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Oulton Week 2016 at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club

by Veronica Falat 2 Sep 2016 09:14 BST 21-26 August 2014
River Cruisers at Oulton Week © Karen Langston

This year's Oulton Week (Sunday Aug. 21st to Friday 26th) was brilliant, one of the best for a very long time! Entry numbers up, no races lost to gales or lack of wind – and it was gloriously sunny each day.

A gusty westerly wind blew on the first two days, a great direction for Oulton Broad as big courses can be set. From then on the wind became more variable and on several days the sea breeze kicked in during the afternoon creating some tricky conditions while it settled. However, the more gentle breezes provided opportunities for some boats with big rigs to venture out, including a couple of Stars and a Thames Rater.

As usual, the River Cruiser class provided a great spectacle. In their first race, on Sunday, only 5 of the fast fleet came to the start, the other 4 deciding it was too windy. Stellar, built last year and on her first visit to Oulton, was soon well ahead of her rivals but disaster struck when the carbon mast of her tall Bermudan rig broke as she sailed downwind. Overall, it was James Gill's Achievement that was first in the fast fleet's midday series and Richie Dugdale's smaller Zingara in the evening series, while Bill Bacon's Whisper won both series for the slower fleet. With a total of 23 River Cruisers on the broad, the racing was always great to watch. Some of them have traditional gaff rigs with topsails, others have opted for bermudan, the tallest being Raisena's 75 ft carbon rig.

The keelboat racing is always keenly contested in Oulton Week with class races plus a morning and afternoon series for 'Mixed One Designs' in which Broads ODs, Waveneys, Yare & Bures and Squibs all race on level terms. 28 boats entered the Morning Mixed ODs in which Geoff Little and Sue Harper in their Waveney Naiad had a poor first race but then came good and won the final 2 races to secure the series ahead of Chris Schonhut's Waveney Brandy Bottle and Paul Carrington's Yare & Bure Lunar. Naiad also won the Waveney class series by the narrowest of margins from Iris helmed by Robert Large and Simon Marfleet; they shared exactly the same race scores but Naiad came out on top by beating Iris is the final race. Chris Bunn's Fox dominated the Y&B series with straight wins apart from the race when her rudder failed and she had to crane out for repairs. Bryan and Jenny Riley in Brimstone had no such problems in their dominance of the Squib series and they also came out on top in the afternoon Mixed ODs. The biggest of the keelboat class fleets was the Broads ODs with 17 entries. Warbler won the first 3 races with Nic Asher at the helm but she was eventually beaten by Mark Oakes' Harrier which won the 6th and final race.

One of the more unusual races of Oulton Week is the 4-a-side team race between Broads ODs, Waveneys, Y&Bs and Squibs for the Blackburn Trophy. With 16 boats in the race and team tactics deployed, there is a huge amount of place changing and it's fun to watch as well as take part in. Nic Asher in Warbler was well placed but his Broads OD teammates were well back and there was little he could do to help them, while the Yare and Bure team managed to work together and eventually emerged as the winners.

Over 40 dinghies entered the Fast Handicap racing during the week, including Solos, Streakers, Lasers, RS300s etc – and even a Thames Rater - but the boat that really stood out as being a great all-round performer was Duncan Madin's K1. Sailing to the PN of 1066, Duncan cleaned up, winning both the morning and lunchtime series. Of the 11 races he sailed, he won 9. Duncan is one of the region's best dinghy sailors and so his success is not unusual but it was impressive to see his new boat cope so well with all conditions, from 'full on gusty' to light and flukey. 14 year-old Arabella Sabberton showed excellent speed in her Laser Radial on the breezy days while Veronica Falat in her Streaker improved as the wind moderated and eventually was runner-up in two series. The Lasers had their own class racing once a day and Richard Smith had a string of race wins but only after some very close racing particularly against Alan Cone and Lloyd Crisp.

In the 24 boat Slow Handicap fleet the Optimists dominated the results taking the first 5 places in the morning, lunchtime and afternoon series and the overall winner each time was 13 year old Will Pank in his Optimist Pank Panther. Finley Dickinson, Alice Snook and Joshua Means were the runners-up in the 3 series. The faster boats, such as James Percival-Cooke's Laser 4.7 and Edward Nourse's Topper were sometimes far enough ahead to do well on handicap but their results lacked consistency.

Four Norfolk Dinghies had a 6 race series sailed over the first 3 days. Glen and George Curtis won with straight race wins, discarding the race they filled up and had to be towed off the race course; Norfolks are traditional wooden gunter rigged dinghies that sit very low in the water when swamped! Two Stars from the Norfolk Broads YC raced on 3 days and were very evenly matched; Brigit Shield's Segui la Stella won the morning series and Nick Eastwood's Jolly Good won in the afternoons. Another class that had its own short series was the Hansa 303, sailed by members of Waveney Sailability. 8 boats took part and the winner was Tony Barkes, just ahead of Vic Pennell.

