Five yachts turned up at Somerleyton to take part in the weekend experiment: Alice Rose, Anne, Pandora 3, Tinkerbell and Wandering Rose. (Anna had to withdraw having earlier broken their gaff jaws).
A course was laid for the morning race. There was a gate start at the pontoon above the railway swing bridge and boats then had to proceed to a mark near Oulton Dyke, then return to a second mark at Black Mill before going up river to finish just inside Oulton Dyke.
The wind was strong and this led to Pandora retiring and Alice Rose having to go into the reeds to reef before also retiring. Tinkerbell won the race.
Lunchtime moorings were arranged at the Waveney River Centre, where food and drink were taken. The food was good value for money and we were well looked after.
Boats were thinking of reefing for the afternoon session, but most chose not to at the last minute. Again a gate start was used, with the start line being the same as the morning finishing line. This meant that boats could jockey around in the wider river, then enter the dyke with the sole purpose of spinning round over the start line. A buoy was rounded just a hundred metres down river, then boats proceeded to another mark above the River Centre at a place called The Firs. Having rounded the buoy, boats then had to make their way to Oulton Broad where they were timed out by WOBYC.
Conditions were generally good. It was not as windy as the morning session and all boats finished and were moored up before the heavy rains came. Yachts stayed overnight on the yacht club pontoons.
On Sunday morning Kelvin persuaded two more yachts to join the race: Gypsy and Tamara. The briefing was held at the yacht club, where their officials oversaw our start at 10.00 am. It was a beat up the Broad, taking in two marks before entering Oulton Dyke. The next buoy had been laid upriver of the Waveney River Centre, but was moved downstream to just past the river centre when the OOD realised the original position was going to be too difficult.
The new position also proved too difficult for some boats, as in the lea of the trees they were unable to reach the mark. Wandering Rose and Alice Rose successfully rounded the mark before the contra tide became too strong. Gypsy, Tamara, Tinkerbell and Anne all retired, but still enjoyed a fair sail down to the finish at Somerleyton. Pandora persisted for a long time, which included a do-si-do with Anne; first passing them forwards of Anne’s starboard then sailing backwards past Anne’s port. Persistence paid off, as Pandora finished 3rd in the race and landed a prize for their efforts.
Julia and Joe Kilner donated a new trophy, the Secretary’s Salver, for the overall winner and Julia was present to present it to the skipper of Wandering Rose. Kelvin donated a cash prize of £100 to the overall winner and bottles for the winners of each race, namely Tinkerbell on Saturday am and Wandering Rose on Saturday pm and Sunday.
The event was very successful and all thanked the organiser and OOD – Kelvin Halifax. He had made phone calls and visits to ensure things ran well, which they did. All present said it was successful, pleasant to race on a different part of the river system and it should be repeated in future.