Ramuz Cup delight for Smith and Falat

Fifteen Broadland clubs raced for the NSBA Ramuz inter-club Challenge Cup in splendid sunshine and a good wind which ranged from Force 2 to Force 4 over the day.

The event was staged at Filby Broad for the first time ever, and sailed in eight Hartley Wayfarers, four provided by the hosts Norfolk Schools SA, who also provided the Safety Boats, and four by the Eighth Norwich Sea Scouts.

A series of heats were sailed, devised so that everyone got at least two races, with the six finalists getting a third. NBYC's Robin Richardson set a challenging course for the day.

The first series was reasonably straightforward with Force 2 winds, while the second provided unplanned drama as the wind briefly gusted to Force 4, catching several unawares, including Peter Crook and Matt Hird of Lady YC, James and Laura Galloway, the young Horning entrants, and Beccles' Rory Kelsey and Jonathan Blankney, all of whom went horizontal! There was also the attraction of the Tour of Britain which, conveniently, passed through during the lunch break.

So to the final, when Waveney Sailability team, last year's hosts, got off to a cracking start and led for the first round, but then succumbed to their neighbours WOBYC, represented by Richard Smith and Veronica Falat. They took command on the second downwind leg and thereafter hung on despite a late challenge from maestros Mike McNamara and Flip Foulds of NBYC, who recovered from penitential rotation at the start to pull their way through the fleet and just edge Waveney Sailability out of third gun, Snowflakes (Jane Pye and Ian Bray).

The Trophy, and commemorative glasses for the final six teams, were presented by Mollie Howes, who ran the event for close on 30 years.

Meanwhile Horning were racing down to Thurne and back when a large fleet including eight Rebels, their best turnout for some time, came to the line at Horning Waterworks, chosen on account of the lack of wind further upstream.

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Close at the start, they remained sociable as barely one minute separated them at the finish at Thurne. There were also many Juniors, some in Rebels and others in dinghies including an Enterprise and a Laser. Rodney Storey, with tow of the Juniors, Will Penny and Charlotte Hammond, won the down-river event while Colin Facey, with Natalie Stiff and Martina Jurgiewicz, triumphed in a windier and close return run and reach.

Some confusion over the Yare Navigation race has come to my attention. The winner, Meggie, was entered by Tom Gentle, and helmed by Stu Rix. I commended Tom over his choice of starting time and tactics. As the owner, technically the honour lies with him, and his choice of the vastly experienced Stu Rix to sail Meggie ranks as another good decision made by him. Chris Hill, in the news pages, and I both got it right!