Thames Challenge Cup Victory

Boats gathering for the Thames Challenge Cup

Summer is not the same without a few weekends sailing on the Thames. A few years ago I had a new Thames A Rater built to compete in races on the stretch between Marlow and Maidenhead. And this year, I have won the top trophy, the Thames Challenge Cup which is the  British Championship!

The Thames A Rater Class is actually the oldest type of sailing dinghy in the UK, dating back to the 1880’s. You’ll find they are almost exclusively raced on rivers in the UK.

They began with really high rigs to make sure they could get some wind above the trees along the riverbank. They now sport 44-foot carbon masts on a 28ft hull, making them immensely powerful and looking completely out of place on the river.

Racing action – Photo Tony Ketley

But they certainly attract spectators. The” Big trophy” is won in a single race for cup presented by Queen Victoria. (Queen’s Cup) The Trophy which I have won on 2 previous occasions but I have never won the overall championship (Thames Challenge) which was presented in 1887 to mark 50 years of Queen Victoria’s reign. This is won for the best results over the five days of the Championships.


Simon Blake, James Warren and Jock celebrate their victory. Photo: Tony Ketley

Now, with all success, you almost never do it on your own. Far from it. I was lucky to have Simon Blake helming. He’s a former national dinghy champion. James Warren, the grandson of an Olympic Silver medallist, Alan Warren, was at the bow. So with such talent with me all I can say is: “Good leadership is about having good people around you!!!”  Wey hey!

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