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East Anglian Offshore Racing Association Mary Hill Trophy

by Cathy Brown 23 Jul 2019 23:02 BST

Mary Hill Trophy

The EAORA (East Anglian Offshore Racing Association) Mary Hill Trophy race on Saturday July 20 was not a tempting prospect - upwind from Harwich across the Thames Estuary to Ramsgate, with a south westerly gale warning in force.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there were a couple of no-shows, with only six boats on the start line, and another retiring soon after. The incentive to keep going for the faithful few was the need to be in Ramsgate for the Round the Goodwins race, one of the "classics" of the EAORA calendar, the following day.

Richard Matthews' Oystercatcher XXXIII, by far the biggest boat in the fleet, was the least affected by the lumpy conditions, and powered away into the distance, taking line honours with an elapsed time of only just over five hours.

Oystercatcher XXXIII had the advantage of fair tide at North Foreland, where all those following had to battle increasing foul tide for the final crucial beat to the finish line, which helped to ensure overall victory on handicap, too.

Paul Scott's Sigma 38 Spirit is something of a heavy weather specialist, and although he could not catch the other class one boat, Richard and Cathy Brown's Arcona 410 Brave, on the water, he beat her comfortably on handicap.

Most notable performance of the day, perhaps, came from the syndicate-owned Sigma 33 Woozle Hunter, by far the smallest boat in the fleet, the only survivor in class three, which finished comfortably ahead of the other class two entry, Miles Delap's Swan 431 Lyra of London.

Lyra's elapsed time was just over ten hours - almost twice as long as Oystercatcher's.

Overall - EAORA Mary Hill Trophy:

1 Oystercatcher XXXIII, Ker 51 Custom, Richard Matthews, West Mersea YC
2 Spirit, Sigma 38, Paul Scott, Haven Ports YC
3 Brave, Arcona 410, Richard and Cathy Brown, Haven Ports YC

Class 1 - EAORA Mary Hill Trophy:

1 Oystercatcher XXXIII
2 Brave

Class 2 - EAORA Mary Hill Trophy:

1 Spirit
2 Lyra of London, Swan 431, Miles Delap, Royal Corinthian YC

Class 3 - EAORA Mary Hill Trophy:

1 Woozle Hunter, Sigma 33, P Hammond, D Harrington-Lynn, A Pentelow and A Thomas, Marconi SC

Round the Goodwins

What a difference a day makes. After the bruising bash under black clouds on Saturday, the Round the Goodwins race on Sunday July 21 enjoyed almost unbroken sunshine, and at times too-gentle breezes.

The Round the Goodwins race is the first event in Ramsgate Week and there were 32 entries in the IRC classes, including seven competing in the EAORA division.

Once again, the tide proved hugely influential, with one leading EAORA contender swept past the start line, and in the very light airs unable to return to cross the line before the time limit.

For those who did start, the beat to the windward mark very rapidly became a fetch as the tide swept them south and many of the early starters were swept past the mark, hoisting spinnakers in the attempt to run back to it.

The later starters were able to learn from their example, and stay as high as they could, but even so, very few rounded the mark and got away at the first attempt - most finding a "hole" in the wind right at the mark.

But no sooner had they escaped the confusion than the breeze filled in, providing a powerful reach out to Goodwin Knoll.

Then it was on the wind for the down-tide trip south down the outside of the Goodwins. But this time the tide did not help Oystercatcher, far out in front, which reached the turning mark at SW Goodwin with the south-going stream still running powerfully against her, for the run back up the Gull Stream to the finish.

By the time the following pack was heading north, the tide was slackening, and then setting north in their favour.

The slowest boats, which had not reached SW Goodwin before the tide turned, faced another problem as the wind died again, and kedge anchors came out, before engines were eventually switched on. There were quite a few - including one EAORA boat - which did not finish.

Thanks go to MS Amlin, which is sponsoring EAORA's 70th anniversary year. The next event in the programme is the Houghton Cup and Amazon Cup weekend, Burnham to Brightlingsea and Brightlingsea to Burnham, on August 24 and 25.

Overall - EAORA Round the Goodwins:
1. Brave
2. Oystercatcher XXXIII
3. Mercury, Club Swan 42, Ross Eldred, Medway YC

Class 3 - EAORA Round the Goodwins:
1. Woozle Hunter
2. Borsalino, SJ 35, James Fisher, Haven Ports YC

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