Norfolk Punt Club – Punt Open Event Saturday 8th July / Sunday 9th July 2017
Last weekend saw a great couple of days of British sport at its best, including both British men and women progressing into the second week of Wimbledon, the British Lions drawing their test series against New Zealand, our English Cricketers leading against South Africa, British rowers winning in the World Championships in Lucerne and many of the best sailors of the county’s own unique sailing craft, the Norfolk Punt, taking part in the Norfolk Punt Club’s Punt Open on the beautiful Barton Broad.
The warm sunshine and an ever-changing breeze, in both strength and direction, provided both a challenge for those setting the course and the competitors alike. Unlike any good British sporting weekend the rain stayed away, although threatening clouds gathered late on Sunday afternoon after the series of 5 races had been completed.
All three types of Norfolk Punts took part in this annual Open event. Two ‘traditional’ boats, Decoy and Gamecock, sailed by Bill and Alison Glover and Val and Neville Khambatta respectively took to the water, and while they may have been the oldest boats on the water, built in the mid 1930s, they proved that age is no barrier to competitiveness. Alongside the traditional craft a strong contingent of modern ‘hardchine’ punts, many from Hickling Broad Sailing Club, took part. The ‘hardchine’ punt now form the core fleet within the punt class, all designed to strict class rules, ensuring even and competitive racing. Max and Felix Dixey sailed Jackdaw, one of the latest ‘Morrison’ designs of punt. With twin trapeze wires and full mast head asymmetric spinnaker Jackdaw made for a wonderful sight.
The weekend was one dominated by the skill and sail craft of Richard Whitefoot and James Jarvey sailing their hardchine punt, Comet. The pair were consistent in starting each race well, and settled into a commanding lead during the course of each of the five races throughout the weekend, which they converted into five race wins and eventual winners overall of the Ardea Trophy. Nine punts took part in the event and the battle for the minor places was very keenly fought. Wind shifts made for very interesting tactical battles. Two visiting boats from Hickling, Grebe sailed by Chris and Cliff Haslam and Redwing sailed by Rupert Redington and Steve McKay sparred throughout all five races with sailors from the host club. Chris and Cliff ultimately got the upper hand securing one second and four third places coming in second overall for the series. Val and Neville Khambatta sailing Gamecock, pipped Rupert and Steve securing third place overall for the series.
Race 1: 1st Comet (R Whitefoot), 2nd Gamecock (V Khambatta), 3rd Grebe (C Haslam)
Race 2: 1st Comet (R Whitefoot), 2nd Redwing (R Redington), 3rd Grebe (C Haslam)
Race 3: 1st Comet (R Whitefoot), 2nd Gamecock (V Khambatta), 3rd Grebe (C Haslam)
Race 4: 1st Comet (R Whitefoot), 2nd Redwing (R Redington), 3rd Grebe (C Haslam)
Race 5: 1st Comet (R Whitefoot), 2nd Grebe (C Haslam), 3rd Gamecock (V Khambatta)
Overall Series Result:
Ardea Trophy 1st Comet (Richard Whitefoot), 2nd Grebe (Chris Haslam), 3rd Gamecock (Val Khambatta)
Sun and wind were all part of the recipe for an exciting weekend’s sailing at Barton, though there was a tad too much wind for some, especially on Saturday with gusts up to 30 Knots and only marginally easier on Sunday.
Fifteen boats arrived at the pontoons for the briefing and the SSW direction made life easy for the OOD, setting a long beat to the Neatishead mark from the club rafts. All boats reefed and were shy of the line, which was not surprising under the conditions. Naturally with a long beat comes a long run to get back up the broad which gave rise to some challenging gybes. Sadly, the conditions made their mark and both Stellar helmed by Tim Frary and Amaryllis helmed by Chris Tuckett sustained damage in the first race reducing the fleet further as some, possibly wiser, helms decided to watch from the side lines and others retired while they were still intact!
Eight boats completed the first race and seven, the second race. The high winds definitely favoured the slower fleet which gradually gained on the faster boats which had started five minutes earlier. Both fleets kept very close together despite taking different lines.
