May 12th 2018 was this seasons Inter-school Regatta at Regatta Sailing Academy.
This invite only event is an annual contest between the sailors of various schools in Doha, Qatar.
With the best four competitors being chosen to represent their schools, even making it as far as the start line for this event is an achievement in itself!
With representatives from Doha College, Compass international, ACS, ASD, ISLQ, Doha home educators, Sherborne and Park house all vying for the title of best sailing school in Qatar the stage was set for a thrilling afternoon of racing.
The weather for the event saw 15+ knots of wind with gusts upto 20 knots and heavily reduced visibility. Due to this the organizing team altered the format so that the teams would race in two fleets, with two members of each team racing two races and then changing over to allow the other two members to complete the last two races.
The course was a simple reach and upwind leg to a finish just off the beach of Regatta Sailing Academy located in Katara.
Race one got away with all the competitors keen to stamp and early mark on the event. Following a perfect start and an excellent upwind leg the team from Doha College took the first win, followed closely by the team from ACS/ASD/ISLQ/DC and third was Compass International.
The competitors then headed downwind to prepare for race 2. A similar format for the start and first leg but with the wind starting to swing to the west the sailors who were sailing with their heads out of their boats and aware of the conditions headed to the right hand side upwind to try and gain the advantage. Again the team of Doha College took the win but an incredibly close finish saw the team from Compass edge ahead right on the finish line and leave the team from ACS/ASD/ISLQ/DC to take third with DHE in fourth and Sherborne/Parkhouse in fifth.
The teams then all headed to the beach to change over the teams to the other half of the four sailors and then head back out to complete the final two races.
With it all still to play for the course was altered slightly to accommodate the change of wind direction and maintain a fair upwind leg.
With the new teams approaching their first start line of the event Doha College found themselves over the line early and had to restart allowing the team from Compass to lead away from the line followed closely by the ACS/ASD/ISLQ/DC team.
At mark one Doha College had closed back into the fleet but then had a momentary loss of control and infringed the Sherborne/Parkhouse team. They completed their 720 degree penalty turn and continued on to try and make up lost positions.
At the finish of Race 3 Compass international took a very comfortable win to move upto joint first overall. They were followed by the combined team from ACS/ISLQ/ASD/DC and third place was Doha College after an excellent upwind leg.
Race four and any one of the top three teams could win the event by simply winning the final race. With the spectator fleet clearly at fever pitch on the beach, Race four started cleanly.
The wind had now swung much further to the west and was now coming off the beach of Katara making for a very unstable direction and strength. All the teams rounded the final mark within 20 seconds of each other so starting the final upwind leg to the finish line everyone was in with a shot of victory.
Halfway up the final leg it was neck and neck between Compass, ISLQ/ASD/ACS/DC and Doha College with the combined team just crossing Compass to push into the lead. In the final meters of the leg with all the teams neck and neck the Sherborne/Parkhouse team caught a great shift and extra pressure and stormed past every other boat to cross the line first, much to the excitement of everyone as this meant that the maths for the overall victory become incredibly close!
Next to cross the line was Compass international followed by the combined team.
The competitors made their way back to the beach, everyone trying to calculate the overalls and struggling due to the incredibly close finish to race 4.
The prize giving proceedings were opened with Regatta GM Mike Lawton thanking all the competitors and their parents for coming and congratulating everyone on their achievements. All the competitors were called forward to receive a momento of the event, presented by Khalid Al Mohammadi and Mary Fernandes.
In fifth place overall was the team from Doha Home educators, forth place was Sherborne/Parkhouse. In third place the combined team with representatives from ISLQ, DC, ASD and ACS. First and second overall were tied on 5 points each so on count back second place went to former champions Compass International leaving Doha College as the Regatta Sailing Academy Interschool champions 2018! A fantastic achievement for this young team.
Regatta Sailing Academy wishes to thank everyone who joined us for this event and everyone who has supported the Academy and all that we do helping young people learn sailing and develop themselves as young adults.