This year, over the course of several committee meetings, Reedham Regatta slowly evolved into an event based at Rockland St Mary. There was a fair amount of underwater paddling beforehand, but by the time boats started assembling on the Friday afternoon, all the ducks were floating serenely. Everyone chose to eat on board that night, but the excellent London Pride was sampled at the welcoming New Inn, both before and afterwards. Those who stayed in the pub late enough even got treated to a round of Victoria sponge slices on the house. Very good it was too.
Saturday dawned warm and sunny: the much delayed summer had finally arrived! The wind was fresh enough to deter both Vixen and Morning Calm from competing, but Team Wandering Rose turned up mob handed with two yachts and were joined by three others. Following some confusion as to the definition of the Short Dyke mooring, all eventually assembled in the same place to be briefed by Officer of the Day, Anthony Knights.
With just five entrants, the boats were set off in one start, around high slack water. Despite the lack of tide, all were very line shy, with Anna making the best job of it. A brisk race of a lap and a half followed, with yachts rounding a mark below Hassingham, before returning upriver to the top buoy at Strumpshaw, then back round the lower mark. The finish line was set at Beauchamp and two yachts demonstrated how well the ebb tide had now set in, as they unwisely chose to put in a tack just before the finish line and found themselves being swept back.
Anna, with Bob and Diís local knowledge perhaps coming into play, had a closely fought race with Tinkerbell and were rewarded with third place, with an entertainingly tippy Glory in second and Wandering Rose a minute ahead to take the Serenity Trophy. An inappropriately named prize for the morning!
The Beauchamp Arms, operating under very limited hours, had agreed to open specially for us and the fleet happily obeyed the Commodoreís urging to support the pub and make this concession worthwhile. It was pleasant to be able to sit outside by the river, in the sunshine, but all too soon Tony was on his feet briefing the fleet for the afternoon.
With the line moved downstream, away from the tidal constriction outside the pub, the four competitors proved to have retained their line-shyness, but they were all grouped when the gun went, so all equally disadvantaged!
Anna had decided to sit out this race and Glory decided to nestle into the reeds after the first lap, but the remaining three boats enjoyed an hourís racing on a shortened course, with the top mark now just above Beauchamp. Tinkerbell shook out their reef and were rewarded with second place, just a few seconds behind the dominant Wandering Rose, who were very happy to have kept their reef in. With Glory deciding to retire, Malcolm Duffield on Alice Rose got the third place.
The evening saw the return of Spot the Buoy, with a carefully selected photograph causing much head-scratching and some interesting theories as people tried to work out where in the picture the edited-out mark could be. Others simply went for randomly scattering dots, which was probably as good a technique as any.
With just 15 for the evening meal, all were seated round one large table in our own private room, which made for a most convivial event. The food was excellent and certainly no-one went away hungry, especially those who somehow found room for three courses.
Sunday dawned sunny again, but with a little less wind, which prompted Vixen and Morning Calm to join the fray. Alice Rose, lacking crew, had to drop out, but Wandering Rose, Glory, Anna and Tinkerbell remained to make a race of six boats. Vixen was the only one anywhere near the start, with the rest of the fleet remaining line shy, as the fleet set off on a downwind charge. Having rounded the bottom mark, it was a long tack back to Rockland before turning again to head for the finish at Cantley.
Here there was time for lunch before the winners were announced, with Wandering Rose completing a hat trick of wins and so taking all five trophies: there being additional awards for both the overall winner and the best results on Saturday. Morning Calm came second in the Sunday race, with Glory narrowly taking third place by 14 seconds from Vixen.
Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for: the big reveal on Spot the Buoy. Most people had gone for the wrong part of the river, but Christine was spot on (literally) and delighted to walk away with a bottle of Prosecco. The fleet then departed: some back to Coldham and some heading off through Yarmouth, leaving the race team to enjoy a final round of beers in the sunshine.
It would seem that everyone present enjoyed the regatta and moving around between three different locations over the weekend, so Rockham (or Reedland) Regatta may be here to stay.