When you pit two light wind specialists against TOG in a brisk reaching wind there is only going to be one winner. It developed into a sunny day, but one with a robust NE breeze, which meant the race from Somerleyton to Beccles was rather more of a time trial than a closely fought tussle between boats. In addition, due to various complications caused by the rail timetable, it was decided to simply have a half hour slot for the start, with boats being timed in as they crossed the line. This resulted in the curious situation of TOG making a prompt start, Farthing cutting it rather fine and both boats charging round the last corner at Beccles side by side.
Wisp, meanwhile, had sailed her own race up ahead of both of them, travelling at hull speed for much of the time and covering the course in a mere hour and forty minutes. Farthing was faster, obviously, and TOG was slower, but took the trophy by over four minutes on corrected time. Monty, in his first ever race, came second.
Having got the serious business of racing out of the way, we were able to settle down to enjoying the cruise. The three racing yachts were joined at Beccles by four others, plus the motorised division of Sea Bird and Betsy the horsebox. Those of us who were feeling energetic took an afternoon stroll into town and climbed the campanile, following this with tea and sticky cake. In the evening some elected to stay by the boats and barbecue; others sampled the fleshpots of Beccles – namely the Bear and Bells and the Newgate Indian restaurant.
Sunday dawned damp and even windier, causing a four-way split in the fleet. Two stayed put for lunch, then went and spent a bouncy night moored on Oulton Broad; two took one look at the conditions and went home and the motorised division went to Burgh St Peter. The remaining three of us went up to Geldeston – two of us under sail – and arrived at the perfect time of noon. Once in the pub, we hung our dripping waterproofs around the room, settled down in front of the log fire with some excellent beer and decided there was no possible reason to go anywhere else that day. Once we had got warm and dry, why go back outside and get cold and wet all over again?
However, on Monday, which was just as wet, but even windier and colder, we had no choice. We slogged back down river under motor to Somerleyton where the seven surviving members of the fleet all met up again for a drink or two in the Duke’s Head before going our separate ways. The consensus on Wisp was that it had been an excellent weekend apart from the weather! MK
Boats present: Aelfleda, Farthing, Force Four, Melody, Sea Bird, The Only Girl, White Rose, Wisp (and Betsy, the horsebox)