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56th Navigators & General Three Rivers Race

by Holly Hancock 7 Jun 2016 09:37 BST 4-5 June 2016

The 56th Navigators & General Three Rivers Race took place over the weekend of 4/5th June 2016, hosted by Horning Sailing Club on the Norfolk Broads. Although the forecast had predicted light winds and warm sunshine, the unseasonal conditions of the week before, with strong winds and heavy rain, meant that many were left questioning whether these conditions would materialize.

As race day dawned, it was still misty and dull, but, right on cue, as soon as the competitors' briefing had finished, the sun broke through, the temperature lifted and a pleasant breeze signalled the beginning of the start sequence.

Some 98 boats embarked on the twenty-four hour endurance race of approx. 50 miles across the Broads in eleven starts, a test of seamanship which would take them under the medieval bridge at Potter Heigham to Hickling Broad, under Acle Bridge to the Stracey Windpump, onto South Walsham Broad and along the Ant to Ludham Bridge, completing the course in whichever order the crews felt would be most beneficial for the wind and tide conditions.

After some eight hours on the water, first boat home at just after 7pm was Thames A Rater Osprey helmed by Paul Browning, but the winning boat on handicap was Martin Hunter's Merlin Rocket Quiver, crewed by Margaretha Von Herman. This marked Hunter's third win (the previous two times in a Rater) and the first time that a Merlin Rocket has won the Race.

Despite the light to moderate winds, the day was not without incident, particularly at the bridges, which had their usual share of excitement. River Cruiser Zingara practised a swift man overboard drill after a crew member, in attempting to avoid a collision, executed a spectacular somersault into the river shortly before going through Potter Heigham Bridge. However, this did not appear to hinder them too much, as the young team, led by Richie Dugdale, were first Cruiser home and received second place overall for their efforts, just two minutes on handicap behind the Race winner. Chris Bunn sailing River Cruiser Ladybird showed some impressive bridge-shooting to come third overall on handicap.

Luck was not on the Raters' side - Thames A Rater Vagabond suffering a rigging problem after losing the main halyard at Potter Bridge, which required the boat to be capsized after every mast drop to resolve the issue. Against the odds, they continued to finish the race. Meanwhile Rater Bonito suffered a torn mainsail, forcing her retirement, whilst a further two, after different rigging failures, succumbed to the same fate.

In addition to the kind weather conditions, with the gentle breeze somewhat unusually keeping up throughout the night, it was a good day for Race Officer George Whitefoot, with three members of his family in the top six results – son Robert sailed on second-placed Zingara, his other son Richard was first Norfolk Punt, sailing Comet to fourth place, whilst wife Linda crewed Mario Tinge sailing Yeoman Fire Opal to receive both first Yeoman and sixth place overall.

Completing the top ten were a real mix of craft - Paul Carrington sailing Yare & Bure Lunar first half-decker and fifth overall, in 8th place was John Parker sailing Norfolk Punt Wild Goose, ahead of James Bunting's Yeoman Blue Ripple in 9th. There was close competition between the Rebel sailors, and despite taking different routes and after almost twelve hours of sailing, Simon & David Means sailing Rebellious Lady finished just 7 minutes ahead of Peter Brown helming Rebel Rothay to take 7th and 10th place respectively, 10th tied with Norfolk Punt Snowgoose, sailed by Jane Pye.

Overall Results: (top ten)

1. Quiver – Merlin Rocket (M Hunter/M Von Herman)
2. Zingara – River Cruiser (R Dugdale/M Ellis/R Whitefoot/J Patience)
3. Ladybird – River Cruiser (C Bunn/N Tansley/C Richardson/F Foulds)
4. Comet – Norfolk Punt (R Whitefoot/D Milledge)
5. Lunar – Yare & Bure (J Carrington/K Carrington)
6. Fire Opal – Yeoman (M Tinge/L Whitefoot)
7. Rebellious Lady – Rebel – (S Means/D Means)
8. Wild Goose – Norfolk Punt (J Parker/R Redington)
9. Blue Ripple – Yeoman (J Buntin/B Buntin)
10= Rebel Rothay – Rebel (P Brown/P Cooney/P Goddard)
10= Snow Goose – Norfolk Punt (J Pye/I Bray)

Full results and trophy list can be found on HSC's website, www.horningsc.co.uk

More Colin Galloway photos can be found at www.norfolkeventsphotography.co.uk/galleries/three-rivers-race-2016/index.php?keyWord=&kid=&page=1

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