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North West Norfolk Week 2022 - Allcomers Report

by Jack Gore (age 14) 6 Aug 06:18 BST 23-30 July 2022
Norfolk Week 2022 © SBSC

Day 1: Snettisham Beach Sailing Club

Windy weather met the allcomers fleet at Snettisham beach on the first day of Norfolk Week. 2.30 was the proposed start time, however with little water the first boats began to leave the beach at 3pm. Ben Charnley took the win on in his Aero 7 by an impressive 7 minutes for the first race with Frances and Gerald Copsey coming in 2nd with their Miracle. Tim Landles finished off the podium spots 13 seconds behind.

There were many DNS and DNFs for the first race (inc me!); it was over 25 knots of constant wind speed, so to even finish was an achievement. Graham Ireland broke his Laser mast just as he crossed the finish line, although managed to fix this by Day 2. The 2nd race was abandoned due to the wind strength and finished off the first day of sailing. There was also an injury during the first race, with Paul Bloom falling onto his mast head first while capsized and needing stitches, and sadly ruling out another competitor for the rest of the week.

Day 2: Brancaster Staithe Sailing Club

Day 2 of Norfolk Week began with another windy day. 12 boats sailed out the creek and waited for the N12s to start, with 10 finishers. After the start, most people stayed to the left of the river on Starboard tack, with the Byte (no 2617) and Solo (no 5887) attempting a to get to the windward mark within 1 tack by going long on Port tack off the start. Simon Landles capsized in his Phantom at the bear away of the windward mark and was subsequently relegated to the back of the pack.

Jack Gore then capsized at the first gybe mark and again at the 2nd, causing a DNF due to boat failure. A big rain squall around halfway through the 2nd lap then caused multiple capsizes in the handicap fleet, keeping the safety boat busy! Overall the Laser 2000 finished first, helmed and crewed by Sarah and Bruce Kemp. Gerald and Tanya Copsey came in second and Graham Ireland coming in 3rd, with his quickly repaired mast from yesterday's sailing.

Day 3: Wells Sailing Club

The third day of NWNSW met the biggest fleet of allcomers so far - 17 boats with 17 finishers (although Jack Gore nearly had to retire with a broken tiller extension four and a half minutes before the start). After a slow reach and beat out of the club towards the mouth of the river, we started the race about 2/3 in the river. The wind had picked up slightly since launching and was now 'champagne sailing', with the sun out to top it off. After a slightly cautious start, the fleet started, a beat towards the mouth of the river and further into the sea.

After the windward leg was then a slight bear-away with two reaches, one broad and once closer to the wind, and then a run back to one end of the starting line – this became quite interesting with boats tacking all around on the beat a leg ahead if you were behind on the run (as a side note, the course was fantastic - thanks to the Wells volunteers!). After 3 laps of lovely sailing, Jasper Barnham won on handicap in his Solo with Aero9 sailor Ben Charnley taking silver. Graham Ireland took the final podium spot in his Laser.

Day 4: Ouse Amateur Sailing Club

Ouse SC opened the fourth day of Norfolk Week for the fleets, with the N12s starting in the morning and the handicap fleet racing in the afternoon. The N12 enjoyed light but ultimately enough wind for enjoyable racing, however by the afternoon this had all but died. Just before the start, Megabyte sailed by Tim Landles got caught up in the reeds and was relegated to the back of the pack by the time the horn had gone, and subsequently had to play catchup in the sometime fickle wind.

Richard Major in his Europe, Graham Ireland and the Enterprise sailed by Ellen and Neil Piper, as well as Godfrey Clark and Ian Bradley broke out a lead on the first lap, although Graham had to do turns at buoy 1A. The 'second' pack consisted of the Comet, Streaker no1560, Jack Gore and Gary Hogan (in swapped Bytes) and the Miracle sailed by Frances and Gerald Copsey. The wind did pick up slightly during the races, however was incredibly fickle at times – for example, on the leg back down to 1A, the pack in front were beating, and the second pack were on a run!

The Enterprise, sailed by Neal and Ellen Piper, then went to win the race. In the second race, the Comet got away cleanly but fell back due to the speed difference later on. The gaps were similar sizes, however the racing in each 'split' was enjoyable, similar as the first race. The Enterprise won the second race as well, becoming the day overall winners; second went to Ian Bradley and third went to Graham Ireland.

