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  Ray Perryman Memorial Race, 2017

This year, the Ray Perryman was a race of three parts.  It started out well enough, in sunshine and with a fresh, but manageable south easterly wind.  As usual, boats assembled upstream of Somerleyton swing bridge for an open start between 10 and 11 o’clock - cross the line when you like.  

For some the tactic was to go as soon as they could; others waited until later, with the Commodore insisting on Bucks Fizz before she would race (slowly becoming a Perryman tradition on Vixen) and the Vice Commodore on White Rose deliberately staying until last so that he would get open water and clear air all the way to Beccles: apart from the trees, of course!

Farthing decided a few twirls and a rapid venture up the bank was the way to start their race.  Apparently "deliberate" so that they could sort out the reeving on their mainsheet.  Maybe.

With the tide flooding all day, it was probably the wind conditions that decided the race.  Farthing, starting relatively late, became more and more overpressed on the tacking reaches and finally gave in and retired just before Oulton Dyke, in a particularly nasty squall.

Ten minutes later, the wind died right out.  Ominous black clouds were spotted and sure enough, it rained, as the boats drifted up river in hardly any wind.  Those at the back started to regret leaving late, thinking those in front would have made more use of the earlier wind.

Then, in true Norfolk style, the sun came back out and the temperature rocketed up.  The drift continued for a while and then back came the wind, letting the later starting boats catch up some of their lost time.  Still the wind increased and the finish to Beccles Amateur Sailing Club became a bit of a challenge, tacking in the narrow river, in the now very strong wind and threading through the racing dinghies.  Debatable whether this was more alarming for the cruisers or the dinghies, but there were, of course, no mishaps.

Three boats sailed the course in around three hours, with all of the others taking at least twenty minutes longer and so these three filled the top three places, with the Rhead family on May taking the trophy, followed by Vixen and Anna.

Then the only thing to do was to bask in the sunshine at Beccles Sailing Club, watching their dinghies scud around the course as we worked on the task of relieving them of all their real ale.  After last year, they had decided to get in two barrels, until their Commodore got cold feet on Wednesday and ordered a third.  All gone by 9:30.

The beer was helped down by an excellent barbecue, excellently cooked by the commodore and his team and followed by dessert.  Some were enjoying themselves so much that it was the wee small hours before they retired to bed - rumour has it that the last stragglers left the bar at 2:30am.

On Sunday, the fleet split, with some taking the traditional route up to Geldeston for a prolonged lunchtime and other sailing back downriver to Somerleyton, where beer and a buffet were consumed to celebrate the Green Wyvern's 70th anniversary.

last edited on:  12/06/2017 at 10:45   by: The Editor