Yachts and Cruiser Racing

What’s on in 2017?

There’s always lots going on up and down the Orwell and the club is involved in the organization of the two main racing series on the river - the Combined Clubs Series and the Haven Series. 

Combined Clubs racing is free to enter and done using RYA national handicaps, so all you need to do to enter is tell us and then turn up – no measuring of sails or handicap data needed. There are five Saturday races (one per month in May to September) and the race area is mostly within the rivers Orwell and Stour. 

Haven Series racing is primarily under the IRC rating rule, so you will need an IRC certificate for your boat. There are 10 races over five weekends between May and September, and also a separate mini-series of three offshore/coastal races. “Round the cans” racing takes place in Dovercourt bay, with the coastal series visiting Oostende, Burnham and Lowestoft. 

Club Events include yacht racing as part of the club regatta in the summer, the North Sea Race (in conjunction with RORC) and the Sunk Trophy – the final race of the season, held at the end of September. 

In the last couple of years, members from the club have also participated in some of the following:

• Felixstowe Regatta – the river’s main racing regatta, with five races over two days for IRC rated boats, or three for boats on Local Handicap.
• EAORA – a series of offshore races around the east coast for the more intrepid racing crews.
• The Fox’s Two Rivers Race – an informal race between the pubs and clubs on the rivers Stour and Orwell (including a mandatory row ashore for a drink at each).

If you would like to get involved please email Ed Harrison ( for more details. It would be fantastic to see as many boats as possible out in 2017 and you definitely don’t need one to get involved – there are always people needing crew for these events!

2016 Roundup

More than 20 boats have competed under the RHYC burgee in 2016, with the highlight being 15 on the start line of the Sunk and Bell race. It’s fantastic that there has definitely been a resurgence of interest in racing at the club, bucking what seems to be a downward trend elsewhere. 

In the local series, Ed Harrison’s “Alchemy” sailed in the Haven and finished 5th in class II and also finished 4th in class II at Felixstowe Regatta. Six boats raced in the Combined Clubs Series, with David Neville’s “Sea Shanty” finishing 5th, Simon Ruffles’ “Jameera” in 9th and Will Finch on “Time Off II” taking 10th. Overall, RHYC was 3rd in the club trophy, just four points behind Stour Sailing Club. Hopefully we can bring the trophy back to RHYC in 2017!

Two RHYC boats competed in the Britannia race, which turned into a 40 mile downwind blast to Lowestoft, with gusts in excess of 40kts. Alchemy won the IRC fleet by virtue of being the only boat to use their spinnaker (a fetching Orange and Yellow “storm” kite), while Mike Graham made it a clean sweep for RHYC with a win of the Local Handicap fleet on “Morning Star”. 

Perhaps a greater test of boating skill is the Two Rivers Race, which sees competitors not only racing under sail, but launching their dinghies and rowing into the clubs and pubs for a drink en route. Three RHYC boats went out for this with the top performer Will Finch’s Time Off II.

The season ended on a high with 15 club boats contesting the Sunk and Bell Trophies. The white sails fleet raced to the Outer Ridge buoy, marking the edge of the dredged shipping channel out of Harwich. Most of the fleet made it round, but the dying breeze left a number of the smaller boats struggling to make progress the tide. Time Off II took line honours, but John Brooke’s Beneteau 21 “Fin” won on handicap, beating “Kate of Pin Mill” by just 4 seconds. The spinnaker fleet also raced to Outer Ridge, but via Stone Banks, meaning they arrived in the lightest winds. The first two boats (Alchemy and Jameerah) crept round the buoy and were taken up the river on the last of the breeze, finishing first and second respectively on handicap, but unfortunately leaving the remainder of the fleet unable to reach the finish within the time limit. 

Winners and prizes:

  • Sidgewick Cup – Best RHYC Boat in Haven Series – “Alchemy” – Ed Harrison
  • Daring Cup – Best RHYC Boat in Combined Clubs Series – “Sea Shanty” – David Neville
  • Britannia Trophy (IRC) – “Alchemy” – Ed Harrison
  • Britannia Trophy (Local Handicap) – “Morning Star” – Mike Graham
  • Sunk Trophy – “Alchemy” – Ed Harrison
  • Bell Trophy – “Fin” – John Brooke
  • Best RHYC in Two Rivers Race – “Time Off II” – Will Finch