In the week leading up to Reedham Regatta, the wind forecast was all over the place – different every time you looked. A helpful north easterly force four looked most promising, but alas the wind gods decided otherwise and we ended up with, well, not much actually, apart from rather too much light drizzle.
The strong ebb tide proved tricky for some on Saturday afternoon and a number of yachts were very late on their start as a result. However, all entrants got away and completed the course up to Hardley Mill and back. A port/starboard incident between May and Melody just after the start allowed Anna to slip away into the lead, but Arthur Wells managed to reel her in over the course and the two yachts finished within five seconds of each other. With her more favourable handicap, Melody won from Anna, with Pandora III in third.
Many members enjoyed a few beers and a communal meal in the Ferry Inn during the evening, with the beef getting rave reviews from all. Despite the gentle weather during the day, some claimed tiredness and disappeared back to their boats early; perhaps this had more to do with Friday night?
An apparent flat calm in the morning led to a slightly early briefing and an earlier start than usual in order to catch the last hour of the ebb. The offer of a ‘gate start’ was welcomed with big smiles by the competitors, so when the gun went, the scene was one of an array of anchored yachts.
The whole fleet started relatively close together and initially it was a case of who could drift most efficiently. At one point several of the boats seemed to be rafting up for a party, rather than racing, but in due course those with more canvas sailed out of the pack and pulled ahead. The race officers kept a close eye on the tide and just before high slack shortened the course at Hardley Mill (where they were made most welcome and given coffee!). A slight doubt about the ability of the slowest two yachts to achieve the line was alleviated when the breeze momentarily picked up slightly and gave them 200 yards of good sailing.
Lunch was taken at the Beauchamp Arms (where the carvery looked very good) before the fleet set off downstream at 2pm. Happily, the wind had backed 180 degrees and picked up a little, so all were able to enjoy a reasonably quick running and reaching race on the ebb tide back to Reedham Ferry. As in the morning, those with the greatest spread of sail did best, with Pandora III taking both races from Melody and therefore the overall trophy.
Curiously, the finishing order on corrected time for the last race was also the order of the overall results for the weekend. An unexpected quirk!