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EAORA Ralph Herring Trophy and Pattinson Cup weekend

by Cathy Brown 15 May 18:55 BST 11-12 May 2019
Intense (Sunday Race winner) at the EAORA Ralph Herring Trophy and Pattinson Cup weekend © Andy Wise

The East Anglian Offshore Racing Association celebrates its 70th birthday this year, and the season kicked off, according to long-established tradition, with the Ralph Herring Trophy race (West Mersea to Burnham on Crouch) on Saturday May 11, followed by the Pattinson Cup race (Burnham to West Mersea) on Sunday May 12.

Chilly north easterlies were forecast, and showers, but that did not stop a fleet of ten yachts, including four new to EAORA, joining in the fun. They were well spread across the rating spectrum, from 1.093 (Salt, Gareth Jordan's Maxi 1300), at the top of class one, to Seraphina of London, D Malcolm and C van Kinken's Nauticat, the lowest rated in class three at 0.876.

Last year's winner of both races, Richard and Cathy Brown's Arcona 410 Brave, made the best start, and led all 48 miles of the Ralph Herring Trophy, but this year failed to save her time on the following pack.

It was a long, cold beat, fortunately mostly with fair tide, from Mersea to the top of the Gunfleet, and then a very pleasant spinnaker run all the way to the Crouch. The forecast showers stayed away until just after the leaders had finished, when a very wet and windy squall hit, making life interesting for those still to cross the line.

Michael Wheeler's evergreen 1974-built S&S 41 Golden Fleece was victorious, on corrected time, followed by two new additions to the fleet, Lizzie Brown and Paul Woods' Corby 33, Intense, and Victoria, Adrian and David Gibbons' Archambault 31, both recently imported from the Netherlands.

The Pattinson Cup on Sunday began with a lot of short tacking out of the Crouch, which particularly suited Intense and Victoria, and last year's overall EAORA champion, Paul Scott's Sigma 38 Spirit.

Fortunately, it was warmer than the day before, with plenty of sunshine, and the run back into Mersea, on another 48-mile course, was a reminder of why offshore racing is so addictive. Once again Brave took line honours, but with not enough time in hand to trouble the podium.

Victory went to Intense all the more commendable as the crew included two cadets, whose hard work and miles covered will go towards the EAORA cadet championship, sponsored by FHC. Spirit was runner-up, also scoring a double class win for the weekend.

More photos at:

Thanks go to MS Amlin, which is sponsoring EAORA's anniversary year. A much bigger fleet is expected for the next event in the programme the RORC North Sea Race at the end of the month.

Ralph Herring trophy Results:

   1 Golden Fleece, Michael Wheeler, West Mersea YC
   2 Intense, Lizzie Brown and Paul Woods, Royal Burnham YC
   3 Victoria, Adrian and David Gibbons, Colne YC
   1 Intense
   2 Victoria
   3 Brave, Richard and Cathy Brown, Haven Ports YC
   1 Spirit, Paul Scott, Haven Ports YC
   2 Zero Gravitas, Tim Brooke, Walton and Frinton YC
   3 Lyra of London, Miles Delap, Royal Corinthian YC
   1 Golden Fleece
   2 Borsalino, James Fisher, Haven Ports YC

Pattinson Cup Results:

   1 Intense
   2 Spirit
   3 Borsalino
   1 Intense
   2 Victoria
   3 Brave
   1 Spirit
   2 Zero Gravitas
   3 Lyra of London
   1 Borsalino
   2 Golden Fleece

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