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International 12 Footer event at Waveney & Oulton Broad Yacht Club

by Veronica Falat 29 Jul 2017 10:29 BST 21-23 July 2017

Seven boats took part in this event - three Dutch, two British, one Irish and one German – and so there was a truly international atmosphere. This is a class with a long history having been designed by George Cockshott in 1912 when dinghy racing was in its infancy.

Some of the boats racing at Oulton Broad are just a few years old but they all are wooden clinker dinghies with lugsails set on wooden spars – and very attractive they are too! In parts of Europe they are extremely popular, especially in Holland where there is a passion for keeping the class true to its original design, but there are relatively few in Britain.

Last year the class raced on the sea at Lowestoft and attracted a fleet of twenty boats. However, they realised how lucky they had been with the weather and sea conditions! These are open dinghies that can easily get swamped and a capsize leads to much bailing! So the event was cancelled for this year but a group of owners decided to make a Plan B and ask to sail on nearby Oulton Broad, an idea that the Waveney & Oulton Broad YC was happy to accept.

On Friday the boats launched for some informal sailing and perhaps a nice cruise along the river to find a pub lunch. However, the wind was strong and, despite sailing '2-up' in the boats, it was decided that the conditions were too gusty for the river trip. Nevertheless, they had some exciting sailing on the broad and it was a good chance to get some practice for bailing with buckets!

Saturday morning's breeze was a shifty south-westerly and the racing began in pleasant sunny conditions. Local sailor Mark Duffield in Mr Toad led the fleet around the course; Pieter Bleeker's Oranjetipje finished 2nd and Colin Blewitt's Tortoise was 3rd. There was then a break for lunch and, by the time the 12 Footers resumed racing, the Broad was quite busy as the club was also running a Phantom open meeting and normal club racing.

Race 2 saw Bert Hamminga leading in Anneka but he made a mistake with the course and several boats followed him in the wrong direction. When he realised his error he went back and corrected himself but not everyone else did – one or two missed out a mark. By now Margaret Delany and Gerry Murry sailing together in Copa were out in front but they too missed a mark and again others followed!

After three laps Copa crossed the line first with Tortoise second but everyone knew the results would need some sorting out! Fortunately, being a friendly class, this could be resolved much later; in fact the decision was made over dinner that evening at the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk YC and the outcome was that the race win went to Bert Hamminga's Anneka with Mr Toad 2nd, Reinhard Schroeder's Skylark third and everyone else DNF!

Meanwhile Race 3 took place in blustery conditions as the breeze became a strong southerly and only three boats came to the starting line. Oranjetipje was the winner ahead of Anneka and Skylark.

On Sunday the breeze was lighter and more westerly but, with dark clouds building, there were some big shifts that made the windward legs quite tricky. All seven boats came to the start line for their Race 4. This gave a good battle between Mr Toad and Oranjetipje with the Dutch boat eventually taking the win, and Anneka moved ahead of Tortoise to take 3rd.

These four were also the front runners in the fifth and final race until Mr Toad suffered the indignity of a capsize in a gybe on the final round and was left behind. Peter Bleeker in Oranjetipje gained another first place and so became the clear winner of the event. Mark Duffield's Mr Toad was second overall despite her mishap – and as the only Int 12 sailor in the club, Mark took charge of the prize-giving, giving everyone a chance to comment on his wet clothes!

The boats were soon packed up and ready for the road. Fortunately the rain held off until then.

It was great to welcome the 12 Foot Dinghies to Oulton Broad as their owners are so enthusiastic about the class and we look forward to seeing them again in the future.

Overall Results:

PosNatSail NoBoatHelmClubCrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stNED824OranjetipjePieter BleekerVWDTP 2(DNF)1115
2ndNED112AnnekeBert HammingaKWV Heeg ‑612339
3rdGBR50Mr ToadMark DuffieldWOBYC / RNSYC 12(DNC)2DNF13
4thGBR7TortoiseColin BlewettPoole YC 3(DNF)DNC4217
5thGER573SkylarkReinhard SchroederSKBUE 7337(DNC)20
6thIRL8CopaMargaret DelanyLough Ree YCGerry Murray4(DNF)DNC5421
7thNED673LotjeJurri RooyackersKWV De Kaag 5(DNF)DNC6524

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