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Norfolk Punt National Championship 2013 at the Norfolk Punt Club

by Mark Luckhurst 19 Aug 2013 17:21 BST 17-18 August 2013
James and Paul Jarvey in Harnser during the Norfolk Punt championships © Mark Luckhurst

The Norfolk Punt Championship took place over five races in fairly exhilarating conditions on Barton Broad. Heavily gusting winds, particularly on the Saturday, meant that a queue of dripping sailors, some still in their trapeze harnesses, provided brisk business for the local chandlery. It is pleasing to report that all damaged boats managed to return to the water.

The first race saw a strong start from James and Paul Jarvey in Harnser, closely pursued by Mike Griffin and Bart Sawyer in White Eagle, with Comet (Richard Whitefoot and Jo Moore) and Cavender (Robin Slatter and Lesley Haines) not far behind. As the wind built, so did the number of overturned boats, but these four all managed to stay upright, sometimes by dint of wearing round at the gybe marks. The Jarveys extended their lead throughout to finish first with Cavender and Comet eventually finishing 2rd and 3rd on handicap.

Ali Drew and Paul Wilcox in Grayling managed to pull off a great port end flyer at the start of the second race but went too far to the right-hand side of the beat to exploit it fully and Harnser had overtaken them by the windward mark. Unfortunately Grayling also became another victim of the weather letting Cavender and Comet take their now accustomed 2nd and 3rd.

A heavy squall greeted the start of the last race of Saturday; Grayling's attempt at another port-ender made useless by the boat getting swamped in a heavy gust just at the wrong moment. Matthew Scott, crewed by daughter and son Phoebe and Freddy in Woodpecker, managed to judge it perfectly though and led up the first beat. A great ding-dong battle between Woodpecker, Comet and Harnser then ensued throughout much of the race until Woodpecker eventually came to grief in a gust. With the traditional punt, Cavender, never too far behind the end result was an exchange of 2nd and 3rd places between her and Comet with Harnser once again in front. Unfortunately, the squall at the start had also caused the committee raft to drag its anchor, and with all the rescue boats already busy elsewhere, there was nothing to stop it drifting towards the leeward mark which it reached just at the same time as the leading boats. No harm was done though other than some bruising sarcasm levelled at the OOD by passing competitors. The OOD then continued his stately progress towards the reeds and had disappeared by the time the fleet came round again!

Sunday brought sunshine, but a wind that was not kind to the unwary, so capsizes were once again abundant. In the first race of the day the Jarveys once again showed their mastery to get away quickly. White Eagle was again looking promising until their rudder stock suddenly snapped, resulting in a swift journey into the reeds. However, Tom and Will Scott in Avocet found their replacement tiller (for the one they had lost the day before) suited them well to take second place behind Harnser, while Cavender got in another useful third.

The last race, sailed in slightly milder conditions followed a familiar pattern with Harnser, Comet and Cavender taking the top three spots.

As a result Harnser took the overall Championship Trophy as well as the Hardchine Trophy and Progess Cup for first boat over the water. The Broadshaven trophy for traditional punts went to Cavender, and the Cuckoo Trophy for first junior helm or crew to Jack Levington.

Overall Results:

1st Harnser
2nd Cavender
3rd Comet

Progress Trophy
1st Harnser
2nd Comet;
3rd White Eagle

Hardchine Trophy
1st Harnser
2nd Comet
3rd Wild Goose (John Parker and James Savage)

Broads Haven Trophy
1st Cavender
2nd Swallow II (Will Daniels and Jack Levington)
3rd Gamecock (Val and Neville Khambatta)

Cuckoo Trophy
1st Jack Levington (SwallowII)
2nd Eliza Bolton (Snark)
3rd Max Dixey (Rushlight)

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