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Wayfarer International Rally 2018

by Merrin Froggett 17 Sep 2018 23:06 BST 7-13 September 2018
Wayfarer International Rally on the Norfolk Broads © Terry Cook

Wayfarer sailors from eight nations gathered in Norfolk last week for the Wayfarer International Rally 2018. Organiser and UK Wayfarer International Committee representative, Ralph Roberts, saw his target of 100 participants exceeded as 114 people took to the water in the fleet of 40 Wayfarers, one Norfolk half-decker and a cruiser making this the biggest ever Wayfarer International Rally.

It was a fitting climax to the season in which the centenary of designer Ian Proctor is being celebrated coinciding with the 60th anniversary of his design for the Wayfarer.

Sailors from USA, Canada, Netherlands, Denmark, Poland and France joined with those from Ireland and the UK to experience the wetland habitat of the Norfolk Broads. The fleet relished the challenges presented by sailing twisting, narrow and reed lined rivers, tidal flows, low bridges, river traffic and sudden wind gusts between trees and buildings.

Comments were made that Broads sailing requires a high level of skill, persistence and patience as well as quick reactions. Many of the Wayfarer sailors had never tacked quite so much and felt that their tacking skills were well honed by the end of the week.

The event was based at Clippesby Hall and boats were berthed at Thurne. A selection of destinations each day ensured that the fleet dispersed but that the UKWA members and the visitors could enjoy sailing in company and sharing insights and experiences. Westerly winds made for fast passages to Hickling Broad and Horsey Mere but required determination (or a motor) for the return.

Some boats went down to Stokesby and swept back on the flood tide. Many snaked up the River Ant to How Hill visiting the wherry Hathor or went for a spin on Barton Broad. A succession of destination broads and villages along the River Bure made for shorter trips and cultural visits while most people visited Ludham Village and enjoyed the heritage of Hunter's Yard at some time.

Norfolk pubs were particularly popular with the overseas visitors looking for authentic experiences and warm beer.

Off the water, a hog roast and a talk by a Broads Authority ranger kicked off the week which was followed by music making led by the Danish delegation. Michael McNamara came to demonstrate how to get the most out of your cruising boat and then hosted two evenings at his sail loft making up and finishing a Wayfarer genoa each time.

An evening of foot tapping music was provided by the Shanty Buoys from Lowestoft and the week ended with a dinner at Dunstan Hall, Norwich to which transport was provided by two Routemaster buses.

We were delighted to be joined by Ian Proctor's son Roger, who spoke about his father and his remarkable lifetime designing boats and also presented special centenary awards to three Wayfarers who have made the Wayfarer Class or the International Wayfarer organisation and rallies the success they are today.

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