The sight of 22 yachts moored at Cantley on Sunday morning in the bright sunshine was a fine one. Many had been there the previous night too, but even those who had given good support to the Reedcutter managed to attend the 8.45 briefing. At first it seemed as if there might not be enough wind for a race, but it gradually freshened into a strength that had some people changing to smaller jibs and contemplating reefs.
The pre-start manoeuvres were quite exciting at times, with at least one near-collision, but in the event all four starts got away in one piece. The run upriver with the tide was easy enough, if a bit nerve wracking when on the verge of a gybe in close company with others, but it was a different story once the top mark was reached. This was set up in Langley Woods and the more sheltered conditions made the tack away against the tide a challenging one.
Some managed to attain the leeward bank and creep back into clear air, but others found their way into a log jam of near-stationary boats. Puck was pushed the wrong side of the mark when their route to the correct side was blocked by others and Insh’allah eventually gave up trying to get back downriver and sailed straight to Coldham. Brigand and Amaryllis got entangled at one point, but unravelled themselves without further mishap. Aelfleda and Modwena did not get away so lightly, with the former losing her bowsprit and the latter her cabin side. Modwena also managed, somehow, to run up and over a piled bank, being lodged precariously for a while before they were able to extricate themselves, leaving a lot of very blue reeds behind.
Having tacked down to the bottom buoy, it was then a fast run and reach to Coldham Hall. Starlight Lady lengthened the course by turning back to recover a crew member’s shoe – could this have been a cunning ploy to avoid retaining the jugs? Cuckoo arrived to discover that their bowsprit had broken, but they had no idea when or where this had happened. Bob noticed after lunch that the forestay had jumped off the top of White Rose's mast. It was only further investigation that revealed in fact the stay was slack because the top of the mast had fallen off mid-race!
Zephyr proved to be the winner of the most coveted trophy on the Broads, along with the Crystal Ball, the peripatetic River Cruiser Class trophy, which was making its first appearance on the southern rivers. Last year a new trophy for second place was inaugurated, but without actually making an appearance. This year we got to see it and Simon Lampert (Cuckoo) was the lucky recipient.
New for this year was the Ian Spoors Memorial Cup, donated in memory of him by one of the Wyvern members and presented to the highest placed boat with a handicap of -15% or more. That proved to be Ancient Mariner, who raced neck and neck to the finish line with the equally handicapped Puck and took the trophy by 5 seconds. The Green Wyvern Commodore has promised us yet another new trophy for next year, which he assured all those present would be something tasteful and desirable for third place. To find out what it is, come and join the fun next year!