in a heap in the bottom of the unfamiliar cockpit, thus allowing Sally Gray to close the gap, meaning there was an exciting finish to the shortened course.

At the line it was Teresa Wilkes in Mutley who took the gun from a hard charging Sally Gray in the curiously named Beaver Hunter, with Lynn Frost in Baby Beluga missing out on the champagne in third, followed expectantly by Jane O’Brian in Aquaholic, Katie Cole in the curious Stroppy Cow and Sarah Giles in the hard-to Swallow. Where do these 707 owners dream up their boats names, we wonder?

Following a swift bar prop the prize giving was held, with Teresa briefly fingering the treasured cup before having to ensure its safe keeping in the club trophy room. The RCYC acknowledges the support of the 707 fleet which generously made the event possible, especially Bill Wright for his behind-the-scenes chivvying and particular thanks to Wendy Eagling, the instigator and driving force behind the re-invigorated ladies' race. In addition, the ladies all wish to thank their assiduous crews for their time and effort in supporting them in this now traditional race.

Teresa Wilkes