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TheQ

3 Rivers Race 2019

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After The Ferry we moved onto what was probably the best spectating spot of the day Ludham Bridge. This year there was no turn buoy but a line that had to be cleared on the bend just below Ludham Bridge between the guard ship and a post on the bank. This area can get busy normally with bridge traffic, let alone when you have a lot of sail boats trying to turn, with no option but to turn, as there is a bridge in the way.

There was a fair wind and most were able to sail straight to the bridge, but then had to tack all the way back out which led to quite a blockage and later on almost utter carnage. I'm not sure I understand all the rules of who gives way to who from a sailing point of view, but at times there literally was no water left and collisions were inevitable. I certainly would not have motored through there.

Some dramatic action from the A raters including sail number 20, just before it retired.IMG_2560.thumb.JPG.47c1e7c2cc453b29d67f7ea534bd60d0.JPGIMG_2555.thumb.JPG.0696f8a1feef8a17966e0f6bf31e8a3b.JPGIMG_2549.thumb.JPG.acbfe6860d6e39a50cfd156c03b8e703.JPGIMG_2548.thumb.JPG.ad6c09fef3c5a7ab6b5be58712d50a23.JPG

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It got very interesting for a few as they were running out of space and there was a queue of motor boats trying to flee the scene. Note the shortened sail on the retired A rater sail number 20. Not sure why he chose the worst possible moment to cast off again!

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IIRC The A Rater that retired at Ludham was due to a torn mail sail, I guessing the shortend rig is to below the tear. It was the first over the water in the race last year..

I put warnings on this and another web site about the race, all the boat yards  know it's on. yet some people claim they didn't know about it...

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1 minute ago, TheQ said:

 

I put warnings on this and another web site about the race, all the boat yards  know it's on. yet some people claim they didn't know about it...

We have met a number of hirers over the years who were adamant that their hire yard had made no mention of the race on handover. 

Why am I not surprised ?

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After a while we became aware of a commotion going on down river. More and more people were heading that way and we thought we would follow. The boats tacking back down river from the mark were proving to be an effective block to  anything attempting to come up river to take the mark. The odd motor cruiser added into the mix and it was complete chaos for a while with one or two loosing their nerve. At one point one sail boat got literally stuck under another sail boat.

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The race attracts a number of visiting competitors who appear to have a scant understanding of what 'close quarters' sailing as we do it on the Broads really means :default_biggrin:   I've criuised with sailing friends from 'ampshire and there abouts who regarded normal manouvers here as 'mental '.

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If you look carefully, somewhere in this melee you will see one sail boat on top of another. If you look carefully at the second picture, at sail number 37 you will see some Blue gaffer tape over the hole in the hull to keep the water out. With that many boats in such close proximity it was virtually impossible to avoid contact.IMG_2630.thumb.JPG.34fd86d3090d6a9cb2e6a3be64509faf.JPG

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You have to feel sorry for him, look at the river ahead!IMG_2651.thumb.JPG.aa530401e7303040a5be13bc1f5d1331.JPG

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With no where to go, some were choosing the bank!IMG_2656.thumb.JPG.201f8d3a472aed05ac9a3c296841de9f.JPGIMG_2654.thumb.JPG.dd6e3fb3f95b656bff9946732b73f4dc.JPG

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Amazing pictures many thanks for sharing with us :default_beerchug:

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I was standing right there, and it was carnage.

The boats going up the Ant like A-raters were doing what? 7 or 8 knots? The boats going down were tacking in a width of 4 boat widths. The A-rater arrived to find a hirer on the right hand side of the river (the hirers right hand side) who had just turned the corner to find what must have been his worst nightmare, he slowed to a crawl sensibly. The A-rater saw 2 competitor boats coming towards him out side the motor boat, so he took the only line he could, between the motor boat and the left bank. There was just enough room but he didn't or couldn't  sheet in enough and his boom remained with the motor boat, taking a chunk of his very expensive sail, and then went straight to the bottom of the river.

 

Just a note for Q since you are a wise and trusted member of the Horning team, and I expect will read this, if you look in the pictures you can see the Guard ship is clearly marked, but, this was invisible as you entered the basin before the bridge. The other end on the transit lime was a pole with a round red thing on the top about the size of a bagel. We stood on the corner and after hearing pretty much every boat shout "where's the line???" we called out directions. The Guard ship could have been much more visible and the end of the transit line could hardly have been LESS visible. At one point 3 large hire boats were queuing across the transit line and the biggest cheer of the day went to a half-decker who had to steer a very tricky course between all of them. 

It's worth also noting that the Guardship also calls out at that moment, "Race number please"

I would have been very sympathetic to anyone who replied "Go forth and multiply, I'm trying not to crash"

Since we saw about 20 crashes in the hour we were there I think for safety reasons it would be helpful to have the Guardship clearly visible from the turn and the transit line indicated by something about 3 foot wide? 

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I imagine if you get a cluster of yachts together they will shield the wind from each other  to some extent so no one can move! 

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After this we moved on to Acle Bridge. With hind sight we should have stopped at Potter as more seemed to complete that leg before the Lower Bure than I expected. I gave my camera arm a rest at Acle bridge and suitably surprised Phil when I asked for a bottle of Ghost Ship low alcohol from the fridge. Have to say that and the Heineken zero from The Ferry were not bad brews when you have the car keys with you.

