Jon Bentman from the club takes up the story:

Despite a big swell and moderate winds – and the restrictions created by Covid-19 – Broadstairs Sailing Club’s annual Dyson Dash regatta enjoyed a bumper year with a 28-boat turnout while raising nearly £2000 for a local hospice.

In the new way of doing things, sailors came either already in their kit or they changed in the dinghy park. The briefing was conducted in the open air on the pier, socially distanced. The RIB safety boats carried PPE kits in case of rescue. Face coverings were ready for RIB retrieval. Many new things, new ways. But on the water it was sailing as we’ve always known. And for this regatta – fondly celebrating the memory and the life of former BSC member Steve Dyson – it followed the tradition of three races, three courses – four, three, two, or ‘rectangle, triangle, sausage’ as we know them.

Waiting for the start.

The racing, again in the tradition of Broadstairs, was super-competitive and super-tight. The variation in courses gave no single class an advantage. In the end two boats were tied for the win. Pierce Seward in an Aero 7 and Oliver Cage-White in a Laser. The decider was settled on the winner of the last race – Cage-White. Behind them came Paddy Denby, formerly a Laser sailor now making fast progress with a Phantom. In the slow fleet category Julia Evans was the clear winner in her Radial.

The entry certainly brought out a mix of dinghies. Broadstairs’ Contender fleet gave their best for the win but a combination of their sailors getting caught OCS and then losing their speed as the winds lightened put paid to their chances. A pair of RS 200s zig-zagged their asymmetric way around the course, but capsizes and poor starts saw them finish midfield at best. Meanwhile the lumpy sea conditions put paid to two entries even before the start of the first race, including the lone Miracle.

Dale Windridge (21430) has a moment as race two gets underway.

After the Dyson Dash Trophy, there’s a second award at this event, the ‘Two Fat Ladies’ shield (named after Steve’s last boat) which goes to the sailor who put in the most meritous performance. This year this went to youth sailor Izzy Denby, who slogged it out through all three races, in a sometimes six-foot swell, in her Topper.

A very happy Izzy Denby receives the "Two Fat Ladies" shield.

As always the dinghy racing runs alongside a second Dyson Dash competition, for the yachts from Royal Temple YC in nearby Ramsgate. Most years they start from the BSC club line (just ahead of the dinghy racing), this year they instead finished in Broadstairs, a nice variation – only in arriving a little ahead of schedule midway through race one this did cause a minor upset for the dinghy racers! But also this made for quite a spectacle as the yachts, on a run – with spinnakers flying – majestically rolled through the middle of the course. Spectacular when viewed from the shore, at least. The yacht race was won by Mike and Jo Brand’s Foxy, just a minute a head of the late Julian Poupard’s Xpedite.

Prizegiving - left to right Pierce Seward, Dyson Dash trophy winner Oliver Cage-White, and Paddy Denby with BSC Commodore Josh Lidstone.

After the awards came the great news that the entries and fund raising around the regatta had raised a handsome £1903.88 – in fact quite an (unexpected) increase on 2019 – which the club gladly donated to the local Pilgrims Hospice. As always this donation is made in the memory of Steve, but also remembering many other BSC members that have passed away, including very recently Ted Temple (an able seaman if there ever was one, whose career included time spent serving with the local pilot boats, as well as being a member with BSC man and boy). Remembering our much-missed club members is where this regatta always begins and ends.

Photos credit Adrian Trice.

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