No wind but the show goes on


You may know different, but I am always impressed by members of the sailing fraternity. They make the best of things, even when there isn’t much to make the best of and their spectators seem to go along with that.


Last weekend Horning Sailing Club held its annual Three Rivers Race. It’s quite a tough event as sailing races go because relying only on wind and coping with tides the competitors gave to travel along three rivers – the Bure, the Ant and the Thurne. Time allowed for this is 24 hours. I know we are in the middle of a summer heatwave!!! But it gets cold at night and even colder if one is doing the event in an open boat with no cabin to pop in to for a warm or a cuddle (depending on who or what your friends are). But the crews are always optimistic and cheerful.


Quite a number of crews here – so many faces look familiar

Last weekend there was virtually no wind. Despite this the organisers went ahead on time and competitors floated rather than sailed away. Just occasionally there would be the odd gust of wind, but as the day wore on the gusts became fewer and fewer,








the rain came down, gentle in some places, but not at Ludham Bridge where Jan Dingle was trying to paint a picture.

Nevertheless most crews ploughed on at a gentle pace although some were defeated by tides.

This brings me to my second interesting observation. Those who know these waters well will have heard about Potter Heigham bridge. Potter Heigham bridge is low – very low. Many of the hire cruisers can’t get through it. Even smaller craft often engage the services of the local pilot who will help them navigate this obstacle. The sailing boats in the Three Rivers Race all have to lower their masts and sails in order to negotiate the bridge. This spectacle is keenly watched by locals, supporters and other interested parties. If you think these spectators go there in order to watch boats biffing in to the bridge or getting tangled up with craft going in the opposite direction, you would be mistaken.


. The crowd who gather on and around the bridge really appreciate a good display of shooting the bridge and will readily applaud crews who achieve this difficult manoeuvre with skill. They shout encouragement, warn the unwary if another competitor is coming in the opposite direction and will shout helpful advice to those who look to be in danger of getting it wrong. It is all terribly supportive and encouraging.


I feel many sports have lost their way – they have progressed from being a sport to being part of big business. I sometimes feel that those who go along as spectators do so merely to carp and criticise. They of course know better than the participant – or at least that is what they think.


Sailing somehow manages to avoid both of those pitfalls, which is why for me the whole experience can be quite delightful.