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North West Norfolk Week 2023 Day 8

by Jennie Clark 6 Aug 2023 20:04 BST 29 July - 5 August 2023

The final day of Norfolk Week saw reduced wind compared to earlier in the week, with winds around 8-10 knots, dying off in the second race to almost nothing, leading to tows required to all boats coming back into the creek.

Both fleets had one full race, with a second race being a quick sprint of 20 minutes before both crowds headed back to Blakeney for the prize-giving.

National 12

3-10kts, rain and occasionally even more rain.

The late night decision in the pub last night was to have 2 races at Blakeney today, given the high (9.2m) tide - despite the rain forecast.

Movement in the dinghy park was slow, and soggy, but after an 8am briefing the fleet slowly launched and were even slower heading out to the race area, although with the southerly wind there was enough breeze at the race course - but a strong flood tide still.

Race 1

The course set was akin to a mobile phone number, but went something like X, 7, 4, 8, 10, 3, 9, 5, Line. A short beat with lots of tide saw Philip David and Rose Gore (N3499) and George Finch and Alex Gore (N3551) approach the mark, unfortunately for George & Alex they were on port and the tide closed any chance of a gap at the mark, so some turns were carried out. Close to Philip & Rosie was Rob & Harley Ford (N3459), showing that 7 days in a row of N12 sailing certainly helps with boat speed!

After 7, Philip & Rosie and John & Catherine Sears (N2957) headed for a direct route to the mark, but Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531) stayed out of the main channel for a little longer, a move which ultimately propelled them into first. At Mark 4, it was Rob & Harley and George & Alex following Steve and Jo. However, a quick tack after 4 then saw Philip & Rosie and John & Catherine in 2nd and 3rd place by Mark 8! So many place changes and only 4 marks completed, with 2.5 laps still remaining!

George & Alex managed to avoid a luffing match with Rob & Harley between Marks 10 and 3, but with George & Alex just getting room at the mark, they managed to pass. It took another lap until George & Alex could overtake John & Catherine upwind, in a continuous game of snakes & ladders. Philip & Rosie gained on the beats, but never quite enough, with the tide, to catch Steve & Jo.

1st - Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531)
2nd - Philip David & Rosie Gore (N3499)
3rd - George Finch & Alex Gore (N3551)

Race 2 - Jenny Lee Trophy

A bit more breeze had built, but with a smaller course set with now an ebbing tide. The course was a trapezoid: X, 9, 4, 5, Line.

After a general recall (!) Steve & Jo Sallis carried on sailing on starboard, never to return to the race area. On the second start the fleet were well behaved, starting well away from the committee boat to counteract the tide. George Finch & Alex Gore (N3551) put an early tack onto port, with some of the fleet following but everyone had to tack back onto starboard before Mark X. John & Catherine Sears (N2957) rounded just inside of George & Alex, and carried a short lead until Mark 9, where a quick gybe by George & Alex put them in 1st. After rounding Mark 4, a "decent gust" enabled Philip David & Rosie Gore (N3499) to overtake John & Catherine. Thought the next 2 laps, the breeze began to decrease as the tide was getting stronger, Philip & Rosie had a great gust in Lap 2 on the way to Mark 9, whilst George & Alex were stuck in a light patch, but it didn't hold for long enough Philip & Rosie to close the gap. After the 3rd lap in ever lighter (and wetter) airs, George & Alex crossed the line first, with Philip & Rosie in 2nd and John & Catherine Sears in 3rd.

The fleet then "enjoyed" an incredibly slow sail in to Blakeney, with most opting for / being given a tow in. A little mention must go to Tim & Alison Hampshire (N3502) who were out for a "romantic day at Blakeney" and were last seen walking their N12 through the marshes!

Allcomers

After a vote in the dinghy park whether to have 1 or 2 races, it was decided that both the 12s and the allcomers would have 2 races that day. The allcomers headed out towards the start line, with just enough wind to run out of the creek. After the 12s, the allcomers crowd lined up on the line, making sure that no one was inside of the inner white mark between the end of the line and the committee boat.

Seconds before the start, several boats collected each other on the committee boat end of the line. However, most of the fleet got away cleanly, with the choice of going long on starboard tack, or to tack off early onto port. Both these options seemed to pay off equally. RS300 Sam Davy was first to the windward mark, with SeaFly 477 going up the inside of Streaker 1734 to be 2nd and 3rd at the mark respectively. OK 95 (Duncan Ellis) was 4th, with the rest of the fleet following on. Miracle 4120 (Nick Copsey & Ian Gore) had a good start staying as far right as possible and staying out of everyone else's dirty wind.

The SeaFly 477 then shot away in 2nd from the pack behind with their large kite. OK 95 also passed Streaker 1734 for 3rd place (on the water) as they emerged from the third downwind leg back onto another upwind leg of the course. Streaker 2121 began to work his way through the pack after getting tangled on the start line. Laser 216564 began to jostle with OK 95 after also passing Streaker 1734 on the prior upwind leg. Initially, Miracle 4120 stayed within the mid-pack, but began to fall back as the wind began to drop. After 3 laps of the enduring course, the Allcomers were finished by the committee boat. Sam Davy in his RS300 came 1st (with both line honours and on handicap), with 4120 Miracle coming in 2nd. Streaker 2121 (Ian Bradley) rounded up the top 3.

With the wind dying, the Allcomers set off for race 2. However, both the 12s and the Allcomers had general recalls, due to the dying wind and vicious tide pushing boats over the line. Eventually, the Allcomers got away on a short, square course that took less than 10minutes to complete. The order of boats was similar to before, and the nature of the course meant that passing or making progress through the pack was challenging, hindering boats that had bad starts, like Streaker 1734. After a couple of laps and around 20 minutes, the race was ended, for boats to make it back to the quay before the wind completely died (which it did as the start of the Allcomers began to enter the creek!).

Blakeney was the last event of 2023 Norfolk Week, with the NWNSW crowd heading up to the Harbour Rooms for the overall prize-giving. Hopefully, everyone who attended this year enjoyed themselves; huge thanks to all those involved either within the committee, helping with trolleys, or even the safety crew and ROs at each SC. For next year, we'll see if we can organise some better weather too!!

Overall Results:

National 12

1. N3531 Steve & Joanne Sallis
2. 3525 Ian & Alex Gore & Zoe Ballantyne
3. N3499 Philip David and Rosie Gore

Allcomers

1. OK 95 - Duncan Ellis
2. RS300 457 - Sam Davy
3. Laser 98 - Graham Ireland

The rest of the results can be found at www.norfolkweek.co.uk/results-2023

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