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Prince Philip Memorial Race

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Published 18:15 on 18 Apr 2021

Saturday 18 April 2021 was the day the nation paid its respects to HRH Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh on the day of his funeral.

HRH Prince Philip was patron of Royal Fowey Yacht Club and to ensure members of that club, as well as Fowey Gallants Sailing Club, were able to observe the one minute silence at 1500 and watch the funeral on television the days planned racing was abandoned.

In its place a special memorial race was run for dinghies and Fowey Rivers with an earlier than normal start of 1225. Before the race a colourful parade of sail from Albert Quay to Whitehouse took place, captured by the BBC and broadcast on the regional news that evening. The current and some of the past commodores of RFYC stood in line on the club pontoon as the parade sailed by.

The weather on the day was bright and sunny with a gentle breeze.

Seventeen Fowey Rivers lined up for their class start, racing being kept in the river estuary using marks CTAB. In addition two of the juniors sailors contested the dinghy class in Fusions, using the same course, starting five minutes after the Fowey Rivers. The Troys were sadly absent as their season does not start until May and they were therefore still ashore being prepared. The cruiser fleet was 'out of town' taking part in a COGS race from Falmouth.

The race was three laps of the course and the winners of both classes finished in under 50 minutes.

In the dinghy class William Esdaile took first place from Oscar Allbutt.

The leaders in the Fowey River fleet were tightly bunched with the first five boats finishing within a minute. David Gamble in Fr39 'Victory' crossed first followed by Fr70 'Gabbiano' Kim and Sal Furniss and then Fr63 'Kittiwake' David and Alison Rundle. However, events took a turn for the unexpected after the race. David Gamble went to the race office to advise that he had pushed himself off the finish mark (a very large metal ship mooring buoy) and would therefore not be counted as a finisher. This elevated Fr70 to first place.

At the prize giving at the yacht club terrace after racing trophies were awarded to both classes. Merryn, 5 year old Daughter of Andrew, was awarded a special prize for 'youngest competitor of the day' and this was the first time she had crewed two-handed on their Fowey River 51 'Iota.'

The 'Prince Philip Memorial Race' is planned to be an annual event with a new trophy 'The Duke of Edinburgh Cup' to be awarded around the anniversary of the funeral. The exact format is yet to be decided but the event will be designed to encourage young people to compete.

To finish proceedings a canon was fired from the Royal Fowey Yacht Club terrace to mark the start and finish of the nations one minute silence.

Results of the races can be seen here.

Last updated 18:48 on 22 July 2023

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