Would the wind abate enough during the day to allow racing on Wednesday was the big question. The answer was “yes” as the intrepid seven ventured forth to do battle with each other and the 18 to 20 knot Westerly. The course set was a series of classic windward/leeward legs between Park and Itchenor buoys with a final dash for the Club line. Six of the seven boats hit the perfectly set start line together with Damian’s Wenda just a millimetre shy of OCS. The fleet dived for the South shore to negate the last of the flood tide. Had they all read Roger’s lockdown treatise? At Park there was very little to choose between the six boats as spinnakers were launched. Six! Where was the seventh? Oh dear, high and almost very dry was Quixotic. So Dolphin’s Dynamic Duo danced across the waves to the rescue to find David Brittain up to his knees (yes, she was that well on) in water and mud and the newly-weds aboard trying to heel her over – or were they just having a post-nuptial cuddle? The full force of Dolphin’s new bright shiny red diesel engine eventually did the trick and they were off back to the Club.
As Agatha Christie would say – and then there were six. No hang on; here’s another mud lark. Merlin was aground as Felicity’s final fling was a further furrow in the farmer’s field ready for Autumn planting. Dolphin to the rescue again. Judging by Susie’s instructions to the Dolphin crew, she has done this before. They too were soon off and it was left to the Famous Five to battle it out.
It was close at the start and after two laps there was still nothing to separate them. At the third rounding of Park the spinnakers all appeared within seconds of each other as all but one chose to run over the ebb to the finish. The exception was Phoenix who dived for the North shore. Was it the lure of Susanna Shaw’s shore-side silver salver full of tea and toasted muffins that attracted them? Or was the wily old fox bringing his decades of Harbour experience to bear on the proceedings?
The race team positioned themselves to judge the finish. It was going to be close! The fleet approached socially distanced across the reach. The victors were on the North shore. Well done Alastair, bruised bonced Beverley and Jonathan. Coming up the centre and close behind was the aptly named Lizz Whizz showing a MacLean pair of heels to Thora helmed by Ted, ears ringing from the constant Tremlett tutelage. A podium for X101 – break out the bubbly Mrs Barnes! And so for the final places and nothing to separate Wenda and Xcitation. A dead heat. If only Roger and Andy Fitz had stayed a float throughout the race. Too much gold braid I guess.
(Final note from your correspondent to himself – How can I weave a reference to Phoenix and Ash into a smart quip?)
by David Priscott