Smith and Freeman take final honours

The annual Norfolk & Suffolk Boating Association Inter-Club Championship for the Ramuz Trophy was held on Sunday on Oulton Broad.

Since the trophy was first presented in 1950, many different classes of boat and clubs have been used. This year, the championship was hosted by Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club with Waveney Sailability providing Access 303 dinghies for the use of competitors.

The event was organised by Janet Gilmour, who said: 'We are delighted that we have both able-bodied and disabled sailors taking part. The Access 303s will be a challenge for some of the region's top sailors representing clubs from across the Broads while the less able-bodied will have the advantage of familiarity and experience sailing these adapted boats.'

This was the first time that the specially modified dinghies have been used in the championship, and they provided a new challenge for sailors, many of whom would not have had the chance to sail with Waveney Sailability, who run weekly sailing sessions for disabled people at WOBYC throughout the year.

Sailors from ten clubs took part, divided into two heats of five competitors. Conditions were pleasant for most of the day.

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Heat 1 was won by Waveney & Oulton Broad YC sailors Richard Smith and his crew, Bethany Freeman. Michael Cullum and Chris Barker from Hickling Broad SC came second, followed by Jonathon and Edward Blankley(Beccles ASC).

Heat 2 followed shortly after and was won by Philip Highfield and Tamsin Butcher (Gt Yarmouth & Gorleston YC), with Richard Dugdale and James Patience (Snowflakes) second and Kim West and Hugh Tuston (Horning SC) third.

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The final, sailed on a figure of eight course, saw Highfield and Butcher lead early on. But on the final reach of the first lap Smith and Freeman powered past and were never seen again. The host club's sailors emerged clear winners with Dugdale and Patience second and the Blankleys third.

The Waveney fleet had their 'two rivers' race, won by Geoff Little and Piers Arnold took first place in Niaid.

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