It was all to play for in the last race between Richard Smith in Alchemy and Mark Elson in Sprite, but Mark held onto his lead with three points and a fourth, discard, over Richards five points with a third, discard.
Paul Howes in Melinda dominated the fast fleet chased closely by Anthony Landamore in Matilda, only two points behind.
Achievement Trophy: 1 Melinda P. Howes
2 Matilda A. Landamore
3 Breeze C. Chettleburgh
Barton Broad Challenge Cup: 1 Sprite M. Elson
2 Alchemy R. Smith
3 Wanderer T. Barker
White Horse Trophy 1 Sprite
(Overall winner) 2 Alchemy
Learn to Sail/Better Sailing – Six Friday evenings for all abilities.
White Boat Tuning Day
See Training Section above or link below.
Welcome to the Norfolk Punt Club, one of the friendliest sailing clubs on the Norfolk Broads.
The club is situated on Barton Broad and offers sailing in sheltered waters. The Club welcomes all abilities and a wide variety of boats from dinghies, half deckers to sailing cruisers. Not forgetting being the original home of the amazing Norfolk Punt
Complementing the terrific sailing programme is an active social scene that welcomes both newcomers and life-long members.
Reasons to join the amazing Norfolk Punt Club:
- Superb sailing on Barton Broad, one of the best of the Northern Broads.
- Friendly family orientated Club.
- Our unique Floating Club house.
- Quality of our cakes for Sunday afternoon tea.
- Mixed fleets, all boats are welcome.
- Social Saturdays, an opportunity to come and try, and bring family and friends.
21 Norfolk Punts gathered on Saturday for the 2016 Championships to be met by high winds and waves on Barton Broad. Racing was postponed then abandoned all together to be resumed on Sunday. Leaving Richard Whitefoot’s and Dave Milledge’s impressive display of twin trapezing in Comet and Swallow II ‘s near sinking whilst being towed to the Norfolk Punt Club the only action to discuss from the day at the drinks party on Saturday night. Thanks go to David and Morag Skinner who have kindly hosted the drinks party for a phenomenal 25 years and have decided to pass that baton on to someone else.
Sunday brought a strong westerly wind, which is a tricky direction for course laying on Barton, but Peter Bainbridge and his team did a fantastic job of laying an excellent course and fitting 4 races in. In the first race Andrew Wilton crewed by his daughter Elska took an early lead in Merlin , which proved unassailable, and took an impressive victory in the gusty condition which saw several boats including Swallow II capsize. The second race saw Will Daniels and Dougie Mileham take lead in Swallow II, but they were unable to hold back the Hardchine punts. Woodpecker sailed by NPC commodore Mathew Scott and his son Freddie overtook first followed by Comet. Line honours went to Woodpecker as did the overall win on handicap, pushing Swallow II into second place by 1 second. The 3rd race went to Comet beating the Morrison punts White Eagle (sailed by Simon Clayton and Jack Drew Leventon) and Merlin over the water. By the 4th and final race, first place was settled but it was all to play for, for 2nd and 3rd places. Alastair Drew and Mark Elson in Grayling had a cracking start and took a commanding lead, but were pushed back to 3rd over the water by Comet and White Eagle. Swallow II found form again and despite finishing 5th over the water took 2nd on handicap. This meant the overall result was Woodpecker first overall and first Hardchine (as Comet did not count in the results due to an experimental mainsail), Grayling second, Swallow II third and first Traditional and White Eagle 4th and first boat over the water (Progress Cup). The Cuckoo Trophy for first Junior went to Elska Wilton.
The individual race results were:
1st Race: 1st A. Wilton in Merlin, 2nd M. Scott in Woodpecker and 3rd W. Scott in Avocet
2nd Race: 1st M. Scott in Woodpecker, 2nd W. Daniels in Swallow II and 3rd R. Whitefoot in Comet
3rd Race: 1st R. Whitefoot in Comet, 2nd S. Clayton in White Eagle and 3rd A. Drew in Grayling
4th Race: 1st R. Whitefoot in Comet, 2nd W. Daniels in Swallow II and 3rd A. Drew in Grayling