Gusts give Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club’s junior regatta a tough test

The numbers for Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club's junior regatta were hit by a westerly wind gusting over 25 knots which left few youngsters brave enough to venture out.

Six boats launched but only five (four Toppers and a Tera) raced and the safety boats were kept busy as capsizes were frequent.

Thirteen-year-old Alex Stoner led throughout the first race but in the second couldn't catch 12-year-old Evan Clough, who gained in confidence as the racing went on.

Alex and Evan were level on points coming into the final race and everything seemed to be going Evan's way as he led for the first lap and a half. But an error at the penultimate mark allowed Alex to overtake and sail to victory. In third place overall was the youngest competitor Thomas Betts, 10, sailing a Tera Sport and demonstrating great determination not to be defeated by the conditions.

By the time the normal club points races started in the afternoon the wind had eased somewhat and 11 boats started in the first fast handicap race. However. the fleet rounded a buoy incorrectly on the first lap. Some realised their mistake and eventually corrected the error but several ended up retiring, while yet others retired due to gear failure.

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By mid afternoon the wind was extremely strong. The Waveneys were reefed but only two actually started and both retired as the gusts increased. Most dinghies went ashore but three Lasers raced again, only to find that the wind died right down.

On Sunday conditions were better. Peter Matthews sailed Valerian to victory in the Waveney class race and Robert Catchpole won the Squib race in Drips. For the Mixed Keels race David Gooch helmed Drips and established a big lead – which was just as well because his rudder came off while on a three-sail reach. It was re-attached without further mishap and Drips took a second win of the day.

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