Top facebook2x Top email2x Email us Top search2x Basket Login
Home / News / Higgs 2020 Race Report
Home / News / Higgs 2020 Race Report

Higgs 2020 Race Report

Published 14:51 on 27 Aug 2020

37 boats set sail on Sunday to compete in our 70th Anniversary Year Higgs Handicap. This, our oldest race, is for a magnificent silver Cup presented to the Club by our first ever Commodore, Sidney Higgs. It is always a special event and never more so than this year when for much of the season holding any racing was in doubt.


After the winds of over 30 knots on Saturday had led to the event's postponement, the Race Team were relieved to find conditions had calmed down with less than a 10 knot westerly as they rowed out to crew the powerboats at around 1.30pm... although dark clouds were gathering somewhat ominously.


Fortunately the threatened rain never appeared and the race took place in often bright sunshine with the westerly wind building to around 16-20 knots at the finish. Sailors reported some very fast and exhilarating reaches which may explain the dominance of planing boats in the top places (although John Gregory with Keith Russell as crew achieved a very respectable 9th place in the Devon Yawl).

The course took the fleet around a final triangle of Fenner/WW South/Kewell before the Flagpole-Fenner finish line. This provided a real spectacle for viewers at the East Head flagpole (including our former Commodore Warren Tayler) although your Race Team gave themselves the extra challenge of identifying which boats were crossing the line for the final time. Despite the handicap of not planing, it was good to see the 2 Cobles (Wreckless helmed by Anita Russell and Pearl helmed by David Melville) fighting it out to the last with Anita just a foot in front of David at the finish. And the RO was relieved to note that the first boat's finishing time was within a minute of the duration assumed in his pre-race handicap calculation.


Many congratulations to Tom Walker for finishing in 1st place in a borrowed Laser Radial. Tom has now equalled Chris Benham's record by winning the race 4 times (ignoring what would have been a 5th win last year when he sailed as a non-member "guest"). Tom's first win dates back to 2002 when he was just 12 years old! Tom went on to become one of the first junior instructors at WWSC and is now a professional coach employed by RYA for our top racing crews.

A list of all the winners since 1959 is provided at the end which you will see contains quite a few familiar names.


Tom got off to a fantastic start by exploiting the Port bias on the line (just as he had explained we should do in his Regatta Week Zoom coaching session). Commodore Ivan Western copied this tactic when it came to the Standard Laser's start and this saw him lead the other Lasers on the first beat to Fenner, eventually finishing 10th.


Tom was followed closely by Jolyon Western who was 2nd in a Laser 4.7. Jolyon was also, appropriately, celebrating his 70th anniversary having been born the year the Club was founded. Jolyon sailed a flawless race (i.e. not stopping just before the finish line as he did in his last Pursuit Race!) and beating son Alfred who was 4th in another Laser 4.7.


In between Jolyon and Alfred in 3rd place came Ed Martin (last year's winner) in his beautiful Contender, with Finn & Kai Western (4000) in 5th, and Guy Russell in 6th, the first of the Laser Standards. The Contender and 4000 had each made up a starting handicap of (respectively) 14 and 16 minutes on the Laser 4.7s - quite impressive in a race that took them well under an hour to complete.


A mention must also be given to the last-minute entry in a Club Zest from Ed Hickman crewed by his children Helena (9) and Charles (5) who received a special "Family entry" prize for demonstrating what makes the annual Higgs such a special event for our Club. To see all the results click here.

So thanks to everyone who made Higgs 2020 such fun and in particular to the Race Team: Jeremy & Nancy Western with Anne Rutherford (Race Officers); Jeremy & Roz Haynes, David & Clare Benda, and Howard & Katherine Cook in the 3 Safety Boats; and John Coyle supervising the Hard as Beachmaster.

Hope to see you out again soon and do watch out for news of more racing opportunities over the remainder of the season.

Complete List of Higgs Winners since 1959

Year

Boat

Helm

1959

Scorpion

Ian Worley

1960

Alacrity

Michael Taylor

1961

Pobble

Ann Worley

1962

Kismet

Jeremy Leathers

1963

Alacrity

Richard Taylor

1964

Shelduck

John Goodman

1965

Hebe

John Jefferson

1966

Reveller

Judith Whiteman

1967

Spiraval

John Gammon

1968

Picon Too

Anthony Lawton

1969

Winsom

Stuart Roy

1970

Sleekit

Jeremy Western

1971

Chitty BB

Bill Gregory

1972

Pimento

David Foster

1973

Prawn

Chris Benham

1974

Chitty BB

Bill Gregory

1975

Spindrift

Chris Benham

1976

Chitty BB

P Gregory

1977

Look no Strings

Chris Benham

1978

Hangups

Nick Peters

1979

Melbourne Muddy

Nick Benham

1980

Jay Gee

Jonny Ambrose

1981

470

David Foster

1982

Melbourne Muddy

Nick Benham

1983

Sleekit

Jeremy Western

1984

Soleo

Nick Morris

1985

Jay Gee

Jonny Ambrose

1986

Laser

Simon Foster

1987

Humdrum

Andrew Drysdale

1988

Soleo

Nick Morris

1989

Electric Eel

Guy Russell

1990

Mij

Michael Pitt

1991

Humdrum

Andrew Drysdale

1992

Splashing Out

Keith Martin

1993

Splashing Out

Keith Martin

1994

Carte Blanche

H Martin

1995

Topper

Peter McKerchar

1996

Kind Dog

John Gregory

1997

Lola

RJA Brown

1998

Caramba

Robin Smith

1999

Kind Dog

John Gregory

2000

FD363

Keith Martin

2001

Araminta

Eddy Martin

2002

Atomato

Tom Walker

2003

Three

Keith Woods

2004

Swim

Olly Woods

2005

Araminta

Eddy Martin

2006

Lightning

Peter McKerchar

2007

FD363

Keith Martin

2008

Madge

Jeremy Western

2009

Baladaw

Will Ellsworth-Jones

2010

Baladaw

Will Ellsworth-Jones

2011

Electric Eel

Guy Russell

2012

2000

Chris Benham

2013

Fulmar

Harri Goldsmith

2014

Nellie

Ann Carnegie

2015

Supernova

Tom Walker

2016

RS600

Tom Walker

2017

Laser

Will Becker

2018

Ruby

Jolyon Western

2019

Courageous

Ed Martin

2020

Flying Ferret

Tom Walker

Last updated 11:12 on 17 August 2021

© 2021 West Wittering Sailing Club powered by Sailing Club Manager