wenty-one boats from as far afield as the Isle of Wight and the south coast converged on Oulton Broad for this year’s Broadland Squib Regatta. This event marks the end of the very competitive Oulton Broad Winter Series and also gives an opportunity to the visitors to tune up before returning to their host clubs for the Summer.
The event was preceded by a friendly River Race on the Friday, taking the fleet from Oulton Broad to the Waveney Inn at Burgh St Peter for lunch, via Somerleyton. The River Race was won by Simon Marfleet and Stef Oosthuysen in Firebird, followed closely by Oliver Hunt and Richard Fryer in Crazy Diamond and Iain Jones and Celia Rushton in Aldebaran, who had travelled all the way from Weymouth for the event.
Saturday dawned with overcast conditions and a gentle Force 2 to 3 south-easterly breeze which swung further to the south as the day went on, resulting in shifty conditions. This event is sailed in flights with the top 10 at the end of day one being promoted to the gold fleet for Sunday and the remainder racing for the silver fleet trophy. Past National Champions, Nigel and Jack Grogan immediately showed their form leading from start to finish in their first race and in the second race of the series Bryan and Jenny Riley, also past National Champions, passed Richard Sullivan and Sue Harper on the second beat to record a win.
The Grogans went on to win their two remaining races whilst David Gooch and Gilly Foulds hit top form, winning their second and third races. This left the Grogans leading overnight, followed by Gooch and Foulds, with the Rileys in third place.
Unfortunately, that is how it all ended. On Sunday morning the competitors were met with rain and no wind and at 1130 race officer, Owen Delany, who had travelled all the way from his new home in Devon for the event, flew the abandoned signal, allowing visiting competitors to crane out early for their long journey home.
It was good to see a number of youthful newcomers to the class doing well with particular mentions for Chris Schonhut and Graham Reeve (4th overall), Richard Smith and Andrea Prime (7th overall) and Oliver Hunt (crewed by the evergreen Richard Fryer) finishing 10th overall.
Dave Gentry and Jackie Soards were popular winners of the silver fleet.
Thanks also to Paul Barker, our on the water “rules observer” who was on hand to provide gentle rules advice where necessary.
Full details and results are available on the event website, www.broadlandregatta.co.uk.
by Richard Sullivan