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Tideway Lew Walker Challenge Cup at Hickling Broad Sailing Club

by Danny Lindsey 15 Jun 2019 18:01 BST 8-9 June 2019
Tideway Lew Walker Challenge Cup 2019 at Hickling Broad © Diana Lindsey

Hickling Broad Sailing Club (HBSC) played host to the Tideway Owners Association (TOA) 56th annual running of the competition for the Lew Walker Challenge Cup, members from around the country assembled to compete.

The meeting ran from Friday to Sunday and the weather leading up to and during the event had been less than kind for those travelling or for those staying over at the Hickling campsite. This rather curtailed the cruising program opportunities for all those present on the Friday and Saturday with very heavy showers and strong winds putting a damper on proceedings.

It was with some relief we retreated to the warm and cosy Pleasure Boat Inn on Saturday evening for the TOA AGM followed by a very good fleet supper with live music accompaniment.

Despite all forecasts the weather gods looked kindly on Hickling Broad on Sunday morning when 10 boats gathered for the race. The Challenge is usually run as 3 races with a discard but this year we needed to fit in with HBSC normal club racing program and so it was two races only with no discard but with our own start. With this being the TOA's only race meeting of the year the HSBC Race Officer patiently outlined the course to the mixed experience helms ranging from 'never race' to 'race frequently' and the fleet were set afloat.

In addition to the handsome Challenge cup to be awarded to the leading two-handed boat, the Rose bowl was also on offer for the leading Single Hander.

RACE 1, wind SW, force 2/3, course 3p,2p,1s,4s,5s. From the start line in front of the club house and over a roughly triangular course. TW 554 'Ruby' Hugh and Alison Ambery made a good start and were first at the windward mark after TW54 'Jolybods' Jolyon and Jennie Pope lost direction and position. Locals Anne and Jim Norfolk TW401 'Twilight' were in close attendance after having got to the line a little early and having to move further down so losing their prime start position.

There was a beam reach to mark 2 which was a gybe where the order was largely unchanged and where TW375 'Jenny' Richard Taylor was the highest placed single hander contesting position with the Norfolk's. Then there was a close fetch to leave 1 to starboard then a reach again to 4 where there was some jockeying for position. A few of the lower runners who wandered too far from the racing line found that their steel centre plates buried in the Hickling mud provided a very steady platform for some bird watching!

There followed a run to 5 passing the clubhouse to commence the second lap which was more or less a repeat of the first with the same boats in the mix, TW464 'Wild Goose' Arthur Davey and David Coldwell and TW484 'Avocet' Colin and Val Elliot were not far out of contention and single-handed TW557 'Sue' Richard Lee was making up lost ground and climbing through the fleet.

Once TW554 reached mark 5 the race officer shortened the race to 2 laps leaving only a short beat to the finish. TW554 Hugh and Alison Ambery took line honours followed by TW401 Anne and Jim Norfolk who had passed TW54 Jolyon and Jennie Pope. Then single hander TW557 Richard Lee following on - an impressive recovery from well down the fleet.

The fleet then came ashore for refreshments at the beautifully situated and friendly clubhouse where we had been made most welcome all weekend.

RACE 2, was sailed over a similar course but the wind had become a little lighter and flukier still from the SW. The wind swung about 30 seconds before the start to favour the port end of the line, which allowed TW557 'Sue' to take the lead followed by TW464 'Wild Goose', with TW 554 'Ruby', TW401 'Twilight', TW54 'Jolybods' and TW484 'Avocet' all in contention. TW557 reached the repositioned windward mark after several small wind shifts with a 30-yard lead followed by TW554 and TW401.

The race continued with the leaders in that order until the second beat when the breeze became fickle again. TW 554 managed to profit by keeping to the starboard side of the beat attaining the windward mark in the lead which she retained until the finish, the course again being shortened to 2 laps as the wind dropped away altogether. TW54 made up two places to come in second with TW401 third and TW557 again the leading single hander but only just overtaking TW375 on the line.

Hugh and Alison proving that their last win in 2016 was not a fluke and that GRP boats can compete successfully with the original wooden boats. This was emphasized by Anne and Jim Norfolk who are local and by no means sailing novices, but who have only owned their GRP Tideway for a few months putting in such an impressive performance. Jolyon and Jennie Pope may not have been jet lagged but possibly water logged as they hot footed it back from the Morbihan festival to compete and defend their title, which they nearly managed to do.

Thanks to HBSC for their hospitality and use of their facilities it was appreciated.

Overall Results:

Challenge Cup winner - TW554, Hugh Ambery & Alison Ambery
Rose Bowl winner - TW557, Richard Lee

PosSail noBoat NameHelmCrewR1R2
1TW554RubyHugh AmberyAlison Ambery11
2TW401TwilightAnne NorfolkJim Norfolk23
3TW54JolybodsJolyon PopeJennie Pope32
4TW557SueRichard Lee 1SH1SH
5TW375JennyRichard Taylor 2SH2SH
6TW484AvocetColin ElliottVal Elliot64
7TW464Wild GooseArthur DaveyDavid Coldwell77
8TW432JemmaMartin Mitchell 8DNF
9TW519DaisyDavid Schwartz 9DNS
10TW467Elli SJoe Wilford  10DNS

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