Sailing into summer

North West Norfolk Sailing Week

North West Norfolk Sailing Week - Credit: Archant

Dozens of sailors will descend on our coastline this month for one of the country’s oldest regattas, and it promises to be a week of great competition and camaraderie.

North West Norfolk Sailing Week began in 1949 with the aim of getting coastal sailing clubs to come together and share resources. It was thought the week-long event might also help attract visitors to the county, who might be persuaded to attend the event and use it as a family holiday in a time of post-war austerity. That original idea of appealing to the tourism market and boosting the local economy is still very much part of the event’s ethos today.

“It is the longest running continual regatta in the country and the atmosphere is fantastic,” says David Baddeley, commodore of the North West Norfolk Sailing Association, which runs the event. “It is competitive but it is also very friendly and people get to know each other because they meet every year. It is like a big reunion.”

Around 40 boats come from all over the country to take part in the races and to soak up the atmosphere both on and off the water.

“A lot of people combine the regatta with a week’s holiday, they book a cottage for the week or they camp locally, which is fantastic. We have set race times each day as we are limited by the tide, so competitors know when they are sailing and they have plenty of time to explore and do things with their family as well. We also get a lot of spectators coming along to see what we do and to watch the sailing.”

The association bring together sailing clubs at Hunstanton, Snettisham, King’s Lynn, Brancaster, Blakeney and Wells.

“We start in Hunstanton on July 26 with a big barbecue in the evening, and move around the coast with a series of races and social events at all the clubs,” says David.

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By bringing together the different locations, it offers competitors the chance to test themselves in different conditions. Hunstanton and Snettisham Beach Sailing Clubs are situated in The Wash, offering large open sea courses; the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club in King’s Lynn offers tidal river racing with smaller waves and big tides, and the enormous expanses of coastal salt marshes between Brancaster Staithe and Blakeney, with various natural harbours and creeks provide another challenge.

There is the chance to win daily and weekly trophies in a huge range of categories and throughout the week their are family activities organises and evening events.

North West Norfolk Week 2014, July 26 to August 2.

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