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Raleigh hosts Royal Navy dinghy competition

9 March 2016
A total of 55 dinghy races over the course of two-days saw a team from Britannia Royal Naval College become the winners of the 2016 Holt Cup held on the River Lynher near HMS Raleigh.

A total of 11 teams took part in the first Royal Navy inter-region sailing competition to be hosted by HMS Raleigh, from the base’s sea sense training centre at Jupiter Point.

Racing in the Topaz Argo dinghies owned by the Combined Cadet Force each team took to the water on a round-robin basis to race over a course measuring roughly 150 yards squared. 

The teams fielded two boats per race, crewed by two people, with a maximum of eight boats on the water at any one time. 

The racing was intense, everyone was very competitive.

Joel Rogers

In windy conditions the races took on average eight minutes and 30 seconds to complete with points accrued to decide the finalists.

The team representing BRNC came out on top in the final sailing against one of the three teams from the Eastern region. 

The hosts, HMS Raleigh, were represented by the Commanding Officer, Captain Rob Bellfield, his deputy, Commander Sean Brady and three recruits who are undergoing their 10-week initial naval training course at the base; Recruits Joel Rogers, Lewis Newman and Maria Law.

Recruit Rogers, aged 19, from Norwich, is currently in his eighth week of training.  He said:   “I mentioned when I joined HMS Raleigh that I’ve been a dinghy instructor for about five years and that I’ve also raced nationally for the past three or four years.  

“When this event came up my Divisional Officer put my name forward to take part.  The racing was intense, everyone was very competitive. 

“The conditions were really windy, about 15 knots gusting to 25, which made things very interesting.  Overall the Raleigh came team sixth, which was a good result for us.

“As a team we didn’t have that much racing experience, particularly in tidal racing which made things a lot harder.

“Overall it was a great experience and a good networking opportunity because I was able to meet the Captain of the Royal Navy Sailing team who is going to keep me informed of future competitions.”

The event was organised the Royal Navy Sailing Association.  Two teams from the Western region, two representing University Royal Navy Units and one each from the Northern region and the Fleet Air Arm also took part.  In total around 50 members of the Naval Service were involved.

Captain Rob Bellfield said:  “We were delighted to host the Holt Cup competition for the first time at HMS Raleigh using our Seamanship Training Vessel, the former HMS Brecon, as our base, moored in the Lynher. 

“There was some great racing over the two days and the Argo dinghies handled really well.  I was particularly pleased to be able to involve some of our most junior sailors. 

“We try to give our recruits as much exposure to the water as we can during their initial naval training and whether that is conducting a two-night exercise from Brecon to getting out in smaller boats like the dinghies, it’s all valuable experience for their future careers.”  

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