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  Autumn Open Regatta, 2018

The forecast was off-putting with strong winds and heavy rain promised for the Sunday. Inevitably, this affected the turnout and it looked as though the Junior Race wouldn't even run, with only one person under 30 present by the published briefing time. The OOD, Bob Branscombe, was all set for an easy morning, but then along came Maidie with James Dugdale at the helm and Katie Roberts on Jessie May had someone to sail against. With a light wind tack against the tide to reach the top mark proving rather tricky, there was only ever going to be one winner but, as Katie remarked, she couldn't do worse than second place. James therefore retained the Jenner Trophy.

Eight boats set off for the afternoon pursuit race, led by Pixie. Most of the rest of the closely-handicapped fleet set off close together behind her, with the seventh boat, Anne, leaving while the Maidie boys were still in the pub. Eventually they came ambling up the bank, shrugged on their sailing gear, hoisted sail and then, with only a couple of minutes to their start, complained that they were early and could have had another beer...

Meanwhile, Pixie had rounded both the top mark towards Langley and the lower mark at Hardley and approached the corner below the pub still in the lead. Hitting the tack against the tide, she could then only helplessly zigzag across the river as most of the fleet passed her. Pippinjack threaded the needle most efficiently and popped out in front, where she stayed for the remainder of the race. This tricky tack and the second visit to the top mark split the fleet in two, with Maidie managing to pass the back-markers to come in fourth, while Anne tried her best to catch Alice Rose in second place, but ran out of time.

As promised, Sunday morning was wet and this halved the existing fleet to four, but Medina braved the weather to join in, making a fleet of five who set off downriver against the last of the flood to a mark by the factory and then upriver through Langley Wood. The idea was that they would then come back on the early ebb, although it hadn't quite set in as they rounded the mark. Nevertheless, all made their way back down, round the bottom mark and over the finish line. As it was mostly a reaching course, it did turn into a bit of a procession, led by the eventual winner, Sabrina 2.

The crew of Anne retired, cold and wet, to the pub, leaving just four contenders for the second race, run back-to-back with the first. The OOD (Brian Wilkins) felt that if he let crews go into the pub between races, they were unlikely to emerge again! So, just twenty minutes after Medina had finished, the fleet were off across the line in another tight and orderly start. However, with a simple reaching course up and down Cantley Reach, they had soon sorted themselves out into the same processional order as the morning, with the same result. Sabrina 2 for the win; although Alice Rose were hot on their heels at the end, crossing the line just 34 seconds behind.

With two firsts, John Holmes had the luxury of discarding Saturday's second place to claim the Nelson Trophy as overall winner of the weekend. It was not windy enough for Pippinjack but, somewhat to his surprise, Paul Stevens discovered he had nevertheless managed to win the Diamond Jubilee Trophy for the racing at Reedham and Cantley over the season. The raffle followed and then a rapid dispersal, as the rain stopped and the sun came out.

last edited on:  23/09/2018 at 19:04   by: The Editor