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End of season report for EAORA (East Anglian Offshore Racing Association)

by Paul Wood 15 Nov 2023 19:38 GMT
East Anglian Offshore Racing Association prize-giving © Andy Wise

Magic Moments for everyone at the East Anglian Offshore Racing Association prize-giving and AGM

EAORA's end of season prize-giving took place on Saturday 11th November at Haven Ports Yacht Club. There was an impressive array of trophies to be divided up amongst the competitors but the majority were split between the overall winner, Magic Moments, a Sigma 33 sailed by father and son Andy and Pelham Etherington, and Oystercatcher XXXV, a Carkeek 52 owned by Richard Matthews. This proves that the IRC rating system works, with boat designs at each end of the spectrum on the podium.

It was neck and neck for most of the season for Magic Moments and Oystercatcher XXXV, but both boats retired from the Rolex Fastnet race due to breakages. Congratulations to EAORA competitors Paul Scott, with Sigma 38 Spirit and syndicate-owned Sigma 33 Woozle Hunter, which completed the Fastnet in brutal conditions.

Magic Moments was back out racing slightly before Oystercatcher XXXV and landed two firsts in the passage race to Ramsgate and in the Royal Temple Yacht Club's Round the Goodwins race - which this year due to strong winds was an inshore race instead of circling the sands.

The EAORA silverware on offer at the prize-giving was spectacular. Oystercatcher XXXV was presented with the oldest offshore trophy in the UK, the Houghton Cup, dating back to 1911. Traditionally a Crouch Yacht Club trophy, now in the care of the Royal Burnham Yacht Club, this was originally presented for a night race with a circuit around the Sunk and Cork lightships. These days it is awarded to the best EAORA scoring boat in the Town Cup at Burnham on Crouch.

Sidney Houghton, who presented the trophy, in 1921 made a 25-day single-handed transatlantic crossing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Burnham in his newly-acquired 21 ton cutter Neith, designed and built by the legendary Herreshoff in Rhode Island in 1908.

EAORA has many years of tradition with trophies dating back over a century, but the Youth Programme, introducing youngsters to offshore racing, plays a major part today. It is sponsored by Fox's Chandlery and prizes were presented to Henry Steel and Chris Lynch, both racing on Spirit, Issy and Sam Taylor-Jones with Ben Rowland and Josh Beck, all racing aboard Sunstone, and Allegra Martin from Golden Fleece. Congratulations to all.

Class winners for the season were: Class 3: Magic Moments, Sigma 33, Andy and Pelham Etherington, Class 2: Spirit, Sigma 38, Paul Scott, Class I: Oystercatcher XXXV, Carkeek 52, Richard Matthews. Overall: 1 Magic Moments, 2 Spirit, 3 Oystercatcher XXXV.

This was the first season that EAORA included a class for multihulls, and the winner of the Mocra trophy was Jon McColl's Shockwave.

Oystercatcher XXXV won: David Cole Memorial Trophy, Charlie Mills Memorial Trophy, Houghton Cup, Carmen Cup, and jointly won the Nore Command Trophy with Micheal and Jason Wheeler with Golden Fleece for West Mersea YC.

Golden Fleece also won West Mersea YC's Colonel's Trophy and this will be presented at the WMYC Laying Up Supper.

Magic Moments won: Blackwater Cup (overall), Libya Cup, Amazon Cup, Brave Cup, Gunfleet Cup, Navigator's Cup, Two-handed cup and, jointly with Spirit, the Interclub Trophy for Haven Ports YC.

At the AGM a few hours earlier, the programme was agreed for 2024. For the first time in many years the Pattinson Cup and Ralph Herring weekend will be after the RORC North Sea Race, The RORC East Coast Race to Ostend on July 6th is the start of a week's racing in Southern Holland and West Mersea YC's Sunk Race is back in the programme as a feeder race from Harwich to Mersea on August 11th to encourage boats to stay for the IRC East Coast Nationals being held during Mersea Week.

2024 Programme with 11 races (7 to count):

10th May North Sea RHarwich to ScheveningenRORC RHYC EAORA
25th May Pattinson CupBurnham to MerseaWMYC
26th May Ralph Herring TrophyMersea to BurnhamRBYC
15th June Jane's CupBurnham to MedwayMYC
16th JuneThames Estuary shieldMedway to BurnhamRCYC
6th JulyEast Coast RaceHarwich to OstendeRORC/HPYC
7th July Cannonball TrophyOstende to BreskensEAORA/MYC
8th July EAORA WeekSouthern HollandEAORA
11th AugSunk RaceHarwich to MerseaWMYC/HPYC
31st AugHoughton CupBurnham to BurnhamRBYC
Fri 13th SeptBuckley GobletsWest Mersea to OstendeWMYC

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