Day 5 of Norfolk Week: Blakeney SC

The first early morning met the allcomers sailing at Blakeney SC. Although forecast to be light - 2mph - it began to fill in by the time we began to launch. After the N12 start, the handicap fleet lined up for their start. Although Jack Gore had a good start, other boats further from the wind luffed him up outside the inner buoy and subsequently had to re-round the committee boat. All boats started on Starboard tack on the committee boat end of the line, except the SeaFly which started on Port tack on the opposite end of the line to try get to the first mark 'X' within one tack. Aero 1492 sailed by Hugh Jones tacked off early to get the windward mark first.

The first mark was slightly hectic with boats bearing down on both Port and Starboard tack, going into the buoy 2, 3 or even 4 wide! The gaps slightly increased on the first long downwind leg; however both the two downwind leg buoys were also hectic with several boats jostling for position. Some boats – such as Godfrey Clark in his Solo - gybed onto Starboard tack for the buoys, granting them overall rights over the rest of the pack. Close racing ensued for the next two and a half laps, with jostling for the lead as well as an enjoyable six boat squabble in the mid-pack.

Ian Bradley came first, Graham Ireland came 2nd, and Edward Fenn clinched 3rd place, prizes presented to the helms in the lovely Blakeney Quayside Hotel.

Day 6 of Norfolk Week: Burnham Overy Staithe

Another early start met the Norfolk Week sailors as we launched at Burnham Overy Staithe SC. Although the start was originally 7AM, we began launching at around half seven due to little wind at the original starting time. The start line was very small for the number of boats racing and in the final seconds of the start it became hectic. Nina Plumbe lost out on her start and was a way behind at the windward mark.

First was an upwind leg to X¹ then a close reach towards C. Both Aeros had pulled out a gap from third with Hugh Jones in his 9 leading Graham Iles in his 7 by Buoy C. Buoy C was a gybe though the fleet then a short close-hauled reach towards mark D before a long run towards X². In the middle of this long run, there was a shoal and gradually became shallower as the race progressed, however this affected the foiling 12s more than the handicap fleet. Then after rounding X², it was another lap - 3 more. Nothing more really took place except some good racing in the midfield.

Anna Jones and Jack Gore then overtook Tamsin Highfield on the last beat by a number of seconds due to her rudder popping up from the shallow water by the finish line and was unable to fix it in time.

Day 7 of Norfolk Week: Snettisham Beach SC

The 7th and final day of Norfolk Week was another early morning race. The turnout was good again despite the 7.30AM start. There was no briefing before the start, so boats began to launch and make their way to the start; Phantom Sailor Simon Landles capsized on his way towards the start after a gust and inevitable death roll. We waited for the National 12s to start, then lined up ourselves.

It was a triangular course that began with a long windward leg into the waves. There was a short sharp chop on the beat and some of the single-handers suffered not being able to keep momentum through the waves. Ian Bradley was late to the first race by over five minutes and although he finished the race, he was later DSQ'd for his late arrival. RS700 sailor Colin Dacey quickly caught up and overtook the National 12 fleet. Race 2 was a similar affair to Race 1 with the same course and similar conditions.

Conclusion

So that was the 72nd Norfolk Week of 2022 all wrapped up. Over the week all the sailors enjoyed close, fun racing. Graham Ireland came first overall, with Godfrey Clark taking silver in his Solo; third place went to Neal and Ellen Piper in their Enterprise. At the final prize giving, Anna Jones won first female helm trophy and Jack Gore won first Junior helm, being just 14.

Overall we enjoyed a good number of sailors with around 16 regulars each day in the handicap fleet. However each day we would have an additional couple of club sailors, so we had more like 18 sailors competing each day. A0lthough this obviously fluctuated with the weather and venues each day.

As we said in the prize giving at Snettisham Beach SC on the last day, try and bring a friend or 3 for next year. We only had two fleets this year (National 12s and Allcomers), compared to three in 2021, however we only need five of the same boat for a separate fleet with their own start: we only need a group of mates sailing the same class to dramatically increase the attendance of Norfolk Week.

Hopefully all of you enjoyed it this year, and we all hope to see you next year; Norfolk Week for 2023 has already been confirmed with dates 29th July to August 5th. Find more info about 2023 Norfolk Week at www.norfolkweek.co.uk.