|The First National Police Sailing
From the Police Review dated 25 May 1973
35 years ago the first National Police Regatta took place on Queen Mary Reservoir.
Conditions on the first day were grim and Derek Westall's wooden hulled Minisail with sliding seat (pictured below) had relished the conditions. My memory is quite clear - having sustained cracked ribs whilst crewing a Mirror 14, gone to hospital, bound up and told 'you can sail, but don't get it wet'... Fortunately the next day was very steady indeed.
I am grateful to a fellow competitor at the time,
John Allen (Notts) who handed me the old copy of the Police Review at
this year's Nationals and to Jane's for permission to reprint the
National Police Sailing
THE FIRST NATIONAL Police sailing competition took place
on 17 and 18 May, attracting a total entry of 68 dinghies.
The event was held at Queen Mary Reservoir Sailing Club, Staines, Surrey—the largest man-made reservoir in the world. Conditions varied immensely and provided something for all classes of dinghy, varying from force 7 wind on Thursday to a mere force 2 at times on Friday.
Entries were received from 22 different Forces, and one competitor, P.C. Bill Hill travelled all the way from Fife.
Twenty-one different classes of boat were entered, the fastest being 505s and the slowest (but not on handicap) Mirror 10s.
The first race, a practice for the Longhurst Trophy and the M.P.A.A. cup, brought only 21 boats to the line—hardly surprising, as by the time race officer, Peter Brewer, decided to abandon the race (wind was up to force 7) no fewer than 16 sailing types were swimming and the rescue boats were hard put to round them all up. One casualty was Bill Hill, who had the misfortune to capsize and break his mast when his Osprey inverted and jammed on the reservoir bed. Very hard luck for Bill. Another blow fell when Det. P.C. Stan Laurenson Batten (Metro), sailing the M.P. Sailing Club's brand new Enterprise (Metrognome) for the first time, lost his mast also. The step appeared to be defective, allowing the mast to twist out of the mounting and shoot over the side, narrowly missing the crew, before finishing in the 'oggin, "L-shaped".
The shaken survivors gathered together for the first points race and this time 37 boats made the start. Conditions had bettered somewhat to force 6. An early leader was Metro's P.C. Ross Elliston sailing his new International Moth (The Urge). Ross had wisely put a couple of reefs in his mainsail and for a while it seemed as though he had the race sewn up. Bad luck for Ross, though. Since the wind strength fell a little and the Moth, which had been flying rather than floating, lost speed and he had to be content with a 10th place. Not so for Sergt. Mike Treloar and his son Nigel (Somerset/Bath), sailing an International 420 in a faultless race to take the first spot from Metro's Chief Inspr. Dan Glen in an Albacore (Alibi) by 33 seconds only. The evergreen P.C. Bill Holley (Metro), also in an Albacore (Adios), was a couple of minutes behind and marked up third. Fourth was Kent's Det. P.C. Dave Sinnock in his new Enterprise (Endora) — always a danger man. Another Metro. Albacore helm, P.C. Dennis Chapman, was fifth, and Det. P.C. Colin Cooper from Birmingham took his Merlin Rocket into sixth place.
Friday brought forth a complete change in the conditions. Early mist lifted, sun shone, and the wind was down to 2-3. Sixty-one boats went out, including Ross Elliston with all his reefs out. This time Ross made no mistake and romped home first. Bill Holley took second place, just four seconds ahead of Dan Glen. Cadet Martin Parker, the only Surrey entrant, sailed a beautiful race, taking fourth place in his Merlin Rocket (Lullaby). P.C. Alan Gimes, from Kent, sailing his new Solo, managed fifth place, leaving Dave Sinnock to take sixth. Alan and Dave were only 33 seconds apart. The wind was too light for Mike Treloar who dropped down to 12th.
The final points race also served as the event for the abandoned Longhurst/M.P.A.A. trophies. Wind was up to about 4 and 57 boats started—and again single-handed Ross Elliston made no mistake to make sure of most of the awards. The big moment of this race was the struggle between Bill Holley and Dan Glen, second place going to Bill Holley by some two feet, both being credited with exactly the same times. The spectators were all shouting encouragement at this most exciting finish, only 50 yards from the shore. Fourth place went to P.C. Colin Spikesley (Beds/Luton) who sailed his Minisail very consistently throughout the whole meeting. P.C. Derek Westall (South Wales), also in a Minisail was just 10 seconds behind, taking fifth place. Dave Sinnock was 3 seconds longer and took the sixth berth.
The presentation dinner, held at the re-built Imber Court sports club. was attended by 165 people. Mr. Brian Clarke, editor of Police Review, presented the magnificent Police Review award. Commodore, M.P. Sailing Club, announced the winners, and the other awards were presented by Mrs. J. Alderson, wife of Assistant Commissioner J. Alderson who has kindly agreed to be the next commodore on the retirement of Commander Davies.
Winner: "Police Review" award for overall winner,
Longhurst trophy for first Metro helm in third points race, and
M.P.A.A. cup for first overall in third points race: P.C. Ross Elliston
2, P.C. Bill Holley (Metro)
3, Chief Inspr. D. Glen (Metro)
4, Sergt. M. Treloar (Somerset/Bath)
5. Det. P.C. D. Sinnock (Kent)
6, P.C. D. Chapman (Metro)
Commodore's cup (donated by Commander Davies for Mirror class competition): Chief Inspr. T. Briggs (Northumberland)
First Albacore: P.C. Bill Holley (Metro) First Enterprise: Det. P.C. Dave Sinnock (Kent)
First single-hander: P.C. Ross Elliston (Metro)
The M.P. Sailing Club would like to thank Police Review, the M.P.A.A., and Queen Mary Sailing Club for their very great assistance. The club would also like to wish Commander Davies a long and happy retirement and to thank him for the truly magnificent Commodore's cup.
It is hoped that the success of this first event will encourage another Force to organise a similar event next year. Any interested Force is requested to contact ..........