Young and Stevens strike gold in Wroxham thriller
Christian Young and Andrew Stevens won one of the most thrilling Gold Cup races seen for many years when they took the lead at almost the last gasp – and it nearly didn't happen.
Flags hung lifelessly at Wroxham Broad and postponement was on the cards if a sea breeze failed to arrive. Fortunately it did, and by 3pm there was a Force 2-3 south-easterly.
Unusually the race was started from the clubhouse, and, after the traditional general recall, the fleet got under way when Ian Tims made a good leeward start, with Paul Howes and Robert Wheeler also prominent.
Howes led round the first mark, closely pursued by Matthew Thwaites, Mike Evans, who had fellow National 12 veteran Donald Forbes crewing, and James Gill and John Robinson, while Tims led the rest of the pack some way behind. By now the wind was shifting out of the east and race officers Carl Brady and Geoff Evans made an inspired decision to move No 5 mark to the north, ensuring a very testing race.
Howes started the first run ahead of Thwaites, followed by Gill with Mike Evans and Forbes fourth, but beating to the south east mark Gill had to give way to Thwaites and Evans, letting Thwaites into the lead.
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Thwaites meanwhile built a substantial lead over Gill, while Howes regained ground to challenge Evans, while Christian Young and Andrew Stevens moved up into fifth. The second run saw Thwaites opt for the clubhouse bank while Young opted to stay further out, and the second decisive moment came when Thwaites luffed Young on the approach to the south-west mark No 3, letting Evans take the lead ahead of the persistent Gill and Young recovering to third. Then, at the end of the third round, Gill appeared to have out-manouevred Evans to take the lead, but he had infringed and had to do two turns, restoring Evans to the lead with Young lying second, then Gill, John and Nelia Clabburn, and Thwaites. So to the last lap and Evans was still in command, until the final mark where Young out-tacked Evans to win by a narrow margin from Evans, with Gill a well deserved third. Their rewards respectively were the Gold Cup, the Percival Memorial Trophy, and the Barry Knox Memorial Trophy while behind them Thwaites gained the RNLI Pennant, and Richard Hattersley was awarded the handicap trophy in his new YBOD.
The principle issues settled on Saturday were the BOD and YBOD trophies. Anthony Boardman's win secured him the former while Ian Tims' fourth place in the latter sufficed. Charlotte Harper won the Tyrrell Trophy while Zoe Eastwood was awarded the Brighton Yacht Trophy as the most sporting competitor in the Optimist class.
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