With a less than ideal forecast for the weekend, a number of boats made the decision not to attend Breydon Regatta, but there was still a vastly improved turnout compared with recent years, with ten yachts competing in the ideal wind conditions on Saturday. The promised rain sort of held off in the morning, but we all got wet in the afternoon. It was still excellent sailing though, on a calm and traffic-free Breydon.
As the breeze was initially quite light and to ensure all boats completed the race, with enough time for a break before the passage race, it was decided to set the slower boats off first for the morning race on Breydon. With the fleet divided into three to facilitate this, the first start saw Harrier, Modwena and Honey set off, although not all of them had quite reached the line before their gun.
The second start of Morning Calm, Alchemy and Sabrina was also somewhat disorganised, with it taking longer to reach the line from the moorings than some had anticipated. The line crew had high hopes for a clean start from the final, fast boat start of Melinda, Wandering Rose and Catspaw, but the first two were both a full half boats length across the line and had to turn back, giving Brian on Catspaw a slight advantage.
With the north westerly wind, it was mainly a reaching course, which at least avoided any difficult tacking against the tide. The course was shortened to a lap and a half after about 45 minutes, which left everyone enough time to have lunch, including the line crew who feasted royally on board the committee boat, Egret, courtesy of Chris Dowsett.
Bill Clark on Morning Calm was a comfortable winner from Will Pank on the borrowed Alchemy, with John Holmes on Sabrina coming in third.
For the passage race, skippers must choose their own start time, the theory being that they aim to round the top mark at Reedham at high slack water. As their times had to be in by the 9.00 briefing, when the winds were still light, many chose to go earlier than they might have done, had they known the wind would pick up into a good sailing breeze for the afternoon.
Harrier, Alchemy, Catspaw and Morning Calm all opted for the earliest possible start at 1.30 and for the latter two, this was clearly a good strategy, as Brian and Bill came in second and first respectively, on corrected time. Quarter of an hour later, Modwena, Wandering Rose and Maidie set off together; the crew of the latter having appeared at the committee boat by dory earlier in the day to ‘uncancel’ their cancelled race entry. Mike’s crew had apparently left Horning at 5am on a motor boat and ended up knocking on Mike’s door at breakfast time, telling him they were going sailing! They were rewarded by retaining the Greyhound Trophy for the fastest elapsed time to Reedham and back, beating Catspaw in this respect by around six minutes.
Sabrina 2 and Honey both left at 2pm, which must have been about right for the former, who came in third, but rather too late for the latter. However, Melinda, leaving ten minutes later, didn’t fare so well, perhaps not helped by the fluky wind which meant some boats had to tack reaches of the Yare where others had made it close-hauled.
The usual convivial evening in the pub ensued, although the rain meant sitting outside on the terrace and watching the sun set was sadly not an option. Then, on Sunday, it blew, with a whole herd of white horses visible just downriver. Even the bright sunshine didn’t make sailing the least bit tempting and although the OOD had mentally set a course on the Waveney, it was deemed too unsafe to sail and a rapid decision was made to turn the briefing into the prize-giving.
Despite only two races being sailed, it was possible to award six of the eight trophies, with Morning Calm and her two first places collecting both the Breydon Tankard for first placed “slow” boat and the Breydon Barometer as overall winner of the regatta.
This was, of course, followed by the raffle. Given the gale, it was impossible to follow the usual format, so the drum of tickets was sheltered inside “Rose Cottage” (the Martham hire boat being used by Wandering Rose’s crew) and they drew all the numbers, relaying them outside to be called. Paul Howes was the happy recipient of the £60 food hamper, as well as winning the Jack Hunt Memorial Trophy for shortest combined elapsed times.
Most then left, although not all by water. Those that had no choice but to cross Breydon reported an interesting trip in the strong winds and cross-swell. Some drove home, returning to collect their boats on Monday and a few stayed to sample the pleasures of the Fisherman’s until they ran out of beer, then visiting the Kingfisher in the caravan site and concluding with an excellent meal on “Rose Cottage” which, rather like the loaves and fishes, was stretched to feed rather more than originally planned. Thanks, Lisa!