2016 GP14 Nationals – The Rum Punch Reports

The Rum Punch Report – Saturday night

Having done some intensive training for the latest Rum Punch Reunion I was primed and ready as we massed at the club on Saturday night for what sounded like a low key warm up to the week with curry and a quiz.

With the dining room packed and buzzing with recounted tales from recent GP14 events the curry was dispatched quickly and the piled plates ensuring we lived up to our reputation as a class that likes value for money.

The Race Officer’s briefing was brief in the noisy demonstration area before we headed back upstairs for a presentation of flowers and lifetime membership to former secretary Hilary for her contribution the association and then the quiz. My winning strategy for this was to hand pick a team of noted academics and street smarts (myself, Richard Ham, Simon Redhead, Justin Smith and Mark Taylor) and create an encouraging environment fueled by wine and beer. I’d like to say we didn’t gloat about the win but that would be a lie!

As the night plodded on the drinkers got fewer but louder as the club tried in vain to coax us out. In hindsight an early night would have been a better idea given the wavy conditions that followed on Sunday but you live and learn….and do the same again the next night! 

The Rum Punch Report – Sunday

There were some very weary, and in my case, grumpy sailors who turned up for the BBQ on Sunday night. We all managed to man up though and force down another beer. Given that 66% of the people in my accommodation had gear failures which resulted in DNFs I thought it would be a sombre night.

You can always rely on someone in the fleet to cheer you up. When I say cheer you up, I do of course mean, do something daft that you can relentlessly mock them for. And this is why we have the Naff Awards (formerly known as the ‘Dick of the Day’). Today’s winner apparently packed plenty of knickers but forgot her buoyancy aid and was unable to sail! She was presented with some bubble wrap as a substitute by gleeful compare Gill Beddow.

The Rum Punch Report – Monday

There was great anticipation in the bar on Monday night as the assembled crowd replayed Sam Watson and Andy Hunter’s start line incident with Justin Smith and Sarah Collingwood. We watched it over and over again, each time eliciting the same reaction! There was a point when we thought the boys weren’t going to turn up but, they did. Fair play to Sam for being a good sport about these things, it is probably the amount of practice he’s had.

As we watched it back there was a running commentary from Sam and Justin (which you can hear in the social  round up video) which was funny. When it got to Naff Award time Gill Beddow appeared dressed in a poncho. Poor Sam knew what was coming as Gill pulled out a couple of Wilkos ponchos with Sam modelling on the front. Gill then asked for those who would be out for the night with Sam to come up and put on a poncho, just in case there was another incident like Barbados when Kevin ended up with Sam’s dinner in his hair!

Following the award we started the games! Firstly the indoor boat racing with the bronze, silver and gold fleets battling it out. Even the cruising fleet go competitive and we put out a bucket and spade on the floor to sail around to make them feel at home. Next up was the string game. Team Poncho was victorious against Team Ham Fisted so we invited the OK fleet to battle it out with the best of our best. The did, of course lose!

The Rum Punch Report – Tuesday

Although the sailing was pretty dull there were a number of highlights on the water. My favourite was as we were attempting to float back in after the racing had been delayed. Hearing some shouting and a splash I looked over to see Helen Allen instructing Magic to ‘paddle faster’ as he attempted to swim the boat home pushing from the back. Even the gentle verbal encouragement and light laughter from Helen didn’t help the boat gain any speed but it was fun to watch.

We then engaged Richard Ham and Vicky Ford in a paddle race. Coming from behind to overtake them I marvelled at our superior speed until I watched Vicky’s paddling technique and realised it was all show and no muscle!

As the boats got closer to shore the night’s Naff Award was decided as Nick Deverux and Geoff Edwards got over enthusiastic with their pumping and capsized. Thankfully it was close to shore so that as many people as possible could enjoy the spectacle. They lost their hatch cover and spinnaker pole when they went in and so were awarded a snorkel and mask by Gill Beddow in the evening to help them locate their missing kit.

Also in the awards was Frank Nickless. Having got a little stick after the first few days for being in the silver fleet, the light winds gave Frank the opportunity to try the bronze fleet out for size finishing last in one race. He was awarded a wind sock by Gill to help him try and locate the wind the next day. (It must have worked as he did go on to win the Silver Fleet.)

