On Saturday six teams travelled to Bough Beech Sailing Club, for the annual Hoad Shield Team Racing Regatta, an inter-school event second only to the Nationals in terms of standard and prestige. There were two events taking place, the U16s sailing in Fevas and the seniors competing in Fireflys, with RHS fielding three teams in each age group.

The U16 event took the format of a full round robin as Stage 1, before splitting into Gold and Silver Leagues for Stage 2. The day started well for all our Feva teams with the U15s dropping only one race in the full round robin and ending Stage 1 in 2nd place. Both the Junior 1st and 2nd team won 5 of the 8 races, meaning that all teams qualified into the gold fleet for Stage 2. A special mention must go to the Junior 2nds for this accomplishment; it was the first time that the team of Jack Oakley, Francis Hartgrove, Drew Bessy and Meagan Aswick-Clarke had sailed together, and for some it was their first taste of competitive sailing, qualifying into gold fleet (and beating the junior 1sts!) was a real achievement.

The top five teams then battled it out in a gold fleet round robin to decide the final positions. The higher standard of racing proved too much this time for the Junior 2nds, who failed to win a race in the final five, however, the Junior 1sts and U15s managed to improve throughout the day with both remaining unbeaten resulting in a decider between the two RHS teams. Although they were beaten when they first met in Stage 1, it was the RHS Junior 1sts of James Oakley, Joe Fletcher, Josh Davies and Winston Squires who took the win when it mattered. This victory saw them as the overall winners of the Junior Hoad Shield, with RHS U15s runners-up, and RHS Junior 2nds in 5th place.

In the senior event a full round robin was to be followed by semi-finals and finals. The U16s team got off to a bad start when two out of the six crew were taken ill during the their first race, with substitutions not permitted the rest of the team had to sail a boat down for the rest of the day with the odds stacked against them. The 2nds had promising beginnings with some good racing from a team featuring two 10 sailors, however a losing streak of three racing around midday put them out of the hunt for a semi-final spot. They finished a very credible 7th place, with a 50% win ratio. Not only were they the highest placed 2nd team, they also finished ahead of a number of 1st teams.

The 1sts finished the opening round-robin with just two losses, comfortably getting a place in the semi-finals. They were drawn with Tonbridge School in the semi, and despite some very close and tactical racing lost the semi two wins to one in a best of three fixture. Despite the outcome the team gave a good performance in what was their first major regatta as a six and should take a lot of encouragement from the fact they gave Tonbridge, the eventual winners, a tough challenge. They then faced Winchester in the 3rd place sail-off, and again were on the wrong end of a 2-1 result. Once again positives can be taken, as the team now know what areas need to improve before the top teams meet again at the Nationals in July.

Overall with a 4th place in the seniors and 1st, 2nd and 5th in the junior event it was a good regatta for RHS who now can look forward to our own invitational event this Saturday 6 May, and the Eastern championships the following week.

Mr Rosser
Assistant Director of Sailing

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