Loon spotters are given racing bonus
Crowds turned out at Rollesby to mark the New Year, possibly encouraged by reports of the Great Northern Diver (Loon) being sighted.
Whether they saw the bird I know not, but they did see three competitive races from 21 boats contesting their New Year Open meeting over three races.
With the wind blowing down the broad a long beat was set. Darren Pike's Phantom set the pace, leading all the way despite stiff competition from Mike and Sam McNamara's Wayfarer and Barry Bradford and Dennis Manning's Albacore.
However, the Solos were looking well placed to save their time at the half way stage when the wind threw a googly and briefly becalmed them at the windward mark. This enabled the McNamaras to extract the utmost from their spinnaker to power on and pip Pike for first place by a second on handicap, with the leading Solo, Ian Ayres, third.
The second race produced the same result despite Paul Wren switching to his Phantom and, briefly leading with Matt Boreham's Laser heading the pursuing pack.
The last race saw a drop in wind strength and a shift just before the start. Bradford led initially but the McNamaras soon came through to win, while, with Pike having gone home after the second race, and Ayres retired after breaking a tooth head butting his mainsheet block, Bob Hawkins took third in his Solo.
The McNamaras were clear winners, while the competition was such that Hawkins took second with 14 points, one ahead of Bradford and Manning.
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The wind was less kind to Frostbites – a reasonably steady Force 1-2 but from the SSW, resulting in minimal beating.
Paul and Elise Carrington were the stars of the day, winning the first race comfortably, and adding a third, in which they dead heated with Kevin and Ellis Edwards, and a second over the water to take the Moore Trophy on the tie-break from David and Kate Mackley, with the Edwards, winners of the third race, overall third.
The adjustments for the 2000 trophy, sailed on personal handicaps, left the Carringtons as winners.
In this contest, Ray Johnson and Wendy Bush moved up to second overall thanks to their second race second spot over the water, moved up to first on handicap, and the Mackleys third.
• The news that Mike and Anne Evans have sold YBOD Alder Kitten marks the end of an era.
Eight times winner of the Gold Cup, they dominated a highly competitive class over 32 years, and, although challenged recently by the new generation they remained front runners and finishing well up.
Mike cannot see himself sitting on the bank, half pint of shandy in his hand, watching the competition, and, frankly, nor can I. Of course, Mike, if you want a new challenge, you are not too old to buy a Norfolk and join us at Frostbites!