Well, what a lot of boats we had at Cantley! Twenty-five River Cruisers, most of which raced, and half a dozen or so supporting motor boats. Saturday afternoon saw the popular pursuit race, now in its third year and with 18 yachts entered to compete. An unfortunate accident before the start sadly put Snowbird out of the race and Nick Wiggins in hospital (home the same evening and we hope he is recovering well) with White Rose kindly forfeiting their race in order to attend on Snowbirdís crew.
The remaining 16 boats enjoyed a course which began upriver, rounding a buoy and then running downriver towards a mark below Hardley Dyke, in a rather better wind than anyone had dared hope. As on previous occasions, Lucky Breeze was the slowest boat present and so was set off first, with the rest of the fleet following in reverse handicap order. David and crew managed to hold their lead round the first two marks, but then had to yield on the tack against the tide away from the bottom buoy.
This reach bunched the boats to some extent, but then the fleet stretched out again on the fast reach back up to Cantley, although some found that catching the boat in front was much more achievable than actually passing it. You could almost feel the tension, with everyone at maximum concentration, trying to get the best out of their sails. As the yachts entered the final ten minutes of the race it was still unclear who was going to win, with Amaryllis valiantly holding off Joy on the tack up Cantley Reach, but Zingara looking likely to overhaul them both.
In the event, Joy was close enough to establish rights over Amaryllis at the top mark and rounded it in the lead, about a minute before the end of the race. At this point, now on the run, her larger rig told and Amaryllis had to be content with second place, with Zingara not able to improve on third.
42 members and guests then enjoyed an excellent meal in the pub, but many retired to bed soon afterwards, tired by the dayís exertions. A few (who shall be nameless) partied on into the small hours and were seen looking rather jaded the next morning.
A misty start on Sunday led to some concerns about the wind strength, but it was decided to run the first race of the day upriver to give some variety, even though this meant passing through the lee of Langley Woods. With such a large fleet (19 entrants) four starts were necessary, with the second start being the most competitive, as other groups stayed well down below the line to avoid being swept over too early on the tide.
Once through the woods, the fleet enjoyed some good reaching conditions around the buoys, although rumour has it that one or two boats found the reedbeds. The final leg was then a return through the woods and downriver to Cantley for the finish. Curiously, the fastest boat in the fleet, Zingara, and one of the slowest, Pandora, were almost neck and neck in the end, with only 14 seconds separating them on corrected time. Over a minute separated these two from the third placed Anna, sailed by Di Branscombe.
With the sun blazing and the wind fresher than expected in the early afternoon, but forecast to fall, a short course looping up and down Cantley Reach was set for the final race. It was decided to set the slow boats off first so that they were less disadvantaged by the changing tide and falling wind. Again, the second fastest group of yachts produced the closest start, showing where the really competitive people were! Leaving last, with the ebb now set in, did mean the faster yachts struggled at times, especially as they tried to tack away from the bottom mark against the strong tide in very little wind. This turned it into a slow boat race, with Pandora, Amaryllis and Adrian Lincolnís Pixie taking the top three places.
With a first place to add to her second from the morning, Pandora also took the Nelson Trophy as overall winner of the weekend, holding off Zingara with a third and a first and Amaryllis, who had two second places. The Diamond Jubilee Trophy was also presented at the conclusion of this event, going to the yacht which had gained the best set of results from the clubís three River Yare regattas. This proved to be very tight in the finish, with Pandora missing out by just one point from Ruth and Kevin Rhead on May.
Pandora III was withdrawn from this regatta after the event, with the
overall trophy being re-awarded to Amaryllis, who became the winners with a
second and first, after being promoted to victors in the final race. Joy
moved up to second place overall, with Zingara dropping to 3rd on the "best
last race" rule. Pandora III's withdrawal also meant she no longer
qualified for the Diamond Jubilee Trophy, leaving May as clear winners.