With the Yare Valley Sailing Club cruising from Somerleyton to Beccles on the same day as the Perryman Race, moorings at Somerleyton were at a premium on the Friday evening of the late May bank holiday. Most competitors made their way up to the Duke’s Head at some point in the evening, if only for the virtual briefing, but many stayed on their boats to dine and catch up with friends.
A few Yare Valley Sailing Club yachts were welcomed as competitors in the race; some of whom almost certainly did not realise they were racing, as a decision was made to time everyone in the interests of inclusivity (although only those that had formally paid and entered were eligible for the trophies). This gave a good entry of twelve river cruiser class yachts, all of whom had the usual choice of crossing the line at any time during a given hour. The decision to be made was whether to go early to make the most of the flood tide, or leave later in anticipation of the light breeze picking up.
Vixen went through the swingbridge early and breakfasted in the reeds, with Corsair on the opposite bank to keep her company. She was also the first to start, closely followed by Corsair, with Force Four and Stella Genesta dropping their masts to get under the railway bridge in order to join them. Leaving this early proved to be the wrong choice, with these yachts eventually filling four of the last five places.
Meanwhile, those with tall rigs (and perhaps more sense?) were leaving later and enjoying the reaching and running course. As the morning went on, the wind eased round to the north east, giving a further advantage to the late starters.
The wind did indeed pick up a little and we had the now traditional finish at Beccles in slightly too much wind, weaving through the dinghies. Only one scream was heard, as the Commodore broached on the line, but no-one was put in danger. Although Vixen took line honours, the rest of the fleet were not far behind and made a spectacular sight powering up to the line.
Fastest over the course and also the winner on handicap was Farthing, helmed by Mels Farrar, with Kelvin Halifax’s Anne a clear five minutes behind and Puck (Andy Garnham) happy to take third place. A bottle of prosecco was awarded to Maeve as the highest placed YVSC entry.
After the prize-giving, over ninety people from the three sailing clubs present enjoyed an excellent evening barbecue, courtesy of BASC, with desserts and plenty of real ale to accompany it. This year they had brought in five firkins and, try as we might in the glorious sunshine, we failed to drink them dry – much to their relief!
On Sunday, many took part in the now traditional cruise up to Geldeston Locks for the rest of the day. After tea and cake on the moorings, all adjourned to the pub garden where a long table was set up and, as the queue for the bar got steadily longer, so did the quantities of ale purchased increase, as those sent to buy drinks sought to reduce the waiting time per pint. Eventually a band set up and began playing too, and so another enjoyable weekend drew to a close.