Organized by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, the Torbay Royal Regatta is normally a three-day festival of competitive racing over the August bank holiday weekend. Given the circumstances this year, there were doubts about any event at all, but when restrictions were eased at the end of July, Sailing Secretary Bob Penfold decided to try and run a reduced regatta. Penfold commented, “We decided to go for two days only, on August 22-23. Part of the purpose of this was to cut the number of volunteers we needed, because three of our five Race Officers are currently shielding (locked down at home), and quite a lot of others who normally operate RIBs are not able to do so at the moment. By sticking to yachts and sportboats only, we could minimize the number of support people required out on the water; we had just two people mark-laying, distanced on the RIB and wearing face coverings, and they had to do just one tow-in. We also reduced the number of people on the committee boat to five, including one couple, and again, they were all distanced.” The organizing team ran no registration, so avoiding the need for people to sit opposite each other, and there was just a limited race office, with reduced hours, all done through the club’s main office with a screen between participants and those at the desk. Sailing instructions and the Notice of Race included clear referrals to both government and RYA COVID-19 online guidance. The weather for the event was good, with gusts of over 25 knots on Saturday. As a result, there was a full weekend of racing, and it was very competitive, especially in the sportsboat classes. There were eight entries in the cruiser fleet, following the SWYTC handicap system, eight entries in the IRC yacht fleet, and 11 sportboats. Some were crewed by “family bubble” teams, while others, being larger, were socially distanced and, where necessary, using mitigation such as masks according to the guidelines. Participants were largely club members, though there were a few boats from further afield. In the end, Paddy Bettesworth’s crew on the J/70 BEWITCHED took the bronze medal in the Sportboats class. The team was grinning from ear-to-ear at the end of racing on Sunday, reveling in the spectacular sailing conditions all weekend long. Prizegivings were in the terraced garden of the club with people well spaced-out and a one-way system. Prizes were sponsored by Maintain South West (Sportsboats), Westaway Sails (IRC class) and Teign Metal Finishes (Cruiser Class). For more Royal Torbay YC Torbay Regatta information, visit

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