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Fast Handling Technique by Frank Bethwaite
 Fast Handling Technique by Frank Bethwaite

Norfolk Punt Championship 2019 at the Norfolk Punt Club

by Alan Davis 20 Aug 13:09 BST 17-18 August 2019
Norfolk Punt Championship on Barton Broad © Robin Myerscough

A fleet of fifteen boats turned up for the NPC Norfolk Punt Championships held annually on Barton Broad and the weather forecast prepared the crews for a breezy weekend's racing.

With the wind building throughout the Saturday morning the competitors were all out on the water for the first race. James Jarvey in 51 Harnser got to the D-mark first with Colin Murray in Hooper a close second. Colin Murray managed to get his spinnaker up and working on the downwind leg very quickly and got a substantial lead which he kept to the end of the race.

The start of the second race saw the wind increasing and becoming very gusty and this caught a lot of competitors out, with 27 Rushlight sailed by Jack Drew-Levington caught by a gust and had to be rescued as Rushlight's stern was under the water. Colin Murray and Drew Wilton had a spectacular spinnaker fight that went the length of the broad, at very close quarters with Colin Murray managing to get his spinnaker down cleaner and getting to the mark first. Several of the traditional punts had to withdraw as the conditions worsened and threatened to damage these more fragile vessels.

Race 3 in the afternoon had only ten boats start instead of the original fifteen and once again Colin Murray in Whooper took the lead and kept it for two rounds pulling ahead of his nearest challengers until he capsized. Drew Wilton made the most of this situation and got past him and managed to keep the lead to the end.

Simon Clayton sailing Decoy, one of the few people who had not been for a swim, was the overnight leader on handicap.

The second day dawned with a lot less wind, but it was in the same direction, although shifting throughout the two races making course plotting a matter of chance, with gusts and holes in the wind making life difficult for the crews... lucky for some and unlucky for others.

In the first race Colin Murray pulled out a big lead from Andrew Friend and James Jarvey, and managed to keep it to the end. There was fun at the finish line with a sudden change in wind direction causing Simon Clayton and Andrew Friend "teabagging" their crews as they crossed the line.

The final race saw a squall come through at the end of the first round and three punts capsized, two with the spinnakers up giving the safety boats some serious work to do. Colin Murray again pulled out a big lead and as hard as Andrew Friend tried he could not catch him.

Overall top 3 results:

1. Simon Clayton Decoy
2. Colin Murray Whooper
3. James Jarvey Harnser

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