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Horning Sailing Club Regatta Week 2023

by Holly Hancock 7 Aug 2023 17:07 BST 31 July - 4 August 2023

Horning Week 2023 was a week of windy weather, challenging sailing, great racing and friendship. Despite the unfavourable forecast, the conditions were much better than expected and all racing was able to take place, with a large turnout.

It transpired that the river at Horning feels quite small with 18 dinghies on the start line filling the entire width of the river - and that was just in one start on Monday morning! It was a spectacularly busy start to Horning Sailing Club's 2023 Regatta Week with some 30 dinghies on the water for the early morning races, ranging from the experienced racer, including one who had just returned from a fantastic 41st position at the Topper World Championships (well done Abbey, a brilliant achievement!) - to those taking part in their very first race in Optimists, having started learning to sail just a few weeks ago!

It was very breezy for the morning races, though later the winds dropped during the day (completely opposite to the forecast), before picking up again during the evening races. With the gusty winds, many boats opted to reef or use smaller rigs and, despite this, there were some gear failures, including a Laser mast which snapped during a spectacular capsize! Thankfully, no lasting harm was done and the sailor was back out for the next race with a different rig!

There was entertainment provided in the first Yare & Bure race, as one boat started on their five minute signal, having to return to the starting line some time later to re-start. This would be a theme that several boats (mainly Yare & Bures) would continue to do throughout the week, much to the amusement of those watching! The Shields White Admiral Trophy, awarded for first YBOD on the morning race, was awarded to Liz Goodyear sailing Chalkhill Blue. The stand-out sailor during the afternoon series was Queren Stewart, sailing his self-built boat "Blue Moon", racing with the Yare & Bures and finishing ahead of all of them over the water by a considerable margin!

The evening race was for the Officers' Trophy, which saw a good turnout and variety of boats participating. It was won by Robert Hancock, crewed by daughter Holly (both ex-Commodores of HSC) in Reedling Siskin, just 30 seconds on handicap ahead of Paul and Sarah Clarke in Yeoman Two C Sons.

Tuesday began overcast and dull, but the conditions were also windy and wild! With Snowflake Sailing Club kindly running the line, there were again a large number of dinghies participating in the first races, with plenty of capsizes and excitement.

By the morning keelboat races, the gusty winds were still proving challenging, with two Rebels and a Yare & Bure ending up in the reeds despite remaining reefed. Others took on a lot of water and were seen bailing out around the course.

Amongst the Yeomans, Paul Clarke did his now-traditional sail backwards on the start line to clear the weed from his rudder - before a shackle broke, leaving his jib flying free just prior to the starting signal. A speedy team effort saw him back on the water moments later to huge cheers from those watching!

In stark contrast to the morning's racing, by the afternoon series the wind had dropped to provide little more than a drift, and racing was very slow.

Over the course of the day, there were several trophies awarded for one-off races, including the Lysandra Trophy for Yare & Bures, going to Tom Heaffey in Comma; the Avis Tankards for the lunchtime cruiser race going to Phil Montague and Sarah Heaffey in Pickle; the Miras Tankards scratch race which was won by Robert Hancock and Alan Goodchild in Reedling Siskin; and the Delves Challenge Cup for junior helm under 18, won by Hamish Harmer in his Splash.

Wednesday began with an even stronger breeze, and with neighbouring club Norfolk Broads Yacht Club kindly running the line, it was a challenging day for both the race teams and competitors alike. Despite numerous capsizes, gear failure and boats taking on considerable amounts of water, sailors still returned with huge smiles on their faces, particularly the young dinghy sailors, who enjoyed the lively conditions.

Several single race trophies were competed for, including the morning Yare & Bure race for the Bosun Trophy, won by Clive Gardner in Hairstreak. The river cruisers raced for both their lunchtime and afternoon series during the day, although with some trepidation given the increasing winds. Amongst the starters was sailing cruiser Harrier, perhaps one of the oldest in the fleet, still racing at over 100 years old, whilst at the opposite end of the spectrum the Broadacres Cup went to one of the newer additions to the fleet, Grayling, helmed by Peter Goshawk.

