Klipbok represented HYC at the Squib Nationals, in Lowestoft (Norfolk) over the week of 22nd to 27th June.
The Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club (www.rnsyc.org.uk) hosted 62 Squibs, an entry limited by the available space in the harbour.
Leaving behind nasty weather, we enjoyed beautiful weather for the six race series, punctuated by changeable winds (A.K.A. lake-like shifts!).
Spring tides were the order of the week and with nearly 4 kts across the course, mark rounding was a challenge, particularly if you found yourself in a bunch.
Klipbok left the field open-mouthed in Race 1 by crossing the fleet on port from the start line. A 4th place at the top mark didn't hold up until the finish and a lowly 34th ensued. The dreaded shifts caught us on the second last beat. Not deterred, we again crossed the fleet at the start of Race 2. By now, we'd made a name for ourselves and there were grumblings in the camp. It was nothing a few pints of the local Adnams ale couldn't sort out.
A couple of top third results and a couple of less than helpful shifts made for an odd scoresheet, with Klipbok ending up 31st overall.
It was generally agreed that this was the most competitive fleet assembled in years, with the normally all-conquering Hogans finishing in 3rd behind the Owen Delaney (Ireland's own!) and the winners Dave Best and Pete Richards. The Klipbok team doesn't need to work on speed, it's the big-fleet experience that was rusty. Roll on next year, when the Olympic venue in Weymouth hosts the event. It's about as exotic as it gets for the Squibbers!
On a lighter note, the RNSYC clubhouse has an old "Comments and Suggestions" book, in the foyer. A bit of inquisitive leafing found me on a page dated June 5th 1933. The handwritten entry, from a member who stayed overnight, read:
"I came down to breakfast this morning at 8.30am and there was no fire - The grate had not even been cleaned"
Another, dated August 1935, countersigned by 4 members read:
"That the secretary be instructed to see that the bread supplied is of the former quality. It is now very poor and under-baked."
It made the HYC website's messageboard look very uncouth!
Our accommodation was on the Norfolk Broads (Lowestoft is the Broads' exit to the sea) and we were water-taxied to one of the local competitor's houses for a night of fabulous hospitality. Another evening was spent watching powerboat racing on the Broads and, the following day, we took trip to nearby Southwold (www.southwold.info), home of Adnams brewery and play village to London's uber-rich. Beach huts in beautiful Southwold sell for over STG50k!
Never content with a trip going entirely to plan, the inevitable surprise came in the form of a kaput car which is now resting up in Lowestoft in the hope of a mystery part appearing, leaving the intrepid crew to fly home from Norwich.
Next on the calendar is Kinsale Regatta over the August Bank Holiday weekend, followed a week later by the Irish Championship at the same venue.