Mackleys take charge
One of the unstated advantages of the annual ritual of the clocks going back is that it gives the wind, not noted for early rising, an extra hour to gird its loins and provide something for morning sailors to work on.
This was certainly the case last Sunday, when it rose just in time for Frostbites to start their Norfolk race punctually. Let's be honest, it wasn't much, and the top mark was perforce set just 30 yards upstream of the start line because, although the New Cut had wind enough there was a lengthy dead patch between it and the clubhouse. The downstream mark was set just past Commissioners Cut, and that sufficed to give the best turnout so far, 11 Norfolks, a reasonable race.
Three father and daughter teams ruled the roost. David and Kate Mackley led throughout, closely pursued by Paul and Elise Carrington, who never really looked like getting past them, while Kevin and Elena Edwards ended comfortably third in their first appearance of the season.
The handicap race afterwards followed a like pattern over the water, with the fleet more widely spaced as the Mackleys, Kate now helming, again showed the way round after a good start, but their lead sufficed to secure the race, as did also the Carrington's second over the water.
Edwards, though, despite crossing the line third, dropped to fifth as both John and Caroline Ellis, fifth over the water, edged past him and Mike Lees and Harry Larter to take third overall, Lees and Larter remaining fourth. Snowflakes sailed their Greenhill Trophy race, abandoned a fortnight earlier, but after a delayed start due to the wind oversleeping decided to make it a 'round the cans' event rather than endure the rigours of a transit through the village.
A mind-boggling course was set, starting at the clubhouse and sailing to the top of Swan reach, then back to the clubhouse, up to the Broad entrance, back again and repeating it, and that was just one round of the five set. Needless to say, the wind up to the top of the reach was described as 'iffy', although much better thereafter, and the six Yeoman and one Solo who competed were doubtless happy to have the race substantially shortened.
As it was, two boats steamed into a commanding lead, the Solo, sailed by Ted Hill, and Roger and Paul Claxton's Yeoman.
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Claxton was first past the post, but Hill's handicap sufficed to give him the Greenhill Trophy.
Peter Marriott and Bob McKean led the other four Yeomans over the line to take third gun, well adrift of the leaders.
The afternoon race, despite the bait of the Yeoman 25th Anniversary Trophy for the combined result, drew only three starters, racing up to Swan Reach, and went to Toby Fields and Mario Tinge, but the Anniversary Trophy was won by Ian Hanson and Q Stewart.
• Saturday saw the final River Cruiser event of the year when 32 came to Horning Ferry to race down to Cold Harbour Farm, near Ludham. Martin Thompson was the victor, followed by Phil Davies who won the NBYC Cruiser Class Trophy.
Even Hickling, more often than not one of the windier venues, found winds shifty, with the added ingredient of rain at times, which ill-suited the strong Laser fleet, who had hoped to take advantage of the Punts having gone in to hibernation.
Nonetheless 19 members came to the line for the first race, with slightly reduced turnouts thereafter.
Peter Dearnley and Di Holmes came out on top with two wins and a second in the Wayfarer, Kevin Postlethwaite almost matching them with a first, second and third, while Bob Hawkins had a second and third and Jim Windley, to whom I am indebted for his helpful reports throughout the season, wound up with a third gun. Sadly, Frostbites noted two recent deaths.
Shirley Fenn died suddenly on Saturday evening after a routine operation. She was a keen social member and condolences go to her husband Peter.
Nick Carter, who was a member for many years and a prominent competitor in the Enterprise class in the late 50s and early 60s, after which he converted to Norfolk Dinghies, died in September aged 96. He and his wife Betty, who survives him, had emigrated to Australia to join their son in the 1970s.
• The Yeoman Open meeting at Snowflakes, advertised in the Green Book for November 21, will in fact be sailed this Sunday, November 7.
All Yeomans are welcome to join in with the event.
Clubs are reminded that the NSBA Fixtures Meeting for the 2011 programme will be held next Wednesday evening.