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)