River Cruisers are out in force on Wroxham Broad

The Norfolk Broads Yacht Club hosted their last open event of the season over the weekend, with a River Cruiser Class regatta on Wroxham Broad.

The club put on a four-race series over the two days in very mixed conditions, with a modest entry of 11 boats.

However, it was good to see several yachts travel up to the broad from EACC, and No.127 Privateer all the way from the southern rivers.

The two races on Saturday were held in very blustery conditions, so variable that three boats thought better of it and stayed in the bar.

The Bermudan-rigged boats all reefed, and the gaff boats mostly shortened sail to some extent to better handle the wind, which was generally steady at 20knots but with frequent gusts up to 30knots.

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It was, to begin with, something of a David and Goliath contest with the smallest boat Amaryllis, sailed by Chris Tuckett, pitched against the biggest, fastest boat, Stella, sailed by Tim Frary, with the former making the best of the conditions.

At the end of the first day, no one was offering any odds against Amaryllis taking the weekend as she was overnight leader with two firsts.

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But the next day was a very different kettle of fish as the wind dropped away to almost nothing overnight, and whilst it was a beautiful day, the last race eventually became a drifting match.

Those conditions, a marked contrast to the day before, suited both Stella and Starlight Lady, and those two steadily drew away and vied for the lead between them some way ahead of the rest of the pack.

In the meantime, and by pure dint of consistency across all conditions, Swallow, the oldest competing yacht there, quietly elevated herself into lead the series by the close of the third race with a third, second and fourth place results to count, and one more race to go.

Sadly, the wind dropped to almost nothing by the end of the fourth race and that became her discard.

The club allowed one discard from the four-race series so three races to count.

With both Stella and Amaryllis having two firsts each, but back of the pack results for both of their respective other races, it was a very close finish in the overall placings.

The first four boats were all within a point of the lead, and both Swallow and Stella were equal first on nine points.

Ultimately it came down to which boat had the better result in the last race, and so the Funnell Trophy was won by Frary in Stella, with Richard Lord second in Swallow and Tuckett third in Amaryllis.

Stella also took the Presidents Trophy, originally presented by June Trafford in 2011 – the first time it had been presented to a River Cruiser.

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