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17th annual East Coast Beneteau Owners Weekend

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BENETEAU OWNERS WEEKEND 2016

Having thought that summer would never arrive, it finally did in time
for the 
17th annual East Coast Beneteau Owners Weekend, organized by FOX'S YACHT SALES
in aid of the RNLI. Warm sunshine
and a good sailing breeze made for a great days sailing
on 16th July with entries
from Kent, Essex and Suffolk.

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The program for the day involved two light hearted races, starting from Harwich, the first out to sea, the second in the rivers, Orwell and Stour followed by a prize-givingand BBQ at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club. The boats were split in to 3 Classes –
OCEANIS, FIRST (up to 30ft) and FIRST (over 30ft).

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The first race saw the 14 boats head out into Dovercourt Bay.
With the fleet ranging in size from 21ft to 42ft they soon spread out with the stunning looking FIRST 40 “40 Love”, chartered from East Anglian Sea School for the event leading the way overall and in the FIRST (over 30ft) class. The FIRST (under 30ft)
class was led home by fifth time owner John Notley in “Gemini” the Beneteau FIRST 25s. The first OCEANIS to finish was Graham Pearce’s well sailed OCEANIS 42CC, “Escapade”.

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For the second race, after a fairly “exciting” first mark rounding at last years event, it was decided to start the fleet heading out to Pye End buoy (to get some separation) before re-entering Harwich and sailing up the Stour and Orwell Rivers.

This year’s excitement at the second start involved a Thames Barge (racing in the annual Barge match) and a First 211 (either using last years start instructions or with the chart upside down) sailing through the start line in the opposite direction to the
fleet. Thankfully all was well. On entering the River Stour, a foul tide beat made the crews work hard, Clive North in his new OCEANIS 35, “Lazy Days II” gained manyplaces as he marched up the shore out of the tide.

The same boats finished first in each class, although “Gemini” was first to actually finish on a shortened course half way up the River Orwell.

OFFICIAL RANKINGS

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The Beneteau Owners Weekend is a fun event with the main aim of raising funds for the RNLI, whose valuable work saves lives at sea. The event raised over £1000 for this good cause from the Beneteau Owners.