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From afar, the forecast made it obvious that this year's
Cantley Regatta was going to be a windy one. Very, very windy.
Somewhat optimistically, the OOD (Simon Miles) set a course on Saturday
afternoon, but it soon became apparent that the troops were quietly mutinying
and the plan morphed into the idea of having three races on Sunday. The
Race Officer's gazebo and the flagpole were firmly reefed and everyone somehow
ended up on the pub's new terrace.
Soon, the Secretary turned up, armed with quizzes -
Dingbats and cryptic flowers. Almost as hard as solving the answers was
keeping the sheets of paper anchored on the table as the wind gusted but, hey,
that's what empty glasses are for! After an hour or so of
brain-scratching, the answers were revealed and the team led by Paul Howes duly
won the box of Heroes. Kindly, these were passed around for all to share.
After a bit of a pause for some, most reassembled for the
group meal, which reduced everyone to a state of fullness, which obviously had
nothing to do with the quantities of beer that had been consumed earlier.
In the morning, it was.... windy. But, also sunny
and warm and dry; and many could be seen tucking in reefs before the 9am
confirmatory briefing. There was clearly still a lot of uncertainty
surrounding the wisdom of actually sailing and only two yachts made the line for
the first race: keenly watched by everyone else. Modwena, the slower boat,
was set off first and then chased around the long loop of the course by
Melinda. Paul, continuing his winning streak, brought Melinda home a
minute ahead of Modwena on corrected time.
Within minutes of the latter finishing, the starting
sequence for the second race was initiated, with those on the line wondering
whether there would be any takers. However, the first two yachts were
still game and they were joined by Glory, Sabrina 2 and Wandering Rose; all well
reefed down, of course. It made for exciting viewing, but happily all made
it around the single loop without incident, apart from a reefing line snapping
with a loud and alarming noise on Wandering Rose. They'd also forgotten to
pump out the boat before racing, so were carrying rather a lot of water round
with them. Oh how they rued these things, when they found out they had
lost the race by a mere 13 seconds to Melinda.
After a breather for lunch, when one or two even dared to
shake out a reef, all five boats set off for the third race, now also joined by
Honey. The buoys had been brought in a little, making a shorter course and
allowing a lap and a half to be sailed. With the ebb now firmly set in,
the large, white-capped waves had disappeared, but in their place was a slightly
tricky tack against the tide. This hampered the two slower yachts and also
had the effect of spreading out the fleet, with large gaps between them on
Wandering Rose, properly reefed again and no longer
carrying excess baggage, romped around the course, narrowly taking line honours
in a closely-fought race with Melinda and thereby ending Paul's winning
streak. Glory (Colin Brown) came third in both the races she did and thus
third overall. With Melinda having won the first race and Wandering Rose
the last, the second race turned out to be the decider for the overall
trophy. Those thirteen seconds!! Paul collected the Sparklet Trophy
with a smile and a speech of gratitude, while the crew of Wandering Rose tried
their best to throw the blame on the absent Mr Radley.
As a footnote, Martham's large traditional hire boat,
Silver Jubilee, has to be mentioned. First making an appearance at
Rockland, where the crew of Wandering Rose reveled in having their own
travelling apartment; they hired it again for Cantley, mooring it strategically
close to the start line and inviting the Commodore and Officer of the Day aboard
for beers. Now referred to as Rose Cottage, it is understood she will also
be appearing at Breydon Regatta, where the OOD is open to more bribery (sorry,