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Clarke & Son News Updates

Clarke & Son at the Drinks Trade Regatta 2024

The Team

Last weekend saw Clarke & Son Solicitors take part in the annual Drinks Trade Regatta.  Will Anderson and Claire Redhead welcomed Tim Smith of Shaw Gibbs, Neil Fillbrook of BB Merchant Services, Matt Boyle of Ideal Collection, Phil Newlyn of Beds & Bars Group, Mark Hamblin of Powder Monkey Brewing Co., and Tim Lennox of No.1 Living aboard Team Clarke & Son.

The Competition

This year, our competitors included friends from all over the drinks and hospitality sector, such as Beds and Bars Group, Yummy Collection, St Austell Brewery, AC Inns, HIT Training, Zonal Systems, Heartstone Inns, Christie & Co, Matthew Clarke, C&C Group, and Mermaid Gin.

 

Friday: Preparations and Gala Dinner

After joining the boats at Port Solent, we sailed out for practice despite the light winds. We practiced  spinnaker lifts, drops and gybes which have proved the downfall of many promising past opportunities.  Thanks to our guests from Powder Monkey Brewing Co., we had drinks before heading to the Royal Yacht Squadron for dinner. We enjoyed champagne on the lawn, followed by a delicious meal, sunsets, and speeches. After the grandeur of RYS, we retired to the pubs of West Cowes and our favourite Regatta haunts of The Union and The Anchor. Despite some lively dad dancing, most of the team were in bed by 12:30am.

 

Saturday: First Day of Competition

Saturday marked the first day of competition, with four races and trophies up for grabs. We awoke to an unusually calm morning, likely a relief for those who returned to their accommodations at 4 am! The Solent looked like a millpond as we enjoyed breakfast. Just as we were planning lunch, the Race Committee directed us to the north side of the Solent in hopes of a sea breeze. Despite scepticism, a light breeze eventually arrived. Two of the four scheduled races were completed, with Race 1 being won by Beds & Bars (Royal Marines) and Race 2 by Beds & Bars. Clarke & Son placed 9th and 7th place respectively. Not to worry, another evening of eating, drinking and socialising would surely see an upturn in form.  After more drinks in the Yacht Haven, we headed to Saturday evening’s venue, The Sugar Store in Cowes.  After a BBQ feast and much beer and wine, the teams mingled and mixed in the pubs of West Cowes.  The evening ended a bit later than expected. One team member finding himself locked out of his accommodation and seeking comfort under a blanket beneath a sofa.

 

Sunday: A Surprising Turn of Events

Sunday’s forecast of little wind and abundant sunshine hinted at slim racing prospects after Saturday’s late finish, possibly explaining the record 5:15 am finish! Despite grey skies and a breeze, all teams (heavy headed), set sail much earlier than expected. As we sailed promptly, the sun broke through, dispersing the breeze as quickly as the clouds. Clarke and Son secured an excellent start, rounding the first mark in second place, though a shabby spinnaker lift slowed us down. A strategic move from our skipper allowed us to maintain our position as the breeze waned. Despite challenges, Clarke & Son claimed victory and The Zonal Trophy, finishing fifteen minutes ahead. Comedy ensued as some boats struggled near the finish line. While most of the fleet completed the race, unfortunate circumstances led to the day’s abandonment.

Conclusion and Looking Ahead

The Drinks Trade Regatta remains a fantastic event. More yachts next year could boost participation to pre-pandemic levels. Beyond sailing and socialising, the event raises £1000 per yacht entered for charity. We thank our guests, crew, Keith Knowles, and all attending teams for making it memorable. We are already looking forward to next year!

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