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Dugdale digs deep for victory

PUBLISHED: 13:20 05 June 2008 | UPDATED: 12:44 20 May 2010

Sally Dugdale won the 48th Horning Sailing Club Navigators and General Insurance Three Rivers Race with a winning time of slightly over 10 hours 17 minutes - sailing her Reedling Onyx in a masterly performance from start to finish.

Sally Dugdale won the 48th Horning Sailing Club Navigators and General Insurance Three Rivers Race with a winning time of slightly over 10 hours 17 minutes - sailing her Reedling Onyx in a masterly performance from start to finish.

She started at 11.10 and coped with the dead patches through Horning village to emerge first at Ant Mouth some 90 minutes later, dealing with the two dog-legs of Ludham Bridge and South Walsham before proceeding downstream to Six Mile House and then back up to Hickling and her return.

Her crew, Joe Wellard, was recruited only on Thursday, and it was his first ever Three Rivers Race.

Runners-up were the Matt Ellis team, sailing the River Cruiser Zephyr, comprising Matt, Richard Whitefoot, and two more Three Rivers first timers Sarah Dugdale and Ed Gibson, whose corrected time was six minutes longer.

Jane Pye and Ian Bray, experienced campaigners, were third, three minutes on, and all three followed the same course.

The event was a triumph for organiser Colin Facey, whose decision to advance the starting time to 11am had met with some criticism.

A further plus point was the entry of 128, close to a record, of whom 121 started and 100 finished the race.

He added for good measure that the early start enabled virtually the entire entry to negotiate the turn at Ludham without having the outgoing stream of hireboats from upstream complicating the issue, which was probably just as well as the area was distinctly crowded in the early stages with one or two boats forced into the bank while negotiating the tight turn at the bridge.

Generally there were few problems, but those that arose provided interest for the crowds at Acle Bridge.

Two crew members from different boats enlivened matters by falling overboard, and the brand new cruiser Butterbump, scarcely out of her nappies, caused consternation when, rounding up into the wind to drop her mast ten or so yards upstream, found it snagged and drifted broadside against the bridge, her new varnish being rapidly scored against the parapet.

Happily, despite her stern swinging round as her mast looked in imminent danger of being lowered over her bowsprit, she was able to extricate herself and went on to finish a creditable 76th.

Potter Bridge, for once, was almost wholly free of incident. The 2002 winner Peter Bainbridge, with his crews David Adler and Ted Walker, aggregated over 200 years, but their hopes of winning the Hickling Trophy for the first boat with crews averaging 55 years were foiled by fourth-place Bob Hancock and Gary Currier in their Reedling.

Martin Hunter made the fastest passage, finishing at 8.30pm, 45 minutes ahead of fellow Rater helm Paul Browning.

The race included 25 first-timers, and their trophy went to Peter Goshawk, while Geoff Tibbenham won the award for the first helm aged under 25.


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