Conditions were perfect for the race up to Wivenhoe Regatta on Saturday 16th July. Although four boats went up to Wivenhoe in fact only 3 of them truly raced. Off the line Phil Rust’s Dulcet, Mark White’s White Spirit and Bob Richardson helming Ruff took full advantage of the decent breeze to chase round the course which took them back and forth between Alresford Creek and No 8 before finally heading for the finish at Wivenhoe.
Whilst those three were showing us how it should be done, Storm Petrel was trying and failing to make the start with a series of mini disasters, ranging from a misled twin pole system to the mainsail being put on back to front. Thinking they had until 12.30 to make the start when it was in fact 12.15 didn’t help either. When they finally got afloat and headed down the creek it was to see the other three streaming away from the start.
But whether you can race it or not, any sail up to Wivenhoe in your BOD is a wonderful experience so Storm Petrel cruised up and down off the Pyefleet and waited for the fleet to come past so that they could join in the fun.
And what a cracking sail it was. Phil, crewed by Piers Lambert & Tim Hearn got an early jump on the fleet with Mark White, Matt Wilby and Dick Stephens in second and Bob Richardson and Jim Bray chasing hard. Whilst the three racing boats gave it their all Alan Hicks, Jayne Bond and Fi Brown enjoyed a cruise in company alongside them, cracking open the Prosecco and enjoying the spectacle. As usual, the final approach to Wivenhoe brought tricky light and very shifty conditions to the fleet compressed making for a close finish.
As always the welcome at Wivenhoe was a warm one and the free burgers and beer went down very well. Team Readings had very kindly accompanied the fleet up river and did race officer duty for the downriver start. Phil had handed Dulcet’s helm to Piers who was a bit over eager at the start, which allowed Mark White and Ruff to streak away as Dulcet battled back up tide. Alan and the girls in Storm Petrel where meanwhile dealing with another minor bit of gear failure so were late for their second start of the day and had to chase the fleet all the way home. Dulcet did a great job of making up time and as they turned into the creek was right on White Spirit’s tail. Mark and the boys had misunderstood the finish location and thought they had finished at Bateman’s Tower, only to realise as they watched Dulcet’s kite go up that the race was very much still on. A quick gear change back into racing mode and the two boats roared up the creek with White Spirit just pipping Dulcet on the line. Storm Petrel made it into third, closely followed by Ruff.
Our thanks to our wonderful hosts at Wivenhoe and to Nick and his family for looking after us. The prize giving for the downriver race will take place at the BOD Summer Garden Party at Sue and Adrian’s House following Rowhedge Regatta in two weeks time.