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  Sunshine and a squall - Breydon Regatta, 2017 New Page 1

Friday saw a steady procession of boats making their way downriver to Berney, laden with firkins of Little Sharpie, bottles of wine, cans of lager and cider, soft drinks, tables, chairs, bunting and a tent. Those present set to with a will in the warm sunshine to erect the club's marquee in the meadow behind Berney Mill - a two hour exercise, but completed satisfactorily. Once up and running, the team were more than ready to test out the bar and did so with great success. Gradually, more boats turned up and a small crowd enjoyed an evening of music and company in the beer tent.

It dawned fair on Saturday, with sunshine and a good sailing breeze. After an extended welcome and briefing from the Commodore, ten yachts set off onto Breydon, where they enjoyed ninety minutes of good sailing up and down this expanse of water. Sally, despite having the longest elapsed time, came out on top once handicaps had been applied, with the second fastest boat around the course, Mischief, in second place from Anna. Marigold dropped out, as they felt they might keep the race officers from having lunch and Pandora III decided they were over-pressed with the topsail up and also retired.

The wind dropped out for the start of the afternoon race and some boats were struggling to make against the tide, notably Pandora, who had left their topsail on the bank. Nevertheless, all went well for the first forty-five minutes, despite an ever looming angry black cloud on the horizon. The race officers retreated inside the committee boat as the first drops fell and were glad they had as the heavens opened, the wind blew up to a gale and visibility down Breydon almost vanished. Seeing Zingara, who had managed to drop a reef in, approaching the line, a rapid decision was made to shorten course and the nearest four boats were able to finish.

The rest of the fleet retired in rapid order; Sally's skipper complaining that the rain was hurting his toe; others afraid of breaking something, although thankfully no-one did. Those caught down at the bottom gybe mark, where the wind was strongest, came back with tales of their "worst ever day sailing" and over-standing the mark by 200 yards, trying to work out how to turn round without capsizing. The beer tent was very welcome, especially as the storm passed and the sun came out again.

Happily, Sunday was again bright with a decent wind for sailing. The first boat off in the passage race to Reedham and back was the slowest boat in the fleet, Marigold, leaving at 9:30. She was followed thirty minutes later by the fastest yacht, Maidie, who won't have welcomed the dead beat up to the mark. This was reflected in the results, where she could only manage the third fastest time over the water, being beaten to the Greyhound Trophy by Zingara, with Melinda second fastest. Zingara, who left at 10:50, was also the winner on corrected time from Melinda and Vixen; the later starting boats benefiting from a slight wind shift which made the run back down river more of a reach.

Crews and the visiting Farthing team were then able to enjoy some time relaxing in the sunshine outside the tent, before the prize-giving and raffle took place. Mischief had won the second race on Saturday to give him a first and second for that day and hence the Breeze Yard of Ale too. Melinda, although not winning any races, spent less time on the water than anyone else, so claimed the Jack Hunt trophy for shortest combined elapsed times. Zingara took the rest: both Passage race trophies and the Breydon Barometer as overall winner. The usual successful auction was held, with Di Branscombe's original painting for the programme cover, making a useful sum of money for the club, and the Vice Commodore winning the hamper.

All in all, a successful first attempt at running a regatta with no pub nearby. A small crew stayed on to attempt to drink the last barrel of beer and then to strike the tent and tidy up in the morning. A lot of hard work by a lot of people, but well worthwhile.

last edited on:  09/08/2017 at 10:51   by: The Editor