Dramatic finale to Punt Club Regatta

Bank holiday weekend saw the final meetings of the Regatta season at Barton. The Norfolk Punt Club's annual fiesta was sailed on Saturday and Sunday, followed on Monday by Barton Broad Open Regatta.

Bank holiday weekend saw the final meetings of the Regatta season at Barton. The Norfolk Punt Club's annual fiesta was sailed on Saturday and Sunday, followed on Monday by Barton Broad Open Regatta.

Saturday kicked off with very light westerlies until the sea breeze came in late in the afternoon. Sunday was altogether better, with the westerlies building up to gusts nudging the 20 knot mark.

The predominant classes were the River Cruisers, YBODs, and Punts, with a handful of Yeomans and BODs and a Star and a Rebel.

I counted 16 different dinghy classes on Sunday, ranging from Optimists to International 14s and various RS boats. Also present was the 79-year-old recently-restored wherry Ardea, resplendent in her shining varnish and joined in due course by Hathor to add to the festive spirit.

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The Fast cruiser races for the Domino Trophy produced a tie-breaking finish when Geoff Angell and Chris Pank finished dead level, sadly for Angell the last race went to Pank, or at any rate half of it went to Pank as the handicaps produced the rarity of a dead heat for first, Steve Seeney providing the other half of the winning combination.

Pank, by the way, when not sailing Whisper, reverted to his formative days many years ago by turning out with his young son in that rarely seen class, the Mirror and went on to win one of the races.

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The slower cruisers saw Phillip Davies lead all the way counting two wins and a second. Chris Bunn dominated the White Boats.

The Junior battle was largely fought out between Lara Cator, Flip Foulds and Ian Mairs, but the Sallis brothers and Jonathan Rumsby all played their part in some competitive sailing ready for next weekend's big event.

Simon Clayton, Chris Pilling and Jim Rosser led in the dinghy section, while Mark Elson and Peter Bainbridge starred in the Punts.

Monday, being the Bank Holiday, should have surprised nobody by producing gusts up to Force 6, prompting many intended competitors to opt for spectating.

There were two casualties among the cruisers with Corsair laid over by one massive blast just before their start, and only saved from sinking by desperate bailing from her crew and other volunteers.

Harrier, well past her centenary and recently returned after a comprehensive refit, suffered a broken mast.

Others revelled in the conditions, with spectacular starts especially among the MODs and YBODs. Ian Tims demonstrated that age is no barrier as he won three trophies in the oldest surviving YBOD.

Colin Little emerged on top in the cruisers while Richard Whitefoot won a family battle in the Yeomans, beating his father George for the Wherry Trophy.

Six Norfolks warmed up for next weekend in their favourite conditions with Ray Johnson taking the honours while Lara Cator won the Juniors in fine style from Jordan Rumsby, making her the most successful lady helm - although Emma Lewis in the Punts ran her close on this respect.

On Wroxham Broad, Northern Rivers took advantage of the migration to Barton to hold their annual visit. Sadly, a flat calm made sailing impossible on Saturday but on Sunday three races were sailed for the Founders Cup, all won by Nigel Wordingham. The Novices Cup was won by new members John and Sue Tibbenham in their first cruiser race.

David Pain won the Welsh National Optimist Championships, with brother Tomas eighth, and the Rushton brothers, Jack and James, 13th and 33rd respectively.

Nathan and Anna Ackroyd came second in a windy Irish Feva National Championship, sailed in Dublin Bay.

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