Photo: Sue Hines
You could almost think everything was back to normal on 11th October. No storms, no gales, intermittent showers, more than a little chilly, a selection of yots and a sailing wind. The only giveaway was the somewhat un-EACC, unsociable way of conducting proceedings while socially distanced. Arguably a small price to pay after a season all but bereft of racing!
Starting from the Club site, the 12-18MPH NNW gave the race team a choice between a running start (bit risky when everybody was a tad rusty!) or a beat upriver. No contest, and the windward mark was set between Womack and Repps bungalows, to make sure the respective starts didn’t tangle on the line! Following the RYA ‘be conservative’ policy, the 11-strong fleet was divided into 4 starts. That would make it safe, right? WRONG! A few minutes after the first start, we received a message that Sabrina 2 and Alice Rose had a ‘coming together’ and both had retired.
Everybody else somehow managed not to bang into each other, but it became clear the slower starts were struggling against the foul tide. Just as well the leeward mark was above the black mill! The race team de-camped to St Benet’s to set up the finish line, in plenty of time to greet Wandering Rose as first to finish, revelling in the conditions, followed by Catspaw and Tinkerbell. The rest of the boats gradually made their way up-wind and -tide, but it was clear Lorna was not enjoying the falling wind, eventually retiring just downstream of St Benet’s reach. Heartbreaking after all that sailing, but a great achievement in difficult conditions, and they got to try out their oilies, right?
The real eye- catcher at the finish was Pickle, who was carving upwind like a good’un. Couldn’t see much of the boat, though. It was obscured by Phil’s grin. And that was before he knew he’d won, Pippinjack was 2nd and Wandering Rose 3rd
Following a socially-distanced lunch break, they were all set off again down-stream, -tide and -wind. This time the leeward mark was left out, so they all turned left at Thurne Mouth, towards Repps and back to finish at the club site.
Wandering Rose was again first home, going ballistic in a gust as she crossed the line, followed again by Catspaw and Tinkerbell . This time, Lorna put on the cabaret at the finish line, absolutely rocketing over the line in a gust, to a great cheer from all present! Bill Grist then announced it was the first time they’d finished a race! Now THAT was the way to do it in style! Pickle again took the honours, with May 2nd and Catspaw 3rd. Rumour has it May’s crew were revolting , and the skipper had to put his foot down with a firm hand to provide motivation. Bet he was glad he did!
Under any other circumstances, having to do a load of beating against the foulest of tides, in very cold conditions, while being rained on heavily every 10-15 minutes would be unlikely to produce much joy. However, the whole day seemed to be one of great humour and big grins (with one notable exception, poor Sabrina 2). The competition for the largest was fierce. The Lincolns came close, exercising their new rig, as did Bill Grist in Lorna, but the clear winner was Phil Montague on Pickle, it is rumoured he had to go to A&E to have it removed.
What a refreshing experience to see that, despite all the gloom and worry, the world keeps revolving and yots keep yotting. A truly cleansing experience and a reminder of what we can do when circumstances permit. Which they will again.
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