It was also the evening that Duncan Greenhalgh handed over the Presidential reigns to Ann Penny. Duncan gave his speech that he had fallen asleep during writing the night previously. Thankfully, he and the AGM audience stayed awake.

Later we celebrated both of them with some shots of rum and shared a slice of pizza between 15 of us. The bar ran out of rum, having already run out of cider and diet coke so we moved on, strongly suggesting to them that as it was only Tuesday, they needed to stock up!

The Rum Punch Report – Thursday

The nights are all starting to roll together into a blur of rum and fun! Today was sponsored by Ningbo Palletised Distribution so we thought it would be fun to use some of their pallets to build a presentation podium for the awards that evening.

I (Michelle) was particularly excited by this as the go-karting awards were also to be done on the podium. The go-karting was great fun. The place was as unhelpful as possible with us wanting to race each other so we drew up some racing instructions (RIs), issues our Notice of Race and designated it a two race series with no discards. We were split into four groups of five with there to be one timed lap to count for each and then the results ranked and added together. We had enough nationalities for an international jury and rules were debated and discussed in detail before we bagan.

With Mark and Monkey in the same group and Team Devereux represented by Nick and Hugh it looked to be a good day’s racing. Myself and Dodge had some unfinished business from last year although I wasn’t hopeful of being able to beat him as easily as Jim Toothill last year!

As it came down to the last lap of the last race Dodge was leading followed by me with Monkey in third. As we watched monkey wave at Mark as he passed him he stuck in a quick lap to finish second in that race. On the rankings we were tied for second but after much heckling from Nick Devereux I conceded that on count back perhaps Monkey should get second and I third.

So, to the Naff Awards for the night. This was decided by a jury with a few to choose from. Lewis Coppinger lost his trolley on Tuesday, not quite getting the idea of the tide and leaving it too low on the shore. He had already been helped with this by Gill tying to helium balloons to his trailer for Thursday, one with and ‘angry bird’ on confirming this is Lewis’ trailer and the other a big L. The other nominee was the very well hydrated Andy Hunter. Both Sam and Andy are often seen relieving themselves on the start line (explains a lot about their starts!) but for this nomination Andy was seen having to go half way down the first beat. He won, and was presented with a champagne bottle that fired confetti.


There was no time to do the Naff Awards on Friday due to the main prize giving, although if we had it would have been myself (Michelle) and Chris who would have won.

In the interest of appearing fair this was the incident enjoyed by so many on the beach….

Having had our borrowed lifting rudder KO’d thanks to a start line incident with Sam Watson and Andy Hunter we were sailing with the fixed rudder. Chris was clearly more worried about the rudder than his crew when he instructed me to jump out as we neared the shore. Grossly overestimating my 5 foot 5 I was nowhere near the floor hanging on to the front of the boat desperately trying to keep us from sailing away. I politely informed him of our predicament with a vivid description of how I most certainly was not touching the floor. The precious fixed rudder having been safely stowed in the boat Chris thought better of taking down the sails and decided to see if I was joking about not being able to touch the bottom by also jumping in the water.

At this point I asked Chris if he was touching the floor. He was struggling to reply through the giggling, and as I attempted to swim stronger and keep the boat, with Chris now hanging onto the side somewhere near the shore. This was of course a no goer but provided much entertainment for Sarah Jarman and Helen Allen in particular. As I considered if it would be poor form to just let the boat go and swim to shore for a beer Magic swam over, got in and took the sails down and helped me swim the boat home. I have now learned the lesson that until I hear scraping of rudder on sand I am not leaving the boat!

The prize giving was nice and it was good to chat to friends old and new in the bar before a group of us headed to The Venue for some dancing. Lewis and Jacob lead the way with some sailing inspired dance moves as we wowed the locals with our ability to hoist, pump and then gybe the spinnaker. Before the night got too messy Jacob and Richard from Toddbrook volunteered themselves for an interview. The full length version was very funny but there had to be some editing, it’s on the event page if you want to check it out along with a video of the socials. Thanks to everyone who made the event so much fun, see you all in Looe!