Roundup: Ray and Wendy shine at Hickling

The Norfolk Dinghy class has seen minimal activity this summer so there was relief when 10 turned up at Hickling for their Championships last weekend.

Hickling is a popular choice, offering arguably the best sailing water on the broads and first rate facilities and hospitality with it, and the weekend fully met the expectations of the competitors.

The event proved a triumph for Ray Johnson and Wendy Bush who, just a year ago, took the Novices Cup. This year they took the 21st Anniversary Challenge Cup as winners, plus the Tideway Trophy for the best performances in all the Open events for the class during the year, after following Saturday's second place with three straight wins.

Kevin and Ellie Edwards took the honours in the opening race on Saturday afternoon, sailed in a Force 3-4 ESE wind, and with it the Perci trophy for the first race.

Sunday was a different story. The wind had backed to east and built up to force 4-5 with stronger gusts at the far end of the broad, white horses, and strenuous baling for some, and, unsurprisingly, a reef was ordered.


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Three boats, the two already mentioned and Sam and Pat Woodcock, dominated the event. Edwards was faster up wind but Johnson had the advantage downwind with the extra weight and steamed ahead almost every time with the boats frequently planing. The final, and deciding race, saw Edwards needing a win to share the honours with Johnson. Woodcock led round the mark at the end of the first round with Edwards and Johnson following, but then, in the tactical battle of a short beat to the wing mark to start the second round, he misjudged the conditions and saw Edwards and then Johnson overhaul him. With two further rounds and plenty of wind it only remained for Johnson to pass Edwards on the next circuit, which he did, and then build up sufficient advantage to decide the matter. The Maori Bloodbowl, the Patria of Waipu Trophy for the best veteran performance went to Derek Edwards, crewed by daughter-in-law Jo.

At tempestuous Thurne, where EACC ran a YBOD Open, conditions were even harsher. Chris Bunn and Nikki Tansley won the event, while Paul Carrington found his choice of Thurne rather than Hickling expensive as his mast went over the side, bisected. Horning's downriver to Acle, with 16 starters, saw another mast go, from a Yeoman, on a tough beat down and run back. Bernie Westgate was early leader in the Yeomans until he ran aground, whereupon Gordon Jewell took over to build an enormous lead to Acle while Paul Clarke won the return.

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Thirty one boats took part in Buckenham Sailing Club's annual Triple B race to Breydon and back.

There was a mixture of dinghies, production cruisers and day boats, and sailors ranging in age from teens to seventies. The race was sailed in great conditions, with an easterly wind of force 3 to 4.

It was a hard beat most of the way downriver on the falling tide and a fast reach /run back up river to finish at the club house. Last year's winner, Norfolk punt Comet, again opted for an early start and was first home at one o'clock. However, this year it was the late starters that took the top two places.

Norfolk punt Wild Goose, sailed by John Parker with James Savage as crew, and one of the last to start, took the overall prize as well as the Gilmour Trophy for fastest passage and the first Norfolk Punt Trophy. Second overall and first of the five Leaders was Birubi II, sailed by Chris and Jane Wharmby from Milton Keynes. Third overall and first day boat was David and Margaret Woolston in Yeoman Shibboleth.

Very low water greeted helms at Beccles ASC for the beginning of Series D. Reaching conditions prevailed in the strong easterly.

Glen and Lucie Curtis in Norfolk Penelope Jane racked two early wins, the first by only seven seconds on corrected time. Close racing in the Topper fleet was enjoyed by the juniors with Poppy Roll in Red Legend dominating and collecting a double win while George Curtis in Optimist Bittern added two more wins in the Cinnabar Trophy.

Mark Langston and Rowan Curtis notched up a third and fourth place overall at the Streaker Open on the Ouse near King's Lynn.

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