Tom Gentle leaves it late to win 37th Yare Navigation Race
Tom Gentle turned in an impressive performance to win the 37th Yare Navigation Race on Saturday.
Starting at 1.30pm, a full hour after the previous competitors, he sped Meggie round the 16 mile course in just under two hours 45 minutes to beat Richard Parker's team, sailing Starlight Lady, by 28 minutes over the water and 35 minutes on handicap.
Not only did Gentle win the race he also took the Moonraker (fastest passage) and Starlight Lady (boats over 28 ft length) trophies.
It was a tour de force and a splendid reward for keeping his nerve as the other 51 starters set off ahead in winds which stubbornly declined to arrive until well after noon. Gentle, and all the first 13 overall, had to punch the flood tide from their starting times ranging from 10.45am onwards, Maidie taking two hours 15 minutes and Cuckoo, who started 15 minutes earlier, two hours 20 minutes, timings.
Paul Stevens and team sailing Amaryllis were first away at 6.30am in next to nothing wind, and the favourable ebb tide did them few favours. After over four hours they were reported at Cantley, and race officers decided to shorten the course at Hardley.
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A raft of early starters, headed by Matt Ellis' Blue Jacket, one of two boats which had started all 37 races (the other is Moonraker), and Zingara, passed Cantley shortly after noon, and came to a grinding halt by the factory. Half an hour on Amaryllis returned under the tide, but, with only the slightest flutter of wind from time to time, the prospect of their achieving both the fastest and slowest passage remained. Then, relief at last. As Zingara became the second boat to pass Cantley heading for home a long desired Force 1-2 came in, and, whereas the early birds had drifted, the late starters came almost storming down against the flood tide. Amaryllis, though, scarcely enjoyed it as they finished first, shortly before 2pm, but their overall time of over seven hours relegated them to mid table.
Overall, the fast boats, and late starters, took the honours. Phil Davies (Joy), ninth overall, earned the Jeckells trophy for 25-28ft craft, Amantani (M Partridge), 20th overall, the Wilberforce-Smith trophy for boats under 25ft, and the Breeze Trophy for the longest passage went to Duncan Ellis for 9 hours 38 minutes aboard Golden Moon.
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Martin Broom is now, I believe, the only helm to have contested all 37 races, but this year he retired Raisena, and sailed his newly acquired Moonshadow, in which he was sixth overall.
Yare Navigation Race (52): 1 Meggie (T Gentle) 2 Starlight Lady (MR Parker) 3 Breeze (C Chettleburgh) 4 Cuckoo (S Lampert) 5 Maidie (M Barnes) 6 Moonshadow (M Broom).
Moonraker trophy (Fastest passage): 1 Meggie 2 Starlight Lady 3 Breeze 4 Maidie 5 Cuckoo 6 Moonshadow.
Starlight Lady Trophy (boats over 28ft) (20): 1 Meggie 2 Starlight Lady 3 Breeze 4 Maidie 5 Cuckoo 6 Moonshadow.
Jeckells Trophy (boats 25-28ft) (19): 1 Joy ( P Davies) 2 Pippa ( G Angell) 3 Cordon Rouge ( D Thompson) 4 Cygnet ( M Reilly) 5 Rushmere ( R Harris) 6 Zingara ( R Diugdale).
Wilberforce-Smith Trophy (boats under 25ft) (13): 1 Amantani ( M Partridge) 2 Martlet ( H Franzen )3 Moonlark (R Joy) 4 Nirvana ( B Collier) 5 Emily ( R Smith) 6 Breeze (H Fillery) .
Breeze Trophy (longest passage) in reverse order: 1 Golden Moon (D Ellis) 2 Modwena (M Cassidy) 3 Marigold (R Russell).