Ellis calls the tune with Blue Jacket

Seventeen cruisers came to the line for the first race in EACC/Thurne Mouth Open Regatta weekend.

Sailed in a south-westerly of around 15 knots gusting to 27, they were contesting the Lady Caroline Cup, which went to Matthew Ellis' distinctive blue-sailed Blue Jacket, third across the line behind Moonshadow (Chris Bunn) and Joan (David Frary).

Three entrants subsequently turned out for the Dunkirk Trophy for crews, won by Tony Southwood sailing Jimmy James' Bishybarnybee. They were joined by a handful of White Boats and a Mirror and Optimist, sailed by Chris Pank and son William respectively.

Sunday saw the winds very much the same, and one assumes that the party the previous night accounted for a reduced entry save for the White Boats, where Patrick Richardson and Paul Howes dominated.

But Monday, despite another sociable evening, saw the cruisers reach 22 starters for the Ollorenshaw Cup, won by Steve Seeney, second over the water behind Frary, whose provisional handicap placed him third behind Colin Little.

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By now the wind had backed and was producing 12 knots gusting to 19, making conditions rather easier, and no fewer than nine White Boats, one of the best turnouts for some years, came to the line for the first of two races for the Berry Cup.

Richardson, one of the most regular competitors on this event, crossed the line just 20 seconds ahead of Matthew Thwaites, but there was a second race, in which Thwaites won by almost a minute from Paul Carrington, leaving Richardson third, and Thwaites duly collected the silverware.

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Before this, the Cruisers sailed their Passage Race for the Cock o' the Broads and several other trophies.

The wind was still dropping, and, to add to the interest, swung through 180 degrees, giving some the slower boats additional problems as they found themselves beating both upstream and downstream.

First over the line was Moonshadow, taking the Ladybird Trophy, but his handicap of plus five per cent pushed him down to fourth, while Joan, finishing third six minutes later, took first place on handicap, but, again, was ruled out of the trophy listings by his provisional handicap. The Cock o' the Broads this year is David Thompson's Cordon Rouge.

With winds gusting well into the Force Five category it was hardly surprising that the BOD entry of 15 was significantly down on last year.

Sailing reefed for several of the seven races, competition was intense, but one helm stood out head and shoulders above the rest. Jimmy Tubby walked away with the Broads OD Challenge Trophy with an unassailable four wins and three seconds, two of which he discarded.

His closest rival, Mark Oakes, counted four third places and a last race win, with Jeremy Ives' solitary third helped propel him into third.

Monday's races qualified for the Navigators and General trophy, all three counting, and again Tubby came out well on top ahead of Oakes.

Nine Stars, the biggest gathering locally for some years, fought it out for their Centenary Chalice, struggling somewhat in the heavy conditions in the early part of the event, and two boats suffered gear failure. Five races out of seven qualified, and Nick Eastwood did it the hard way after missing the two Saturday races.

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