Capsizes galore as gusts make life tough

Yesterday proved perhaps the most tempestuous Wroxham Open Regatta for many years as sailors struggled to battle against the elements. The day started with a moderate to strong southerly Force 3-4, giving a long run up the broad and good beat back, but the frequent and often vicious gusts soon made their mark.

Yesterday proved perhaps the most tempestuous Wroxham Open Regatta for many years as sailors struggled to battle against the elements.

The day started with a moderate to strong southerly Force 3-4, giving a long run up the broad and good beat back, but the frequent and often vicious gusts soon made their mark.

First winner of the day was Ben Mackintosh and James Rushton soon followed his example by winning the Optimist class Bobby Stevenson Memorial Cup from Tom Needham and Oli Chapman.

The first sign of the trouble to come came with the Allcomers A, when Nick Gill, sailing his YBOD, lost his mast after a collision with another boat in the Allcomers A. But conditions did not worsen, and, for the second day running, Sally Dugdale won the morning Yeomans at the last gasp, this time from Chris Hanson, who had just pipped Ivan Ringwood after the toughest of fights.


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The Cruiser races were relatively uneventful, if one excludes the fact that James Gill's Achievement nose-dived and filled her cockpit, Cirrus retired with rigging problems, and five of the 10 fast boats, and three of the nine slower boats were over at the start. Thereafter Ian Tims won the Blakes Cup and second placed Mike Collins the Sir Robert Price Trophy in the BODs.

Then the fun began.

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Watched by the committee, guests and president June Trafford, 18 dinghies set off for the major Allcomers B awards. Increasing wind saw a frenetic start and capsizes too numerous to detail, save that of a Norfolk, sailed by Jonathan Tyrrell, and crewed by Michaela Holmes, who turned over in front of the clubhouse.

There followed the YBOD race for the Silver Washed Challenge Vase. One reef had already been ordered, and a sizeable fleet set off for the up-broad start. The wind built up, and two more YBODs lost their masts in quick succession, while the rest returned to the clubhouse as race officer Robert Self wisely postponed the start. Co-incidentally, the victims this time were brothers Ian and Michael Tims. With a second reef ordered, and the wind gusting over 35 knots, the race was started almost an hour later, with a record low entry of nine, in which Christian Young, crewed by Ian Tims and Natalie Chapman, took the lead and held off a strong challenge from Matthew Thwaites to take the honours, albeit after the closest of squeaks with the short jetty at the finishing line.

The programme caught up to schedule with the following series, notably Allcomers B, won by Nathan Ackroyd, from Jordan Rumsby, with third placed Roshan Walkerly taking the Junior Challenge Cup, and Flip Foulds and James Dugdale celebrating James' school award for sailing by capsizing.

For the second time the youngsters in the Optimists did themselves proud, James Rushton winning again from Oli Chapman, whose start was one of the best of the day.

The rest of the programme, the Ladies Races and the Rowing Races, were abandoned on account of the weather, which, as might have been expected, thereupon improved. One nice touch was added when the Red Arrows roared overhead at precisely the moment that Geoff Coulthard, crewed by Auriel Gibson, got his second win of the day to take the Stevenson Cup in the Norfolks which, like the YBODs, sported two reefs.

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