The evening Junior Race saw a number of dinghies and keelboats participate, and strong competition from those taking part - the race, and Junior Trophy (helm under 18) being won by James Street helming Yeoman Folly Too. The Braithwaite Cup for Services and Ex-services was won by Queren Stewart in Blue Moon.

Thursday was the Horning Town Open Regatta, the day which sees competitors race for silver-plated spoons that are awarded to those finishing in first, second and third place. With competition fierce, it was action-packed on the water, on yet another blustery day.

Tradition dictates that the Presidents for the day, this year Holly, Christine & Robert Hancock, host a reception for those attending, and this year it was wonderful to see many of the Club's older members staying around to watch the racing from the front of the clubhouse, reminiscing about times gone by. It also falls to the Regatta Presidents to choose the recipient for the Original Horning Challenge Cup for "Outstanding Performance on Horning Town Open Regatta Day", which was awarded to 11-year-old Primrose Reardon-Burr, who not only sailed her Topper in the main races of the day for the first time, but excelled in doing so, and loved every minute!

There were also several single race trophies sailed for during the day, including the Landamore Open Regatta Trophy for Yeomans, which was won by Toby Fields sailing Tanskey. The Rebel Lion Trophy was won by Peter Brown sailing Rebel Rothay, and the Bath White Trophy by Mark Harris sailing Blue Wings. The Onyx Trophy for Reedlings went to Kevin Saunders sailing Cockatrice, defending his win from last year, whilst the lunchtime Waterman's race for the Yacht Builders' Challenge Cup was won by Alan Goodchild helming Yeoman Folly Too. The Second Horning Challenge Cup for the best performance across all fleets during the lunchtime race went to Phil Storey sailing Rebel H.

James Galloway sailing his Laser received the Ranworth Salver whilst Jasmine Herring sailing her Topper won the Cockshoot Salver, with the Crystal Salver for River Cruisers going to Paul Howes helming Melinda.

By the evening series the wind had dropped and one of the favourite races of the week took place - the Second Water Babies Challenge Cup, which sees helms aged under 18 and crews under 21 take to the water in keelboats. Sailed for in a variety of keelboats from Yeomans to Rebels and Yare & Bures, momentarily great friends became rivals, although all in good spirit as the young sailors supported each other around the course. After an intense half hour's racing, it was Eleanor Holmes helming Yare & Bure Nevada Blue, supported by her young crew of Primrose Reardon-Burr, Xanthe Harmer and Florrie Gould (who was celebrating her 11th birthday with a sail!) who crossed the line first, also winning on handicap. Ella Middleton, helming Rebel, won the Richard Page Memorial Trophy for first Rebel.

Friday's racing saw far calmer weather conditions but racing was still eventful, the rescue boats being kept busy with several rescues, including boats in the reeds and aground! The start line also became busier with two wherries joining in from opposite directions as they passed through Horning on their travels.

The single race trophies included the Yare & Bure Meadow Brown Trophy, sailed for in the morning race, going to Tom Heaffey sailing Comma; the Phiz Trophy for Rebels going to Simon Moore in Rebel; and the Chris Shallcross Memorial Trophy for Cruisers to George Brewis in Amantani.

Once again the evening races drew the crowds and saw numbers of competitors keeping up until the very end. The Bullard Cup for juniors in dinghies saw a mix of boats taking part from Toppers to Enterprises, Splashes to Lasers, being won by Hamish Harmer in his Splash. The Mary Cup for Novice Sailors also saw very friendly competition, with all competitors helming in their very first race - including 3 year-old Jessie Browne, the youngest competitor of the week, at the helm of Yeoman Folly Too, crewed by Mum Carol. After a tense lap of the course it was Dawn Docking, sailing Yeoman Two C Sons, crewed by Paul and Sarah Clarke, who won the Trophy on handicap, having also been first over the finish line.

At the conclusion of racing, Horning Week finished with high-spirited water frolics and a lot of laughter - both on and off the water. With competitors aged from 3 to over 80+, it really was a week for everyone to enjoy and, despite the challenging winds, that's exactly what they did.

The series trophies for racing can be found here (PDF format).

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