Rory Cheetham Cup 2022

This weekend saw Exeter University Sailing Club host the 3rd Rory Cheetham Cup, a match racing event in J80s in memory of Rory Cheetham.

Open to all sailors, the event saw 10 teams descend on Queen Mary Sailing Club to race 6 of Royal Thames’ J80s.

Great weather all weekend allowed for two days of intense and competitive racing. On the Saturday, 10 flights of 3 matches were completed in 16 – 20 knots resulting in Tiger Tellwright’s ‘Exeter Maroon’ leading the round robin overnight. Racing ended on Saturday with Stubbies provided ashore for all competitors, Rory’s favourite.

Saturday evening was for the social, Exeter went all out with a traditional curry in Clapham followed by a night in Revs. This didn’t stop competitors from launching at 9:15 on Sunday for a full day of racing. Another day of great weather meant the remaining five flights of the round robin were completed by midday. Exeter Maroon, one of Exeter University’s match racing teams, clenched victory of the round robin with Jack Hanslope’s ‘West Country Social Sailing Society’ (WCSSS) following in second.

The top four teams now continued to the semi-final, with teams in 5th – 8th competing in a silver league. In a surprise turn of events Exeter Maroon was overthrown by the 4th placed team of Golden Oldies, helmed by Ed Riley in a very tense semis. Exeter took the 1st race, then in a close finish Golden Oldies secured the second. Golden Oldies then went on to give Exeter a penalty in the pre start of the 3rd race which they weren’t able to offset meaning Golden Oldies qualified for the finals.

In the other semi-finals Jack Hanslope won 2 – 0 against Ed Harris’ ‘Fresher Bois & Associates’ letting them sail straight through to finals.

In a competitive silver league, despite incurring a loss, Bristol University’s team took the win to finish 5th overall. The Petit Final was, once again, very tight. The Fresher Bois delivered a strong come back involving many penalties against Exeter Maroon and an incredibly tight finish to win two races after an initial loss.

The first race of the finals saw Jack Hanslope’s WCSSS win the start and lead the race to take the first win from Golden Oldies. The second race played out in a similar fashion with WCSSS winning the start and Golden Oldies claiming an early penalty which they were unable to offset. Massive congratulations to Jack Hanslope, Jess Hammett, Jess Slater, Annie Hammett, and Ed Roberts for winning this event.

Jack Hanslope: “We all had a fantastic weekend! It was great to see so many old EUSC faces and a wonderful way to remember a good friend. The event was very well ran so we got so much racing in; a massive thank you to EUSC for that. We're definitely looking forward to coming back next year to make a defence for the West Country Social Sailing Society.”

The Rory Cheetham Memorial Cup was awarded to WCSSS and, as per tradition, the winners collectively downed the cup with fresher Annie Hammett taking the EG. The Cup, alongside all the prizes, was donated by the Cheetham family. Rory Cheetham was an active member of EUSC and was social secretary for 2017 – 2018 season before he passed away in January 2018. This event hoped to bring together both his love of sailing and a social atmosphere.

A huge thank you to Queen Mary Sailing Club and Royal Thames Yacht Club for their equipment and support on and off the water. Thank you also to our PRO Tom Rusbridge, chief umpire Nigel Vick and umpires Bill Wyatt and Patricia Neri. And finally thank you to Jessica Beecher and Richard Moxey from the RYA for their help in both organisation and preparation in the run up to the event. The event was a great success and we look forward to welcoming more teams next year and to continue to push this event to become more competitive whilst retaining the same enthusiasm.

Rory’s father has written about him on Rory Cheetham’s Just Giving page, the family support Surfers Against Sewage , whose head has responded on the Just Giving blog, acknowledging the contributions already exceeding £12,000 toward their Plastic Free Coastlines Campaign.