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This year, with the
chilly weather lingering, the forecast for the Ray Perryman race promised
sunshine! Sadly not that much
breeze, though it was in a favourable direction for Beccles.
With Egret the first to arrive, she was joined throughout the afternoon at
Somerleyton by May, Anna, Retribution and Flight.
Bravely, the YSC Vice Commodore set forth to the Duke’s Head to test
the waters: these were reported to be potable and the natives friendly.
With varying work
commitments, several competitors continued to arrive at different times: Pan
stayed put in the marina overnight, with Farthing and Puck arriving just in time
on Saturday morning - one of them hiding upstream of the railway bridge.
Special mention should also be made of Marigold, appearing for the first time
with Ship's Cat Clawdia on board. Sadly, this was a guest appearance only,
as they felt it prudent not to travel too far from Somerleyton.
Duly briefed on the
course, all the racing yachts left within a short space of time, taking advantage of the
swing bridge being open. This year
our ‘start gate’ was from 11am to noon, although with a late low water at
Somerleyton, it didn’t pay to leave too early.
First to start was Pan, with Flight and Farthing then following.
Puck led the next trio, with May and Anna starting as late as possible.
Both Flight and Pan were ultimately met with a series of incredibly fluky gusts
as they tacked to Oulton Dyke, which didn’t help with boatspeed!
Given this, bearing away toward Burgh St Peter was a great relief!
Sadly, with ever encroaching tree growth, the remainder of the course became
challenging to sail, even with a following wind.
Thankfully the sun shone, and all competitors were very, very brave about
Flight passed Pan in the vicinity of the Waveney River Centre, with Farthing
catching them by Worlingham parish mooring.
Her booming out gear and large rig were clearly perfect for the
conditions, she made it look easy!
Somewhere behind, May and Anna battled it out with each other for the whole
length of the course, neither feeling they were doing very well.
Sadly for most, in the
reaches between Aldeby Hall moorings and Boaters Hill, sufficient time was lost
by all the other competitors in the doldrums to ensure Farthing gained an
unassailable lead of 11 minutes on corrected time to win the trophy for
the third year running. Anna and May
surpassed their expectations by coming in second and third respectively, with
Flight just 18 seconds behind in fourth place.
Our hosts at Beccles sailing club kindly timed the competing yachts in, and also
provided cold beer for us to enjoy whilst their afternoon session of club racing
completed. Later that evening they
also hosted a delicious BBQ which many YSC members enjoyed.
The following day
Flight, Pan and Egret, joined by Vixen with the crew of Retribution on board,
made the short trip up to Geldeston, where they enjoyed a sunny lunchtime in the
garden of the Locks Inn before returning downriver to Beccles Yacht Station for
the evening. Here, some ate on board, while others ventured out for beers
and a curry in town, thereby rounding off a pleasant weekend.
All in all, a perfect,
sunny start to the season.