Heavy rain on the Friday night seemed to suggest we might have a damp and miserable Regatta at the weekend. As usual, the forecasters seemed to show little knowledge of East Anglia and its climatic oddities.
The Saturday briefing gave us a simple course to the Round House below Cantley, with a dog-leg back to Hardley Dyke. The problem for the entrants was how little sail to expose to the sturdy wind. With the moorings sheltered by the campsite trees it was a tough decision. For most, the decision was two reefs and with a 3/4 split and two starts it was off to the start. Out there it WAS windy, with the promise of very clean decks and cabin sides by the finish.
In the first start Henrietta was over the line, giving Anna clear air and though Peter was soon past Puck, the mistake cost him first place by just a few seconds. Oddly, as the top mark was reached the sun came out and the shelter of the trees reduced the wind strength where crews probably wondered why they were reefed. This of course was where the long lens of the paparazzi was ensconced, so it will look like an idyllic afternoon cruise. Fortunately there was little tide to worry about at the top mark as the yachts drifted towards it each time. The downwind rush for the finish at the moorings was a little less frantic than expected, the wind had eased a little. In the second start, there were cold feet about starting and the fleet was soon stretched out after the first tacking reach. It was nice to see other boats on the doglegs, for otherwise this became a procession. Saturday then became brilliantly sunny and the majority met to eat together at the Ferry. A pleasant evening.
For Sunday we were promised a passage race to Buckenham and back. The forecasters had said it would be Sunnier and calmer, but we started in the damp gloom. Still it was windy enough in the open to need reefs for the larger sailed boats, which is an embarrassment when it comes to the trees. Breeze chose a sail which gave a full luff and short foot to overcome the problem. The race to Beauchamp was a much more competitive affair than Saturday’s; plenty of those tussles between two or three yachts that make racing fun. Puck eventually getting ahead of Breeze on the water, Pandora showing boats of similar handicap how to get ahead and stay there. It was interesting to finish amongst the dinghies and find that some of the very modern designs don’t seem to be able to point as well as the yachts....or perhaps they were the beginners?
Rain at lunchtime led to a fairly packed pub. For the race back we were given a starting slot to fit into, the yachts were quite well spaced at the start. It seemed quite windy still, but as the race progressed it became obvious that much more sail was needed. Langley Forest was a test of patience for all. After it there seemed to be quite a bunch of yachts together. Many removed reefs, probably much later than they should. It is always a problem to find the right moment. With fairly little tacking involved the race was a real test of getting boat speed, somehow and keeping concentration.
“No wrecks and nobody drownded….” And though we didn’t laugh all the time, there was a lot of smiling and companionship.
Harriet of Reedham Trophy
1. Puck (John Tunwell) 2. Henrietta
(Pete Charlton) 3. Anna (Bob Branscombe) 4. Lucky Breeze
(David Walker) 5. Shruff (Simon Miles) 6. Valkyrie
(Norman Bagshaw) 7. Pandora III (John Smith) DNC: Modwena,
1. Henrietta 2. Lucky Breeze 3. Breeze
(Claire Fillery) 4. Puck 5. Pandora III 6. Anna
(Dianne Branscombe) 7. Moonlark (Richard Joy) 8. Shruff
9. Modwena (Mark Cassidy) 10. Valkyrie DNC: Melody
1. Pandora III 2. Henrietta 3. Puck
4. Lucky Breeze 5. Moonlark 6. Valkyrie
7. Anna 8. Breeze (Sam Dunning) 9. Shruff
10. Modwena DNC: Melody