North East Cruiser Racing Association (NECRA) members are getting set to take part in the Tees & Hartlepool Yacht Club Winter Series.
Starting in November and running through to the end of February 2024, the series follows on from NECRA’s summer events with participating yacht clubs along the coast between Scarborough and Blyth.
The inshore THYC Winter Series 2023/2024 is open to all yachts with the correct insurance and safety equipment and attracts a mixed fleet, split into two classes ranging from 22ft to 35ft, with in excess of 20 yachts expected to take part.
It comprises eight races starting on Sunday 12 November at 12:30 and continues every other week until Sunday 18 February, enabling yacht sailors to extend their season with a fortnightly race, each of which is followed by a mini prize giving at the club.
There is a £10 entry fee which is used in the provision of prizes after each race and with the possibility of lunch at the club house ensures a great social event after racing.
Hartlepool Marina is offering discounted winter berthing and wash off rates for those taking active part in the racing for the period from 1 November 2023 to 1 March 2024 with a little leeway either side for the weather. Contact Hartlepool Marina as soon as possible if you would like to take part in the series from the start and want a berth.
Steve Marsden, secretary for NECRA and a member of Tees & Hartlepool YC, said: “For the winter series we are promoting visiting boats with the support of the Marina, with discounts for mooring and washing off. We usually have about 20 boats out over winter and we’d love to welcome more. It’s a fantastic sight to see 20+ boats crammed into the lock before and after racing. It does make for a frantic start and finish line but it is great fun and in the past we’ve had surprisingly good weather.
“Sunderland, Whitby and Scarborough yachts join us and everybody who takes part really enjoys it. It’s once a fortnight, with the races timed to fit in with the tide and around 90 minutes long, so we’re back at the club in time for Sunday lunch. It’s a great way to keep sailing over winter.”
Entries so far include five Sigma 33s with more encouraged to enter for some close racing. Organisers hope the series will again attract a number of entries from clubs involved with NECRA, including Sunderland, Whitby, Scarborough, Coquet and Royal Northumberland. Anyone who would like to crew in the series should get in touch.
The summer season for NECRA included inshore racing, joining with the annual club regattas at Whitby, Hartlepool and Sunderland. A series of long distance offshore races along with a number of offshore races to and from clubs on the North East coast included feeder races to Hartlepool for the Tall Ships Race Event.
Steve said: “Our series of eight offshore events throughout the summer, many of which include evening socials, have been especially popular, particularly the Sunderland to Whitby Overnight which had 15 boats starting late Friday evening and sailing through the night to arrive at Whitby early Saturday morning with a rest in harbour, an evening social and a race back to Hartlepool on the Sunday.
“The Scarborough YC North Sea Race is also included in our calendar, with 25 entrants sailing Friday night for Ijmuiden in The Netherlands, taking approximately 30 hours and culminating in a super meal in Horne courtesy of Boyes Stores the sponsors.
“The Vernon Dawson Scarborough to Whitby Race had a perfect weekend of sailing, 28 boats and a great evening BBQ and presentation at Whitby YC to round it all off. We also had the Tall Ships Race at Hartlepool this year and ran feeder races to Hartlepool with Hartlepool Marina supporting us with discounted moorings. The final event was the race to Tyne from Hartlepool with 10 entrants, berthing and dining at Royal Quays on Saturday night.”
Steve is a member of crew on board the yacht Phoenix 2 which is a regular competitor in NECRA: “The perception is that you have to own a boat or be rich to take part in yacht racing but that’s not the case at all. I’m not rich and I don’t have a boat.
"I have crewed for over 30 years, I’m the boat measurer at Tees & Hartlepool Yacht Club, an ex. Rear Commodore at THYC and I sail with a guy who’s keen to do everything he can get enough crew for. So we go to every event. Sail boats will always need crew. Without me and many other crew most boats would be unable to go out.”
NECRA will hold its AGM, presentation and open meeting evening at Tees & Hartlepool YC on Thursday 19 October at 7pm. There is a free curry dinner and everyone is welcome to join the discussion about the future of NECRA.