Norfolk Punt Championships 2016

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