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Orwell Navigation Event at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Mike Clayton 16 Jun 08:15 BST 13-14 June 2020

The Royal Harwich Yacht Club ran the Orwell Navigation event on the weekend of 13th & 14th June. The event was run as a self-timed, handicapped time trial.

The main event was a course from the Club at Woolverstone on the River Orwell to the Orwell Channel Mark near Shotley with a return to the club line, a distance of around 7.5nm each way. A shorter course to Channel Mark No 5, situated across from the iconic Butt and Oyster pub at Pin Mill could be chosen as an alternative.

The aim is to make maximum use of the ebb and flood tides, with the aim of rounding the downstream mark at or close to low water. To achieve this competitors determine their own start time. All channel marks had to be rounded or passed on their channel side at all times.

Conditions on the Saturday were good, but the ESE wind direction meant that it was a beat all the way to Orwell, and a run back. The only Saturday entrant for the main event was an RS400 who found the wind more fitful than expected and returned with a benchmark time of just over 2 hours.

For Sunday the wind shifted marginally more to the South to give less beating on the down-river leg. Sunday also saw a larger group of competitors including a small yacht, one of the club's fleet of Ajax keelboats and a range of dinghies and cats. Stephen Olle and daughter Jemima in their Hurricane 5.9 SX posted the quickest elapsed time of 1 hour 11 minutes, but it was the match racing Phantoms of Bob Portway and Matthew House that came out top on handicap, finishing within 30 seconds after 15 miles of racing. Some later starters found more wind on the last section from the Suffolk Yacht Harbour at Levington to Orwell, but the beat into the building flood tide cost them more time than they gained. Third place on handicap were George and Lucy Finch in their new National 12.

The shorter course saw fewer entrants, with Matthew House completing the course on Saturday coming top, just ahead of Mike and Martine Clayton in their Ajax. Dominic and Cameron Bowden completed this course in their Optimists on Saturday, battling the flooding tide to come equal third as their time recorder could not separate them.

The Club hope to run this new event in future years.

Overall Results:

PositionClassCrewPNTotal TimeTotal Time (Hcap)
Orwell Navigation Race
1PhantomBob Portway100401:32:0801:31:46
2PhantomMatthew House100401:32:3201:32:10
3N12George & Lucy Finch106401:43:4601:37:32
4WayfarerSteph Hensley110201:52:0801:41:45
5Hurrican 5.9 SXStephen Olle & Jemima69501:11:5801:43:33
6Ajax ‑ Non SpinnakerGordon SuttonĀ 104001:52:0001:47:42
7Sprint 15Mark Dean92601:50:5101:59:43
8Laser RadialRobin Dean114702:26:2002:07:35
9RS400Bob & Amanda Portway94202:02:3102:10:04
10Dufour 32Pat York93202:08:0002:17:20
Short Course
1PhantomMatthew House100400:25:4200:25:36
2Ajax ‑ Non SpinnakerMike & Martine Clayton104000:27:4100:26:37
3=OptimistCameron Bowden164200:50:4300:30:53
3=OptimistDominic Bowden164200:50:4300:30:53

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