WALTON and Frinton Yacht Club were well-represented in the opening races of this year's Haven Series.
Four yachts crewed by club members competed in the main IRC class, with three in the less competitive Haven Handicap division.
Two of these were crewed entirely by cadets from the Rebel Trust.
The Walton boats set off from the Walton backwaters to the start line in the mouth of Harwich harbour.
In class two, John Hales and Ricky Farrance were back racing after a year off, in their SJ32 Rainbow.
Zero Gravitas, an SJ320 owned by the Brooke and Landamore syndicate, was hoping to build on her solid year last year.
In class one, Blue Beeste, an X332 owned by Martin Jenkins and Charles Penfold, was hoping to retain the title she won last year.
However, her crew were aware of the threat posed by Crikey VI, a sister ship X332 owned by the Parker syndicate.
In the Haven Handicap division, First Light of Clyde, a First 42 owned by Martin Coomber, Dabtoe, a Sunfast 3200, and Leopoldo Muller, a Westerly Oceanquest, both owned by the Rebel Trust, were looking to gain experience in the less-competitive handicap fleet.
First away in race one were the slower boats of IRC class two.
Fifteen minutes later the class one boats set off in hot pursuit.
Blue Beeste chose to sail low on the rhumb line to the mark.
Having decided to set her asymmetric spinnaker out of the start, she did very well to lead her faster classmates round the mark.
As the race progressed, it was clear Blue Beeste was again showing excellent speed and caught the majority of the slower boats before crossing the finish line. This meant that on handicap it was a convincing win of some seven minutes.
Rainbow was fourth.
The Haven Handicap fleet followed on from the IRC racers and the Walton boats were led home by the cadets on Leopoldo Muller who managed third, just ahead of Dabtoe and First Light of Clyde.
Just the IRC yachts race on the Sunday.
Class two got away on a broad reach out to sea.
Again, Rainbow was the best-placed of the Walton boats in the slower class.
Class one started 15 minutes later and this time Blue Beeste had a perfect start and led the faster boats in pursuit of class two, despite rating as the slowest boat in her class.
The conditions suited the X332s very well and Blue Beeste was able to repeat her race one achievements in winning by seven minutes on corrected time.
Rainbow was very unlucky to be caught 50 yards short of the line by a complete lull in the wind and finished third.
The X332 of Geoff Parker and his syndicate showed good bursts of speed and will clearly be among the leaders one they get more familiar with the boat.