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Norfolk Punt Championship at the Norfolk Punt Club

by Mark Luckhurst 21 Aug 2012 23:04 BST 18-19 August 2012

A good mix of traditional and modern punts gathered for the 2012 Championship, representing some 91 years of the class' history.

In a light and fluky south-westerly wind, Harnser, sailed by the Jarvey brothers, James and Paul, made the best start in Race 1, reaching the windward mark just ahead of Simon and Rachel Clayton in Peregrine. Vying for third behind them were a gaggle of boats, Comet, (Richard Whitefoot and Chris Tovell), Snark (Mark Elson and Bart Sawyer) and Swallow II (Emma and Will Daniels). Off the wind, Harnser showed astonishing speed with her asymmetric, leaving the symmetrically rigged Peregrine far in her wake to take 1st place. Meanwhile, Robin Slatter and Lesley Haines in traditional punt Cavender were biding their handicap, eventually pushing Peregrine into joint 3rd with Comet on corrected time. Sadly, skyhooks were not in evidence for the crew of Kingfisher whose rig went over the side shortly after the start, ending their weekend before it had properly started.

A shift just before the start of Race 2 persuaded the crew of Snark that they should try a port-end flier which so nearly succeeded, but didn't by a quarter of a foredeck! This race saw better fortunes for the Claytons as they hung on to first place over the water for the entire race. Despite this however, they were still unable to save their time on Harnser, being pipped by nine seconds on handicap. Brian Wilkins and Chris Tuckett were third in Shoveller, having managed to overtake Snark on the last round.

A slight change in wind direction for race 3 obviously suited the traditional punts with 3 of the first 4 places being taken by the older boats. 1st was Cavender, with the teenage pairing of Max and Felix Dixey taking a creditable 2nd in Rushlight in their first championship. Snark, a hardchine, managed to sneak in among the traditionals to take 3rd.

Sunday morning produced a slightly fresher (and less muggy) north-easterly breeze off the sea. Swallow II made the best of it off the line in race 4, rounding the first mark ahead of Harnser. However, they were unable to hold her off for long and the ever present Cavender was also snapping at their heels. The race finished with Harnser 1st once again, Cavender 2nd and Swallow II 3rd.

The 5th and final race saw Harnser make the best escape from a messy start line to fly away again. Behind her the race became largely processional with Swallow II's consistent sailing giving them 2nd and Snark finishing the series with another 3rd.

The Championship Cup thus went to the Jarveys in Harnser with Cavender 2nd and Swallow II 3rd overall. Harnser also won the Progress Cup for 1st over the water and the Hardchine Trophy. The Broadshaven Trophy for traditional punts went to Cavender and the Cuckoo Cup for first punt helmed and crewed by juniors to Rushlight.

Overall Results:

Race 1
1st Harnser, J Jarvey
2nd Cavender, R Slatter
3rd= Peregrine, S Clayton 3rd= Comet, R Whitefoot

Race 2
1st Harnser
2nd Peregrine
3rd Shoveller, B Wilkins

Race 3
1st Cavender
2nd Rushlight, M Dixey
3rd Snark, M Elson

Race 4
1st Harnser
2nd Cavender
3rd Swallow II, E Daniels

Race 5
1st Harnser
2nd Swallow II
3rd Snark

Punt Championship Trophy
1st Harnser
2nd Cavender
3rd Swallow II

Progress Cup
1st Harnser
2nd Peregrine
3rd Snark

Hardchine Trophy
1st Harnser
2nd Snark
3rd Comet

Broadshaven Trophy (traditional punts)
1st Cavender
2nd Swallow II
3rd Rushlight

First Lady helm, Emma Daniels (Swallow II)
First Lady crew, Lesley Haines (Cavender)

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