It was feared that with the forecast over the Christmas holiday period being what it was and for some suffering the effects of a late night seeing in the New Year, that some people may have been deterred from turning out but as the car park started to fill and the dinghy park was abuzz with boats being rigged with plenty of friendly banter and shouts of “Happy New Year” any fears were soon dispelled.
The day was bright with blue skies , wall to wall sunshine and a moderate south westerly breeze – possibly too much westerly blowing over the trees to make it a perfect direction and resulting in some wicked wind shifts to master.
With 3 races scheduled, the Sallis family, who once again had kindly volunteered to run the regatta, made the decision to set a conservative 3 Lap first race to “test-the-water” and see how everyone would manage shifting wind conditions. With 28 boats including 6 visitors representing 12 different classes (I bet nobody had heard of the “Unit” class before!) all sharing the same start line this seemed very sensible. With a long start line set across the broad in front of the clubhouse the decision was to either take advantage of the starboard bias and start at the far end of the line closer to the trees or hedge your bets and go for the middle of the line where the wind was more consistent. A long first leg down the length of the broad to No 3 mark meant that tactics would also come into play as to whether to point high, stay on the wind, taking advantage of any lifts to possible lay the mark without needing to tack at the risk of maybe sailing slower and capsizing to windward in the vicious headers as the wind came over the trees, or to go for speed and sail freer, with the possible downside of needing to tack to make the mark.
It was the single handers who seemed to make the best calls in Race 1 with Daniel Bull in his Laser leading the way and a visitor from WOBYC Adam Yoraston in his Streaker 2nd and Chris Barker with his Radial rig on his Laser in 3rd.
With wind continuing to shift further right for Race 2 the start line was once again loaded with boats all keen to pull the trigger and get clear of line as soon as possible, so much so that a general recall was required (much to Phil Highfield’s relief in his Streaker) . Everyone got away cleanly on the second time of asking and with a longer 4 Lap Race now set it was possible for the Wayfarers of Mike McNamara and Dave Houghton with their deft spinnaker handling to pull clear of the fleet and secure 1st and 2nd place respectively. Daniel and Adam, after their stella performance in Race 1 were both buried well down in the pack making everything to play for in Race 3 after lunch.
As the wind became lighter and continued to shift further right in the afternoon a course change was needed to try and get a couple of true upwind beats diagonally across the broad from No 6 to No 4 and No 2 to No 3 . It was Daniel Bull securing 2nd place, making him the overall winner and Adam who came 3rd, securing 2nd place overall who once again found their touch to make the most is this new course and the lighter wind conditions but the story of Race 3 was the spectacular asymmetric spinnaker work of Howard Ashley-Jones in his RS Vareo which gave him the race win and pull him up to 3rd place overall, ahead of Dave Houghton in 4th and Mike McNamara in 5th, both of whom had decided not to venture out in the afternoon.
At the prize giving Jon Sallis presented the New Years Day Regatta Binnacle, surely the Norfolk Broads most sought after trophy , to Daniel Bull in his Laser and thanked all the competitors, particularly the visitors, for turning out to make it such a spectacular way to kick-off the new year.
Full set of results can be found on the website at