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Norfolk Punt Championship at the Norfolk Punt Club

by Alan Davis 24 Aug 2018 09:29 BST 18-19 August 2018
Norfolk Punt Club Championships 2018 © Robin Myerscough

Twenty-one Punts turned up to the Norfolk Punt Club on Barton Broad for the Punt Championships 2018.

As the Norfolk Punt is a "development class" a variety of shapes and sizes are designed within certain limits and unfortunately two boats sails didn't measure up, although Michael McNamara (local sail maker) came to the rescue to one of them.

Saturday 18th August

With the wind in the WSW the Officer of the Day managed to get three good beats into the course. Everyone was very well-behaved on the start line, with Simon Clayton, in Decoy crossing the start line first and getting to the first mark ahead of the fleet. It was great to see a traditional Punt leading the way. Colin Murray and Whooper soon got passed Decoy and showed the fleet how to sail the course, beating the first hardchine, James Jarvey in Harnser, by only 7 seconds on handicap.

The second race saw the start going from the starting raft to get a longer beat. A close start with eight boats on the line, going at speed. There was a lot of shouting at the first Mark when Andrew Wilton in Merlin got stuck on the bouy and everyone had to go round them. The race saw Whooper, Harnser and Merlin all fighting for line honours with Whooper, again coming out top.

The third race, again from the starting raft, saw James Mason in White Eagle (in his first punt championship) go for port flyer, tacking at the last second and getting across the line 1st. He ended up fourth at the first mark, finishing the race with the spectacular capsize, right in front of the officers box, much to everybody's great amusement.

At the end of the day, Colin Murray was lying first having won all three races in Whooper, with James Jarvey second in Harnser, and Richard Whiteford in Comet and Simon Clayton in Decoy sharing third.

Sunday 19th August

On Sunday morning the fleet awoke to white horses on the Broad, and a strong gusting wind which thankfully calmed down before the start of the first race of the day and the fourth out of the series of five races over the two days. Andrew Wilton in Merlin got the first mark in the lead, with Colin Murray in Whooper very close behind. Jane Pye in Snow Goose capsized and managed to break her pole, but carried on and finished the race. James Jarvey sailed an excellent race and managed to beat Colin Murray by 9 seconds on handicap.

The fifth and last race, started with the wind beginning to build again. Matthew Scott in Woodpecker capsized just before the start. During the race Peter Callum in Barnicle Goose managed to lose their main halyard at the end of the first round, James Jarvey did exactly the same thing at the end of the second round. The OOD decided that as it was their last race they could do the fourth round, which resulted in the wind squalling and only 14 boats finishing. Richard Whitefoot in Comet, capsized just before the last mark whilst he was in second and ended up eighth overall.

Trophy Results:

  • Cuckoo Cup for first under 18 helm or crew: Sam Briggs, Merlin
  • Progress Challenge Cup (overall winner): Colin Murray, Whooper
  • Hardchime Trophy: James Jarvey, Harnser
  • Broads Haven Trophy for Traditional Punts: Simon Clayton, Decoy
Bottles: (race winner – one prize each)
  • 1st race Colin Murray, Whooper
  • 2nd race James Jarvey, Harnser
  • 3rd race Richard Whitefoot, Comet
  • 4th race Simon Clayton, Decoy
  • 5th race Jane Pye, Snow Goose

Punt Championship: (top three)

1st Colin Murray, Whooper
2nd James Jarvey, Harnser
3rd Simon Clayton, Decoy

The excellent turnout for the championships and the strong winds made for a superb two days for all competitors and for the many spectators on the pontoons or on the craft moored to watch the racing. Thanks to Cath Mason and her team for a brilliantly organised weekend.

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