A Breeze for Chettleburgh
The 35th Yare Navigation Race, organised as ever by Coldham Hall SC, was sailed on Saturday in sunshine and light westerly variable winds.
With the tide predicted to turn well on the day most of the 45 entrants opted for a late start. Those who did not regretted it as they found themselves battling to punch against a strong ebb current underlying the flood tide, once it eventually got under way around 2pm.
Breeze, helmed by Colin Chettleburgh, winner in 2001 and 2003, won the race in a time of four hours 41 minutes. Second was Geoff Angell, in Pippa, with her distinctive tan sails, clearly relieved that his grounding by Reedham Bridge and subsequent salvage was inside the closed zone and he consequently suffered no setback.
The subsidiary trophies went three ways, the Wilberforce Smith (smallest boats) to Henry Fillery and Baby breeze, the Starlight Lady Trophy (largest) to Chettleburgh, and the Jeckells Trophy, formerly the Grant Thornton Trophy, now re-sponsored) went to Angell for the 24-28ft boats.
There remained the Moonraker Trophy, for the fastest passage, and this was won by Nick Matthews in Starlight Lady, a good 20 minutes ahead of Martin Broom's Raisena, despite Broom reinforcing his crew with a technical adviser in the shape of Ian Tims. The Breeze Trophy was won by PJ Smith's Pandora for 8 hrs 51 minutes endurance, which made him not only the first to start, at 9.30am, but also the last to finish.
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Given the conditions it was hardly surprising that the faster rated boats dominated the overall outcome with the minus one pc, zero, and plus rated craft all making the top 14 on a day when the run downriver, with the temperamental wind aided by the tide and current, produced passages of under two hours to Reedham, nearer to 90 minutes for the faster boats. Those up with the lark quickly rued their impetuosity as they spent up to five hours below Reedham vainly trying to punch the adverse current and tide. Their agony lasted well after the tide turned, and not until after 5pm could it be said that the flood tide was again carrying them, which was just as well as the wind, which rarely topped Force Two, was in terminal decline. But they finished, and were able to enjoy the hospitality and entertainment laid on by the new owners of the Coldham Hall Inn, George and Natalie Linder, the latter of course being well informed on the race as a former Anglia Afloat employee.
At the other end of the scale 27 Optimists congregated on Wroxham Broad for four races. Chay Taylor, one of a raft fo visitors, from Burnham SC, won the Gold Fleet. Arthur Brown (Royal Burnham YC) counted a last race win to come second with Alistair Grant (Alton Water SC) completing a visiting hat-trick by coming third.
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Other visitors came from Aldeburgh, Corinthian Otters, and Upper Thames and Great Moor SCs. Billy Johnson's fifth overall put him top NBYC member in the Gold Fleet. The Silver Fleet saw Charlotte Harper win three of her four races, with fellow NBYC member Mack Mackay winning one and adding a couple of seconds to take runner-up spot. Bethan Matthew sailed consistently with two seconds and two thirds for third overall ahead of Arabella Sabberton.
Horning SC will be busy this weekend, with the Norfolk Dinghy Championships being sailed on both days, while on the Saturday they have a Junior Regatta followed by an Open Dinghy meeting, including an Enterprise Woodcock Salver event on the Sunday. Other two day events comprise Yare SC's Cantley Open Regatta, and NBYC's Open Yeoman meeting. On Sunday Martham Boating Assn hold their Open Keel Boat Autumn Passage Race.
October starts with NBYC's two day double-hander, the British Star Championships and an Open Wayfarer meeting.