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The Yare Challenge Trophy race is an annual
event sailed between Coldham Hall Sailing Club and Yare Sailing Club.
It is traditionally preceded on the previous Saturday by the YSC social
dinner, held this year at The Ferry House Surlingham.
Around sixteen sailors and non-sailors enjoyed a fine meal provided by
Sonia and her team.
Sunday morning’s gathering saw six boats
getting ready to sail. The presence of Wandering Rose, Alice Rose and Flight in
addition to the three CHSC based boats made the decision of the club splits
fairly easy: thus Anna, Glory and Morning Calm, being the only CHSC members,
formed the CHSC team, and Wandering Rose, Alice Rose and Flight formed the YSC
There were great discussions prior to
leaving the bank about the wind. It
was forecast to be westerly 16mph rising to 17mph with gusts approaching 30mph
so it was not so much a case of ‘shall we reef’ but more of ‘how many
reefs shall we have’. In the end
all of the fleet reefed to some extent.
six set off as a single start, easily managed on the CHSC
line. The fleet immediately sorted
themselves out into a fast group and a not so fast group, with the Roses and
Glory soon opening up a large gap. Flight, without her topsail, seemed to manage
the wind best out of the rear fleet, with Anna and Morning Calm forming the
The turning mark, which some at the
briefing remembered, was the red and white tape tied to the smaller of two trees
just short of Langley Woods – which blew away a while ago – to be replaced
by a stile – which was also removed a while ago and replaced by a fence, which
thankfully is still standing. Luckily
everyone had it fixed in their mind exactly where it was.
At the turn the Roses, split by Glory, were
romping back whilst the rear fleet were still passing the time of day with
bankside fishermen, with whom many a kind word was exchanged. Flight, Morning
Calm and then Anna turned and, as the downriver leg was against the tide and
completed without a tack in sight, it was a different story sailing upriver.
Whilst Flight slowly pulled away, Morning
Calm and Anna seemed to spend a large amount of time in Buckenham
Reach sailing side by side, calling for ‘room to tack’ on one bank
and tacking short of the fishermen on the other. They eventually
approached the start of Train Reach amid comments on board Anna never before
heard in mixed company and echoed apparently on Morning Calm of ‘Thank God
we’ll soon be in Train Reach.’
At this point the Roses and Glory were nowhere to be seen and we could only
assume that they were moored up and in the pub. Flight however was still within
reach and although Anna did eventually get past Morning Calm and staged a
valiant attempt, Flight crossed the line some distance ahead. Up in front, David
Radley in Wandering Rose eventually crossed the line first ahead of Alice Rose
and Glory thirteen seconds later.
At the prize giving the trophies could not
be located, but in true improvised style, Joe Farrow received the stand-in jug
on behalf of YSC who retain the trophy. The overall winner of the race also
receives the Bessie Bell Trophy and a keg of beer, which this year went to Steve
Burton in Alice Rose.
All in all an enjoyable sail with
thankfully no major incidents.