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Yeoman Class 50th Anniversary National Championship at Norfolk Broads Yacht Club

by Bill & Diana Webber 2 Jul 2019 09:33 PDT 29-30 June 2019
Yeoman Class 50th Anniversary Nationals on the Norfolk Broads © Steve Haines

The Yeoman, a 20 foot long GRP keelboat was designed 50 years ago to be a modern boat with Bermudan rig to be sailed on inland waterways such as the rivers and Broads of Norfolk. Typically for boats designed to be sailed on the Norfolk Broads, it has a relatively flat bottomed hull and not too much draught.

Since its launch in 1969, about 200 boats have been built. Racing fleets developed in Scotland, Ireland, Queen Mary S. C. and Rutland. The class is now mainly raced in the Norfolk Broads area with a strong fleet at Loch Erne in Ireland. Many boats are cruised all around the country on rivers, lakes and estuaries. A testament to the quality of the boat is that Yeoman number 2 was racing this weekend, number 1 being the original boat built in wood.

A strong entry of 22 boats came to the start line for the first race of the National Championships held on the Yeoman 50th Anniversary at Norfolk Broads Yacht Club over the weekend of 29th and 30th June. In a tricky easterly breeze four of the favourites to win the event arrived at the first mark together. Chris Bunn and Martin Thompson in Crystal then led away down the Broad with Bill and Diana Webber in Nimrod in close pursuit. Nimrod took the lead towards the end of the first lap which she held to the finish.

The second race on Saturday looked at first to be a re-run race one as Crystal and Nimrod battled for the lead on the long reach down the broad. It was Roger Hannant and Chris Tuckett in Firefly who took advantage of the battling boats to sailed past both of them for a deserved win.

Race three on Sunday started with a strong westerly breeze. Cousins, James Richie Dugdale sailing Lavinia made the best start, sailing up the middle of the Broad to have a comfortable lead at the first mark followed by Crystal and Paul and Janet barker in Brandy Bottle, these positions being held to the finish.

In race four, Lavinia again got the best start with Crystal limping to the shore under jib only to retire. Brandy Bottle chased Lavinia throughout the race with Mark and Ellie Ringwood in Gremlin 3 finding their form to finish third.

Coming into the final race, counting just six points each, the eventual winner would be between Lavinia and Crystal. It was again Lavinia who made the most of the first leg to lead Brandy Bottle and Crystal. Although Crystal soon passed Brandy Bottle, she was unable to make a dent in Lavinia's lead so it was James Dugdale and Richie Dugdale who were crowned champions.

The championship included the inaugural Past Yeoman Sailors and Friends of the Fleet invitation race. This race was won by Chris Tuckett crewed by Roger Hannant in Firefly. The Jeckells/Landamore trophy for this race was presented by Pat Landamore, the wife of Leslie Landamore who designed the boat for Earnest Yeoman back in 1969.

With grateful thanks to our six race sponsors who kindly provided prizes for the draw for which each boat was entered. The sponsors were: McNamara Sails, Belaugh Boatyard, Hannant Motors, The Phoenix Fleet, Norfolk Marine and Jeckells Sails.

Overall Results: (top six)

PosSail NoYacht nameHelmCrewPts
132LaviniaJames DugdaleRichie Dugdale7
2115CrystalChris BunnMartin Thompson8
391Brandy BottlePaul BarkerJanet Barker11
493FireflyRoger HannantChris Tuckett14
5302Gremlin 3Mark RingwoodEllie Ringwood19
648Snow GooseMartin JonesChris Dunster21

First non-spinnaker boat; Lara, John and Kay Rawlinson
Invitation race winner; Firefly, Chris Tuckett and Roger Hannant

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