Back in the calendar having been missing for a number of years, Otters in Squibs was first raced in 1990 when the Princess Royal visited the club with her children when it was fittingly won by the team of Jamie Mears and Zara Phillips.
So when a fresh faced fleet of 16 Otters who knew nothing of the original event arrived, they perhaps thought that this would simply be a gentle introduction to Squib sailing. But not so! Squib Class Captain, Phil Shanahan, had clearly given the matter some serious thought having devised and planned a series of races with each boat to be helmed and crewed by two Otters along with the owner (or willing substitute).
If they were surprised the Otters didn’t show it as they quickly switched into competition mode and deftly got on with the business in hand which was not, as Carl Anderson might have thought, to eat the most chocolate bars, but racing - and to win! Needless to say the competition was fierce with the eight teams each racing in 3 of the 4 races on six Squibs - Crackers, Woody, Magic Roundabout, Surprise, Atalanta and Humphrey. With each race starting from the end of the pontoon under the watchful eye of the Race Officer, Paul Drew and his Assistant, Gaynor Drew, the event made for some spectacular viewing as the boats bunched together before each start. Certainly it was pretty clear the Otters had been paying attention at all their regular Saturday morning sailing sessions!
Overall Jed Cox and Rory Kemp proved to be the dream team in Humphrey along with owner Robert Coyle with a 2nd and two 1sts in their three races, with Christie Peel and Callum Fraser coming a worthy 2nd with a 3,2,1 in club owned boat Woody with Otter Chairman Justin Waples.
I am not sure about the other Otters, but I certainly have never sailed a Squib prior to this event, making it both a highly rewarding and rather scary experience! Each Squib was assigned two Otters, a helm and a crew. Much to my surprise I was given the responsibility of helming for the entire event and somehow avoided crashing entirely, save a few close calls in the moorings. There were four races in total, with crews and helms being swapped around from the RIB. While I did not win I found it hugely enjoyable and would like to extend thanks to all those squibs willing to put up with us!
Dom Moon, Secretary of the Corinthian Otters Flag Officers
Both Otters and Squib owners came ashore buzzing with enthusiasm for the event. For the Otters, the new found knowledge that racing a keelboat could be just as much fun as a dinghy, and for the Squib sailors, that a brand new fleet of willing and able crew are ready and waiting to compete!
Many thanks to all the Squib sailors who took part in the event.