Last weekend the ON sailing team headed down to the Solent to compete in the prestigious Arrow Trophy. The competition is between Independent Schools, raced as an annual weekend regatta, in one-design yachts crewed by former pupils. After a disappointing result last year, caused largely by an equipment fault, the crew were under pressure to deliver a good result.
The first day began in light winds but after a strong start the team managed to round the first mark of the first race in 2nd place and carried on that good form to secure 4th place out of 24 boats. Despite a poor start, something which was to become somewhat of a pattern, in the second race, the team fought back from 23rd crossing the start line to take 5th place. In the penultimate race of the first day the team managed to put together a fantastic whole race, taking second place from the dominant Abingdon. In the final race of the day, with the wind dropping quickly, the team again had a disappointing start crossing the line in 23rd and this time left themselves too much to do on a shortened course leading to a 10th place finish. This left an anxious wait to see if they’d made it into the top 4 match racing for the first time in the school’s history, and in doing so would assure themselves some silver wear to pick up at the dinner next year. There was much celebration therefore as the day’s results made their way around the dinner hall and Norwich School had made it into the top 4 by 5 points, beating heavyweights Dulwich, Wellington, Tonbridge and Harrow in the process.
After much celebration the team arose on Sunday morning ready to step into unchartered waters, the match racing finals. As the 4th placed team from the fleet racing confidence was high but expectations maybe not so. Having lost to 1st place Abingdon in the first race of the day the team wiped that result from their heads and went on to dominate both Cheltenham and Charterhouse to secure a place in the final match race against Abingdon for the Arrow Trophy itself.
Entering the final the team remained quietly confident, despite facing an Abingdon team who had failed to win just one race all weekend and who were far more experienced in the match racing format. After a close pre-start in the first race Abingdon’s boat speed, superb all weekend, helped them pull away to take the first of the best of 3 match. That left the team needing a win in the final race which, after a tough pre-start which Abingdon dominated, they were unable to do. Despite disappointment this left the team as 2nd in the Arrow Trophy 2017, by far the best result in the school’s history and they will collect the Sherbourne Salver at the Arrow Trophy Dinner next year.
The team, featuring ONs 44 years apart, comprised of:
James Manners (93-00) – Captain and Helm
Simon Richards (02-11) – Tactician
Mike Thompson (67-76) – Navigation
Gerard Stamp (64-72) – Jib
Mark Phillips (73-77) – Sail Trim
Gabriel Wrenn (03-13) – Bow Team
Rob Ellis-Paul (90-00) – Mainsheet
Ben Girling (00-10) – Spinnaker
Amy Parkes (12-14) – Sail Trim – and her boyfriend Matt – Mainsail Trim
Jon Gent (86-93) – Bow Team
Tim Haines (09-16) – Mast
Full results from the weekend can be found here.