Three boats came to the line for the first of the Cormorant Cup races on Sunday 25 May. After some confusion over the start time Adrian and Judith Gibbons and Tom Quilligan aboard Blue Peter led off the line closely followed by Egret, crewed by Danny Fox, Tim Hearn and Bob Hedger. Mark White, sailing with Dick Stephens and Jemima Olly in White Spirit, were caught out by the start signal confusion and found themselves having to play catch up.
In a stiff 17-22 knot southerly the boats headed out of the creek on a scalding two sail reach before hardening up for No 8. Egret went left, Blue Peter went right and White Spirit went straight down the middle into the building and favourable ebb tide. It was a winning move and at No 8 the three boats rounded within a boat length of each other with Egret leading from Blue Peter and White Spirit third.
On the run down to Point Clear the boats had to contend with big swells and made the most of it surfing down the waves and pushing for positions. At the mark they held their order and set off back up to No 9.
White Spirit took the right side of the beat and about three quarters of the way up the leg they passed a capsized catamaran with a frantic helm, Maddie Anderson, aboard who was clearly in need of assistance. Further investigation revealed that her crew had become separated from the boat and was being swept out to sea. White Spirit followed the helm’s directions and after about five minutes sailing they were able to find him. A bit of very nice seamanship saw them retrieve the extremely grateful crew, who was still clutching the cat’s broken tiller in his hand. Having hauled him on board and checked he was OK the White Spirit boys quickly established that their new crew mate was none other than Finn Anderson who will shortly be one of the regular crew in BOD C55, currently under construction for Finn and Maddie’s father James. Clearly Finn was taking desperate measures to get a closer look at the opposition’s deck layout!
While White Spirit was in international rescue mode the other BODs were enjoying what could best be described as a lively race! From the deck of Blue Peter we are reliably informed by Tom that Danny revealed his thankfully clean bottom to the fleet. The incident occurred on the Gybe at Mersea Wreck when things didn’t go entirely to plan aboard Egret and Tim found himself having to throw a leg over the upper gunwhale to bring the boat back onto an even keel! No one was more surprised than Danny that boat actually came back upright!
Despite the near swim Egret managed to stay ahead of Blue Peter and crossed the line just a few seconds ahead. White Spirit meanwhile had put Finn back aboard his cat but was so far behind that they retired to put in a claim for redress.