Retired Norfolk businessman continues his sailing success

James Tillett leading the pack in number 56 in Blakeney Pit. Picture: Courtesy Kate Tillett

James Tillett leading the pack in number 56 in Blakeney Pit. Picture: Courtesy Kate Tillett - Credit: Archant

Having sailed in Norfolk for 73 years, retired businessman James Tillett has once again taken home a coveted Stiffkey Cockle Sailing Club Trophy.

James Tillett. Picture: Courtesy Kate Tillett

James Tillett. Picture: Courtesy Kate Tillett - Credit: Archant

This is the seventh time that Mr Tillett, 84, has won the trophy since buying the sailing dinghy in 2002.

A Stiffkey Cockle is a 15ft 2in clinker styled sailing dingy that was first built by George Hewitt at Stiffkey Marine in 1996.

There are now 118 boats in the fleet.

Since his retirement 19 years ago, Mr Tillett has sailed with the Stiffkey Cockle Club in the Blakeney Pit out of Morston Creek on the North Norfolk coast.

He has won the Cockle World Championships twice, the Main Series four times, and the Evening Series seven times.

This year he cut down on the number of races he competed in to focus on one championship - the Evening Series challenge.

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The series consists of six races with points awarded for each race.

At the end of the series the lowest score is eliminated and the winner is the sailor who has the most combined points from the remaining five scores.

Mr Tillett received the trophy at a prize giving on October 27.

He said: 'I'm very fortunate that I'm fit enough to still be able to sail competitively.

'The fact that I can still do it is a wonderful thing.'

Having first raced in a 12ft national on Wroxham Broad just after the Second World War, Mr Tillett's sailing career saw him compete in nationals and white boats at Norfolk Broads Yacht Club (NBYC) in Wroxham; in Norfolk Dinghy's at Frostbites Sailing Club in Norwich; and in a Broads One Design (Brown Boat) at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club in Lowestoft.

He is also a past Commodore of NBYC.

Current chairman of Stiffkey Cockle Sailing Club Andrew Chapman said: 'James is a remarkable man, quietly competitive and a very nice person.

'He is a fine example to us all and sets a tremendous pace on the water.

'We are proud to have him in the club and see him continue to win prizes.'

Stiffkey Cockle Sailing Club is a single class sailing club based around the Stiffkey Cockle boat and based at Morston Creek in North Norfolk.

There are about 70 members of which 40 are racing members.