A capacity 65 members enjoyed an evening of celebration at the Royal Ocean Racing Club in St James’s on 17th November. Canapés and a club-subsidised bar ensured that the long traditions of LLYC seeing in the early hours was duly observed. A huge thanks to RORC House Manager and LLYC Club Member Mark Newens and his hard-working team for making it flow!
Commodore Tim Blackstone highlighted the successes of the 2022 season as well as giving us an exciting look into the coming 12 months. He also presented the Club’s magnificent silverware to this season’s winning crews.
Awards for 2022 were as follows:
Nab Tower Challenge (Nab Tower Trophy)
This of course is always our most contested trophy and this season’s been no exception. 16nm out and back to the tower from the forts.
With an outstanding time of 1hr 33m 29s, this is only just outside the club record and only one other crew came even close this season. The trophy was awarded to the weekend crew (the Anchor Weekend) of 23/24 April which comprised Natalie Green, Nina Pasterny, Ellie Wollman, Ed House, Anastasia Tzortzi and Lee Harrison. Skippered by James Close.
Lutine Bell Race
It’s tremendous that this prestigious and long-established race across the Channel to Cherbourg from the forts has made it back on the calendar. Open to any boat owned by a club member, there seem generally to be less these days but hopefully we’ll attract more next year and gradually rebuild it to its former glory. The race was won by Lutine with a corrected time of 12h 44m. James Close’s crew comprised Anastasia and Ellie once again along with our very own Neil Armstrong, Jonny Knowlson, Claire Melly, Leo Brittan and Kate Newman. This magnificent trophy was presented in Cherbourg but represented here.
Perhaps less known is that there is an equally stunning cup for second place and with a close-run corrected time of 12h 52m was Stan the Boat skippered by owner Toby Gorman who was awarded the McKinnon Cup.
This is awarded to what, in the view of our professional skipper James Close, represents the best kept log for any passage on Lutine. The bar has been set very high indeed this season with the award going to the crew of skipper Paul May, namely Tim Ashford, Jeremy Cross, Mark Turvey, Vernon Ashford, Philip Whelpdale, Geoff Cozens, Paul Kelly, Jonathan Hague and Matt Denby.
Lutine Classic Challenge
The beautiful silver rose bowl, hallmarked in 1938, was designated to this challenge which began in 2009. It is a ‘round the cans course’ of 16 miles in the Eastern Solent and was devised by a previous Skipper, Simon Vayro. It is designed for those who want to stay in the Solent but still get involved in one of the club challenges.
This year, one crew came very close to beating the course record with a time of 2hr 28m 6s. Well done to the Oxted Offshore crew comprised of Jeremy Taylor, Kevin Ludbrook, Bill Anstead, Steve Clark, Peter Puttock and Howard Richardson. And skippered by James Close.
RTI Corporate Challenge
The fastest time this year on Lutine and the winner of the Haven Knox Johnson cup was the RTI itself with Lutine chartered by Darren Powell.
The Gothenburg Cup was awarded this year to James Close and his Lutine Bell winning crew from back in June with an elapsed time of 10hr 38m 50s from the forts to the outer breakwater in Cherbourg.
The Street Trophy
Traditionally awarded to a club member who has made an exceptional contribution to our club during the season. This trophy is particularly special (and precious!) as it has as its base an original silver crown from the genuinely first Lutine, the frigate that sunk in 1799.
This year we thought slightly outside that proverbial box and decided to recognise someone without whom the club simply would not function from a sailing point of view. Although engaged with the Club on a professional basis and despite the fact that he collected most of the cups during the evening, this only endorses why we are privileged to have James Close as our professional skipper. For those that have sailed on the X55 over the last 7 years, it goes without saying that Lutine continually looks as good as she did when we bought her, much better in a number of ways in fact. James’s tireless and passionate pursuit of all things Lutine on and off the water have set another extraordinarily high bar. James excels as a race skipper, despite all the limitations of scratch crews thrown at him by the club, he diligently represents our Club on our vitally important corporate charters and we are seeing the benefit of his RYA YM instructing experience. In 2023, James will lead his first Fastnet campaign as Lutine’s skipper.
The Commodore also recognised James’s wife, Olga, for her never-failing support for James and helping out in so many ways. He also gave a special thanks to the enduring support, enthusiasm and input into the Committee of Liz Lotz who was sadly unable to make it to London, a great loss to the evening – especially as she organised it all.
Finally, the Commodore invited everyone to look forward to next year’s black tie end of season dinner and dance (with special input from some of our younger members) at the Honourable Artillery Company in the City!
Photos courtesy of Jeremy Cross