Among the highlights of the sailing season are the Village Regattas. They have been around for a long time, at least 125 years. Some have sadly fallen by the wayside, while others have managed to survive and flourish. Some which went into hibernation have been resurrected and are being carefully nourished.
At present there are eight village regattas. Alphabetically, Falmouth Town, Flushing, Loe Beach (aka St Feock & Pill Creek), Percuil, Point & Penpol, Portscatho, St Mawes Social, and St Mawes Town. When we say village, we're being a bit vague really: is St Mawes a village? Falmouth certainly isn't. Pedantry aside, they all have a character of their own.
The basic format is the same: an organising committee puts together a day of sailing, with all the appropriate paperwork (Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions, etc.), and added to that there are usually other events, mostly on the water, but also sometimes shoreside. And the teas. With only one exception, there are teas provided, and the prizegiving. Some of the trophies are very impressive, and very ancient. Because of the nature of these events, some of the trophies refer to classes which have all but disappeared, but the tradition is maintained.
Although the racing is relaxed, that doesn't mean it isn't taken seriously. Starts are in the afternoon, giving everyone the chance to get there, and most are timed to coincide with high tide to ensure trouble free racing and plenty of water to moor in afterwards. Especially important for the regattas further up the Estuary.
If you don't want to enter in advance or on shore on the day, all regattas provide entry boats on the water in the vicinity of the start, which take your entry and give out the Sailing Instructions. Ideally complete your entry form, which you can download from this website, in advance, and hand it over to the entry boat with the right money: it's even easier if you put it all in a plastic bag to hand over. Allow yourself plenty of time to read the Sailing Instructions carefully as some of the courses can be sailed in reverse order too, depending on which flag is flying. There will be a chartlet showing the position of the marks, but make sure you can find them.
The format of the courses is usually similar, often 2 rounds from the local starting line, out into the Carrick Roads (or round the bay in the case of Portscatho Regatta), back around a turning mark for the second round and then back to the starting area/line for the finish.
After racing pull your dinghy up the beach, anchor off or pick up a local mooring and a courtesy boat will ferry you ashore for the all-important teas and prizes. The regattas are a good opportunity to sail in beautiful creeks and places that you may not sail in regularly.
If you are sailor who has not sailed in a village regatta before we'd like to encourage you to join in!
Make this the year you join in a village regatta (or two)?