2017 St Mathew Cup

2017 St Mathew Challenge Cup

Sunday 16th July saw the four Burnham on Crouch clubs competing for the 2017 St Mathew Cup.

The St Mathew Challenge Cup was originally presented by the Officers and Personnel of HMS St Mathew stationed in Burnham on Crouch during WWII. The cup has been competed for annually since 1947 with each club taking it in turn to host the event in a format of their choice.

Club No. of wins (1947 – 2016)
Royal Corinthian Yacht Club (RCYC) 28
Burnham Sailing Club (BSC) 24
Royal Burnham Yacht Club (RBYC) 11
United Hospitals Sailing Club* 5
Crouch Yacht Club (CYC) 2

*moved away from Burnham at the end of the 90’s

This year it was the turn of the Royal Burnham Yacht Club who decided on a team racing format in their 80+ year-old Royal Burnham One Designs with two boats allocated to each club.

The 8-10kt WSW breeze provided classic RBOD conditions with a perfect foul tide beat. Team BSC comprised:

 Red Jacket (2)                 Beryl (14)

Ian Gray                               Ben Harden

Ian Simons                          Dylan McPherson

Ellen Morley                       Daniel Wastnage

A maximum of three races could be helmed by any one person so Ian shared the helm with Ellen and Ben with Dylan.

The clubs raced each other in a “Round Robin” on a windward leeward course of two laps.  The BSC’s first race was against team RBYC and although not getting the best start, helms Ben and Ian soon got to grips with team racing tactics and sailed brilliantly to cross the line first and second.

Race 2 saw the BSC up against the RCYC. This was a particularly tough race with the RCYC getting the better of the BSC although not without a failed protest from the BSC on the grounds of a boat interfering with another on a different leg of the course (not permitted in team racing rules). However, a lesson to all – if you are going to protest make sure you identify the correct sail number! But it did not matter – in the BSC’s third race we managed to secure first and second places meaning we were in the “race off” for first and second overall against our hosts, the RBYC.

The first beat was tense with lots of covering and place changes. As they approached the leeward mark one of the RBYC boats managed to get an overlap, gybed onto starboard and forced both BSC boats to take penalty turns, leaving us in 3rd and 4th with the two RBYC boats clear ahead sailing towards victory. However, the race was far from over, the BSC boats somehow managing to come back at them on the run towards the finish and Ben brilliantly got an overlap to luff one of the RBs past the finishing line allowing Ian and Ben to cross the line in 1st and 2nd.

But it didn’t finish there – a protest over the incident at the first leeward mark led to two hours deliberation by a protest committee who eventually deemed that one of the BSC boats had not taken the penalty turn at their first opportunity and disqualified the BSC, declaring the RBYC winners of the 2017 St Mathew Cup.

Whilst the outcome will be debated long and hard in the bars of the clubs for weeks to come, there are few who can remember a more intensely contested or enjoyable St Mathew Cup.

The BSC team proved to be formidably strong and sailed brilliantly on the day. They were absolutely fantastic and I would like to say thanks to Ian, Ian, Ellen, Ben, Dylan and Daniel for representing the BSC and doing us proud.

(Photos courtesy of Alan Hanna)

Results (winners)

Round Robin                                      Finals

RCYC     v              CYC

RBYC      v              BSC

RBYC     v              CYC                        1st/ 2nd                   RBYC     v              BSC

RCYC     v              BSC                        3rd/4th                    RCYC     v              CYC

BSC        v              CYC

RBYC     v              RCYC

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