Norfolk Punt Club Regatta – Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August 2018
If you hold an event over a Bank Holiday weekend you should be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly when thinking of the weather. This was certainly true this year as those competitors who entered the various series experienced all three. Saturday mornings racing took place in what was described as good sailing winds, with keel boats increasing the number of crew to help where needed, but the 10.00 races set off into a steady westerly wind with the usually jockeying for position on the start line. The Norfolk Punts relish the stronger breeze, and enjoyed some excellent competitive action. Barton Broad is possibly the best venue on the Broads for fast, open racing and that was certainly true for the Keel boats. A strong junior fleet of Lasers, Fevas and toppers sailed on a course north of the island.
The 11.00 starts were still in a westerly breeze and once again the Punts led off in a closely contested finish –with crews getting damp. For the YBOD fleet the start line saw the inevitable “eagerness” to be first end in these boats returning to start cleanly. But a good skipper can usually make up for this and slower starters were left behind. The Allcomers race saw the Dragon showing her beautiful lines alongside Brown Boats and Yarmouths.
At 12.20 the Cruiser fleet ,split into the normal two section start, set off in fine style. This race always attracts the attention of the holiday makers on their motorboats, as a fantastic spectacle to watch from a distance, or as a rabbit in the headlights as dozens of large and heavy boats bear down on the unsuspecting, making them scatter. The shepherding of the safety boats is always appreciated by the visitors.
After lunch, supplemented by tea and the inevitable cake , the regatta continued with more competitors joining in and making racing more competitive and the tea hut busier. Junior Allcomers kicked off the afternoon series and was keenly contested and well sailed by all, including the Oppies. Punts were once again flying in the increasing wind and the keel boats always make a great show as they run down the Broad goose winging to the top mark. The cruiser races seem to coincide with the holiday makers leaving Stalham for the start of their holiday and more shepherding duty for the safety boats ensures everyone gets through the broad safely. The wind had increased slightly but undeterred Punts , keel boats, juniors and Cruisers battled it out until 6.00pm when many headed for a change of clothes and the Hog Roast at Barton Turf.
Overnight the bad and the Ugly arrived in the form of a strong gusting wind and driving rain causing a few entrants to reconsider their position and withdraw. Punts were flying at times, with a distinct absence of spinnakers and some keel boats found the marker posts grabbing main sheets, but the safety boats were on the scene in case they were needed. Undeterred the full programme was maintained and credit must be given to the competitors who sailed the afternoon, in stinging rain and wind, force 5 and gusting. Special mention for the Junior fleet of dinghies who had excellent racing in the strong winds and the safety boat crews who escorted the fleet. A much depleted audience stayed for the presentations at the end of a very wet and windy day.
For a list of the trophy winners click here Table of trophy winners