The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham on Crouch, once again played host to the 707 Eastern Area Championships. Five local boats and a visiting boat from Scarborough competed in eight races over two days of the bank holiday weekend.
Saturday saw challenging and blowy conditions with gusts of over 25 knots. The race officers set a good course despite the changing winds and followed a trapezoid format. The day was dominated by Paul Gray and his crew on Beaver Hunter who set the early pace selecting perfect routes to first mark, although in the first race they failed to find the correct way to the finishing line, Having been disoriented by a massive broach after the last mark, allowing Baby Beluga through. John Lewis and crew of Baby Beluga tried to match the pace of Beaver Hunter and challenged for the top spot in many of the following races.
The other four boats failed to match the speed of the front two on this occasion and battled it out for the remaining spots. The day finished with Beaver Hunter ahead securing an excellent three 1st places and a second.
Sunday brought very different conditions with a light to non existent south easterly breeze. The fleet drifted its way to the committee boat start line where fortunately more wind was found.
The first race of the day, Race Five, saw a change in fortune for the lighter crew of Richard Bavin and Racehorse. The light winds suited their style and they moved away into a substantial lead. Beaver Hunter and Andrew Prestwich and crew aboard Pocket Battleship set chase and were the only three boats to finish within the 15 minute time period; Baby Beluga missed out by only seconds!
In Race Six Baby Beluga took the initiative and set an early lead closely followed by the rest of the fleet. The race remained close throughout its duration right down to the final gate where Baby Beluga dropped the spinnaker and headed for the line. Racehorse managed to hold theirs to steal first place on the line. However, in their excitement at having won a close race and whilst celebrating, managed to hook themselves around the leeward mark of the squib fleet, much to the hilarity of the 707 fleet who witnessed the entire event...
The early pace of Racehorse meant that the overall scores were getting close between the top three boats. A third win of the day for Racehorse in Race Seven, closely followed by Baby Beluga and Pocket Battleship meant it went down to the wire.
A wind shift and falling tide meant a change of course for the final race back out in the main channel. The wind picked up and so did the fortune of all crews. Baby Beluga and Beaver Hunter bolted out of the blocks into an early lead with Racehorse and Pocket Battleship, Joe Blob and Black Sheep close behind. However, the remaining four boats could not match the pace of the front two. Baby Beluga made a final push to the line finishing first, ahead of Beaver Hunter and Pocket Battleship with Racehorse coming in a disappointing fourth.
Congratulations to Beaver Hunter for retaining the title of 707 Eastern Area Champion.
Our thanks must go to the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club for making all feel welcome and hosting the event, the race officers for their time and effort in preparing such close racing, the mark layers for their efficiency and help towing boats off big orange easy to see buoys. Thanks must also go to the crews that give up the time to make these events possible and a special mention to Tom Clark, Steve Parker and crew of Black Sheep for travelling all the way from Scarborough to take part.
Richard Bavin, Racehorse