The IAPS Sailing Championships this year provided the full range of weather conditions for the 200+ young sailors. The Under 11 Regatta battled with winds up to 25kt and rain, whilst the Under 13’s experienced dead calm but with plenty of sunshine.  On the Wednesday, Ollie M and Harry P, as one of the lighter crews, sailed fantastically well to achieve 6 out of 35 crews. This is especially notable as nearly half the crews failed to complete a single race.

Thursday morning welcomed us with bright sunshine and plenty of wind.  Beeston Hall had three crews in the under 13’s raring to go; sadly, the wind had other ideas.  By the start of the first race, large patches of deadly calm prevented all but 5 boats from finishing.  These were especially testing conditions, requiring much concentration and plenty of patience.  Fortunately, the wind gradually picked up.  Harry T and George S improved during the day to gain 29th place overall with Arthur B and Mungo M also finishing strongly to achieve 12th place overall.  The more experienced crew of Henry M and Harry P were keen to go one better from last year’s runner’s up spot; they sailed beautifully in the changing conditions and, with 100m to go of the final race, were in position to take the title, with their closest competitor only seconds behind them.  Unfortunately a late wind shift disadvantaged them, and they were pipped to the finish line by half a boat length in the final race. This meant a second successive runner’s up spot to the same crew that beat them previously.

Most pleasing was that Beeston achieved 2nd place in the Team standings behind Stroud Prep School, Southampton, and beaten our 3rd place from 2 years ago. To put these results into perspective, one of Beeston’s previous sailors, who won a sailing scholarship, gained 18th place in the U13s.  Since 2016 alone, Beeston has surpassed that result seven times, including a win and two runners’ up.  Back in Norfolk we have half the school keen to sail, and in the last 5 years, Beeston pupils have been awarded over 50 RYA certificates for their progress.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the parents and staff who give of their time to make this activity the success that it is, in particular to James Tulley, Lucy Birkbeck, and the indomitable Mr Burnell, whose patience with the children on the water is saintly in its magnitude!