Acle Regatta makes most of conditions

Alan MallettIn certain esoteric circles 33 is regarded as having special significance, and after last weekend Acle Regatta must be added to their number. The 33rd event of the current revival saw a record 22 Cruisers on the line, fortunately not all at the same time, plus four YBODs, and to cap it the turnout was matched by benign winds and unbroken sunshine.Alan Mallett

In certain esoteric circles 33 is regarded as having special significance, and after last weekend Acle Regatta must be added to their number.

The 33rd event of the current revival saw a record 22 Cruisers on the line, fortunately not all at the same time, plus four YBODs, and to cap it the turnout was matched by benign winds and unbroken sunshine. Those going to Thurne this weekend may reflect, ruefully, that but for the calendar changes some 30 and more years ago it would have been the Bank Holiday weekend.

The organisers decided to split the Cruiser start into three sections on Saturday, and, with rather more wind on Sunday, four sections, and this, coupled with the fact that the starts were mainly reaching, ensured that no serious problems arose.

The lower mark near Acle Bridge saw some hair-raising congestion and spectators were observed to avert their gaze, but all went well, and hire craft and competitors kept clear of each other.


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The event was sponsored by Phil Scott of Whitegate Farm Cider, with Horizon Craft, Acle Parish Council, and local businesses all chipping in, and, thanks to a vibrant social scene, local charities again benefited by a four-figure sum.

The Richie Dugdale team dominated the Cruiser fleet in Zingara, winning the Curiosity Cup on Saturday from Paul Carrington and Hilary Franzen, followed on Sunday morning by the Cruiser Trophy for the Pursuit Race, beating Colin Chettleburgh and, again, Hilary Franzen, and this sufficed to earn them the Acle SC Shield overall, with Hilary second and P Davies third.

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The final race, for the Cordy Cup, went to Richard Parker.

Moving on to the YBODs, Paul Howes had Purple Emperors rig in better shape as he won two of the three trophies, while M Cowley took the third.

Visitors accounted for 10 of the 15 Oppies at Wroxham's Open on Saturday, and took the silverware home with them.

In the Gold Fleet David Lebrouche, of Dabchicks SC, won the second and fourth race to finish ahead of the home club's Emily King, who pipped clubmate Tom Johnson for second spot despite the latter's third race win, while Martha Rhodes (Middle Nene SC) started off with a win but then declined a bit to finish fourth. In the less experienced Regatta Fleet Middle Nene's Hannah Rhodes matched Lebrouche's record to win by one point from NBYC's Charlotte Harper, winner of the third race, and another local, Alexandra Knight, first race winner, who came third.

With the heavy artillery, so to speak, on the Bure, Northern Rivers went to Horsey Mere for their summer regatta, a chancy title at this time of year but they got away with it. Even there, winds were light and favoured the lower handicap boats, particularly the two Pegasus 800s. One of these, Foxy, with Clive Wright and Bob Nicholls, got his start right in the first race and led almost to the end, when the other, Nigel Wordingham and Roger Pritchett's Cho Cho San, made the better approach and won by 30 seconds.

The next two races, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday, saw Wordingham in control with Wright always on his transom but never quite close enough, but in the almost flat calm that heralded the final race Wright alone found the wind to start well, and despite being passed by Wordingham, recovered to win.

Michael Pollitt's obituary of Frank Dye (EDP Saturday) revived memories of an essentially modest man with a touch of eccentricity. I remember him dropping in at Frostbites many years ago after one of his epic trips, I think it was the two-week trip to Iceland, and almost bemoaning the fact that they had only experienced four Force 8s and three capsizes, as well as a broken mast, rather a dull trip! A delightful and charming man, with a great sense of humour, he will be missed. He leaves a wife, Margaret, who participated in many of his adventures. His funeral will be held at St Nicholas Church, Wells, tomorrow week at 1.30pm.

The principal event this weekend is the three-day fiesta at Thurne Mouth, EACC's Open meeting on Saturday and Sunday, followed by Thurne Mouth Open regatta on Bank Holiday Monday. The same three days also feature NBYC's Open BOD meeting. Yare SC sail their Ray Perriman Memorial Open Trophy from Somerleyton to Beccles on Saturday, followed on Sunday by a cruise upriver to Geldeston, and back again on Monday. The Power Boats are on Oulton on Sunday, and GYGSC have an Open Day on Monday.

The first weekend in June is the now world famous 50th Navigators and General Three Rivers Race, starting at Horning from 11am and featuring 200 contestants.

However there are other events. Coldham Hall SC start their sailing appreciation evening sessions on Thursday, June 3, running every Thursday until July 1, NBYC have an Open Junior Regatta on Friday, June 4 and, on Sunday June 6, an Open Rater race.

At Lowestoft, the Squibs contest the Reynolds Bowl on Saturday and Sunday, and GYGSC have their Sprint series on Sunday.

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