The final race of the week was the Bloodbath Pursuit Race. The Bloodbath used to be an allcomers race in which River Cruisers, keelboats and dinghies all started together and it lived up to its name on several occasions. Nowadays, as a pursuit, it's a less scary affair but still exciting to watch. This year 39 boats took part. The Optimists started first and sailed the full 75 minutes. Until the final few minutes Will Pank was leading but the RS Aero 7 of Richard Smith got past him to take the Bloodbath Trophy.

Overall Results: (top 3 in each class)

PosSail NoBoat NameSkipperClub
Stars (am series – 2 entries)
17419Segui la StellaBrigit ShieldsNorfolk Broads YC
Stars (pm series – 2 entries)
18254Jolly GoodNick EastwoodNorfolk Broads YC
Mixed One Designs (am series – 28 entries)
1Waveney 24NaiadGeoff LittleWaveney & OBYC
2Waveney 19Brandy BottleChris SchonhutWaveney & OBYC
3Yare & Bure 141LunarPaul CarringtonNorfolk Broads YC
Mixed One Designs (pm series – 32 entries)
1Squib 73BrimstoneBryan RileyWaveney & OBYC
2Broads OD 41WarblerNic Asher / Waveney & OBYC
3Yare & Bure 141LunarPaul CarringtonNorfolk Broads YC
Fast Handicap (am series – 25 entries)
1K1 128SoteriaDuncan MadinWaveney & OBYC
2Streaker 1829PercyVeronica FalatWaveney & OBYC
3RS300 444All FoursJamie FreemanWaveney & OBYC
Fast Handicap (13.00 series – 41 entries)
1K1 128SoteriaDuncan MadinWaveney & OBYC
2Laser 188439The MistressAlan ConeWaveney & OBYC
3Streaker 1829PercyVeronica FalatWaveney & OBYC
Fast Handicap (pm series – 20 entries)
1Laser 188639The MistressAlan ConeNorfolk Broads YC
2Streaker 1829PercyVeronica FalatWaveney & OBYC
3Laser radial 186755 Arabella SabbertonWOBYC / NBYC
Laser series (17 entries)
16BrendaRichard SmithWaveney & OBYC
2188639The MistressAlan ConeWaveney & OBYC
3186755 Arabella SabbertonWOBYC / NBYC
Norfolk Dinghies (4 entries)
164Penelope JaneGlen CurtisBeccles Amateur SC
260JanePaul ArmitageWaveney & OBYC
367RattyTim HaycockBeccles Amateur SC
Slow Handicap (am series – 24 entries)
1Optimist 6Pank PantherWilliam PankNorfolk Broads YC
2Optimist 6394 Finley DickinsonHayling Island SC
3Optimist 6212The BeastJoshua MeansHorning SC
Slow Handicap (13.03 series – 24 entries)
1Optimist 6Pank PantherWilliam PankNorfolk Broads YC
2Optimist 6243SpiritAlice SnookHayling Island SC
3Optimist 6212The BeastJoshua MeansHorning SC
Slow Handicap (pm series – 20 entries)
1Optimist 6Pank PantherWilliam PankNorfolk Broads YC
2Optimist 6212The BeastJoshua MeansHorning SC
3Optimist 6394 Finley DickinsonHayling Island SC
River Cruisers ‑ Fast and Slow fleets combined (Midday series – 22 entries)
1314WhisperBill BaconNorfolk Broads YC
211AchievementJames GillNorfolk Broads YC
3300MatildaAnthony LandamoreNBYC / East Anglian Cruising Club
River Cruisers ‑ Fast and Slow fleets combined (Evening series – 22 entries)
1314WhisperBill BaconNorfolk Broads YC
230ZingaraRichie DugdaleHorning SC
352MaidieMike BarnesWaveney & OBYC
Waveney class (12 entries)
124NaiadGeoff LittleWaveney & OBYC
210IrisRobert Large / Waveney & OBYC
319Brandy BottleChris SchonhutWaveney & OBYC
Yare & Bure class (7 entries)
1132FoxChris BunnNorfolk Broads YC
2141LunarPaul CarringtonNorfolk Broads YC
3136The MillerFlip FouldsNorfolk Broads YC
Broads One Design class (17 entries)
171HarrierMark OakesWaveney & OBYC
241WarblerNic Asher / Waveney & OBYC
356PipitSam ColeWaveney & OBYC
Squib class (8 entries)
173BrimstoneBryan RileyWaveney & OBYC
218DripsDavid Gooch / Waveney & OBYC
3791Crazy DiamondJoe MoncrieffWaveney & OBYC
Hansa 303 dinghies (8 entries)
17Finney HarrodAnthony BarkesWaveney Sailability
22 Victor PinnellWaveney Sailability
36 Bob WatersWaveney Sailability
Bloodbath Pursuit Race (39 entries)
1RS Aero 7 2 Richard SmithWaveney & OBYC
2Optimist 6Pank PantherWilliam PankNorfolk Broads YC
3Optimist 6212The BeastJoshua MeansHorning SC

Full results are on the WOBYC website, www.wobyc.com

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