After an hour or so of spectating here it was time to head back to Stokesby and spark up the BBQ. Things were much more serene here and those that were still heading down were very much caught out by the strong tide and dropping wind levels. We witnessed many boats making ground only to slowly drift back with the tide.IMG_2685.thumb.JPG.e131b07ccb1541cea0657d62fb110f47.JPGIMG_2679.thumb.JPG.056f994584dd7d78677107d84e5bb8df.JPGIMG_2674.thumb.JPG.c1553b8823a531e7a50ace8f980dfa06.JPGIMG_2671.thumb.JPG.a0ebb88bcad3038d6e4a378c1d20e64f.JPG

 

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This hire boat that was taking part really got caught out by the tide. They tried for about an hour just going between the free 24hr mooring and the pub. They even joked to us that they were so close to a pub and really wanted a drink, but were not allowed to. Eventually they mud weighted to take a rest and wait for some wind. I must apologise now if the smell of our BBQ became too much drifting across the river. After a while the one remaining mooring outside The Ferry proved too much and they raised the mud weight and started the engine. We had a brief chat as they motored past and having done their calculations they decided the pub was the right choice.

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 Boat under another...

Technically it looks like the red sailed 95, is in the wrong, and is coming into contact with the punt going away from the camera, the boat with sail number 87 is clear of the action, coming this way.

 

The general rules of sailing, trying to keep it simple, with out too much jargon..

Starboard = right hand side facing forward (but it stays starboard if you face aft)

Port = left hand side facing forward.

tack =  one set of wind directions with wind one side,

To tack = change sides with the wind passing round the front of the boat.

To Gybe, change direction with the wind passing behind the boat.

A sailing boat with the wind coming from it's right hand side has right of way over a boat with the wind coming over it's left hand side. the boat with the right of way will shout "Starboard!!!"

if two boats are on the same tack, the one nearer where the wind is coming from has to keep clear of the other one. the leeward boat will shout "windward boat"

If two boats are approaching the bank or an obstruction (a motor cruiser), the inner boat calls for "water" or "room to tack", the outer one has to tack and give him room.

There are more rules and refinements but the basics cover most situations

 

We sail on the broads often less than 6 inches apart, looking several boats ahead choosing a route between the traffic. Those used to wide open spaces, sail several feet apart, and choose their route depending on the wind.

We have a guardship debriefing on the event on Friday, I will bring up the info on boats claiming not to know where the turning point is.

Though the competitors are told, what a guardship looks like and where the turning points are, so they should keep sailing on until till they see the guardship sign, and with the big orange banner  on it's side. (flashing orange light at night)

Technically anyone replying " it's up there", means the boat receiving the information, is disqualified for "Outside Assistance"

 

 great photos by the way.

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This picture of Wandering Rose was taken around 8pm. It managed to tack down river and around the bend. Once the BBQ had died down we decided to take a drive out to Potter and see what was going on there, but found it deserted and only one boat on the horizon so we decided to head back to Acle Bridge. Again nothing much going on so a strategic decision was taken to return to Stokesby and park the car and head to the Ferry for something alcoholic finally. We walked outside with our pints and sat in the garden just after 10pm and Wandering Rose was still tacking and just about to inform the guard ship that they were retiring. A Herculean 2hrs tacking in the same bit of river.

For us as spectators it was probably one of the best we've seen in a while. We should have stopped at Potter Bridge before Acle Bridge but we still got to see plenty of racing and got loads more pictures than the ones posted here. Our plans seem to have worked well for us and are likely to be repeated next year so watch out for more piccies next year.

 

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Technically yes Q, but technically I’m sure none of them could hear it. 

It wasn’t a matter of rules of sailing in the narrow section at the top of the Ant. The rules of sailing assume, essentially, that there is enough water to allow all boats to pass. If there isn’t then a sensible skipper would turn round. In the narrow section at the top of the Ant you can’t turn round. We saw more than one example of two boats together going UP at speed. , three boats tacking DOWN very slowly and a hire boat in the middle. Impossible to resolve without contact  

 

But it was the most fantastic spectacle and I have nothing but admiration for all the skippers including the hire boat skippers who even if they had been warned (and I know that at least one who picked up from Stalham wasn’t told anything) did their best in extraordinary circumstances  

 

I have an interest as next year I will be doing it in our new boat  10 feet longer than any I’ve competed in before  

Brown trousers anyone?

 

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Q , nicked this picture from EastCoastIPaA

Lots of people entered this section close to the wooden motor cruiser far right. From there I'm pretty sure the words Guard ship are invisible, so hugging the starboard side of the river they saw the guard ship as the went level with it. The Guard ship then indicated the transit line with an arm - its to where the camera is.

I'm not complaining, just think it could be better. I've done the mark further down the river, and a mark, not transit line on this years transit line, so pretty much everyone looked confused and it was about as difficult as river sailing gets.

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Great pics btw EastCoast. We were together all day..

 

One of the best days sport I have ever seen.

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1 hour ago, TheQ said:

 Boat under another...

Technically it looks like the red sailed 95, is in the wrong, and is coming into contact with the punt going away from the camera, the boat with sail number 87 is clear of the action, coming this way.

 

 

Not the only time he had problems either......

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Q - it was good to see that this year they moved the S Walsham mark a little up Fleet Dyke but I thought it a little odd that it was bang in the middle of the big bend! Whilst it is not as bad as the Ludham turn, surely it would make some sense to move it into one of the bays where the fishing platforms are ( only 50 m or so away ) - it would give everyone so much more room and enable crews to prepare as you could not see that guardship until you were right on top of it?

Similarly Ludham - I know its meant to be exciting for spectators but if my boat was damaged because of a poorly positioned mark I might be a little waspy about it!! As has been said you could not see the guardship until after you went round the bend approaching the bridge - would it really made a lot of difference to put it, say, where the bridge height board board is downstream where it is wider? I know its not quite as challenging(!) there but it may save damage which no one really wants to see?

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Not a user of the flappy things but really enjoying tHIs thread. Might have to try it.

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