707 Eastern Area Championships 2005 1 May 2005
The visitors arrived on Friday (just) in time to launch boats from the Royal Corinthian crane, a great service that even saw the boats brought into the pontoon from the moorings the following morning ready for crew to put up the masts. Much appreciated by those who had enjoyed the obligatory curry and copious beers the previous evening.
Out on the water Pocket Battleship set the tone by leading from the front in the first race whilst most of the fleet piled up at (and on) the committee boat. But this is Burnham and coming off the line last is no reason to think you can?t get to the front after a couple of legs. This was the case for Emu, who having extricated themselves from the mellee and an anchor chain, went round the windward mark last, gybed in breeze to cross the tide, cross back and stay out of trouble while second to last places ran down against the shore with everything up for grabs.
Round the corner into the Crouch the leaders went low and the rest of the fleet spread out. Those to windward, on the south shore were looking good in more breeze as the others looked to be struggling to stem the tide in the middle. PB however maintained their lead at the mark and with the tide under them rushed off on a tight reach back up the river. With the wind dropping the tail enders struggled to make the mark and resorted to getting the anchors over. PB still infront had a brief moment of concern as fleet climbed high to make the most of the tide and find wind whilst they were becalmed. On the way back against the tide in slightly more breeze the committee boat sat tantalisingly close to the next mark, but as the wind increased they moved off and it was a beat and run to finish. PB took line honours, infront of local boats Emu Excursions and Baby Beluga, then Beaver Hunter and Doh!
The wind then died completely and the fleet milled around until a light sea breeze filled in. An overexcited fleet pushed their luck and were recalled only to get away cleanly second time around. Short tacking up the shore and running with the tide was the order of the day on numerous laps of a windward leeward course. PB again showed the fleet a clean pair of heels and were never touched. Trojan managed to get past Baby Beluga to take second, with Emu in fourth. It was a close fought battle behind with Racehorse, Doh! and Cacciatore coming into the leeward gate together. Racehorse got it right on the short beat to the finish to take fifth. Riotous got their best result of the weekend but it wasn’t so good for Beaver Hunter who took two (or was it three?) attempts to gybe round and find a spot to start round the committee boat and Double Trouble who forgot the upwind gate until they came ashore.
After an evening of steak, claret, dancing and maybe a few other drinks Sunday dawned sunny and still and the fleet were able to relax ashore until the conditions improved. After a short delay race three was underway with an extended windward leeward style course around the cans.
Half way through Swordfish, Doh and Trojan went looking for a get out of jail card by skimming the mud on the south bank, as the rest, led by PB went along the north side. These three looked good at times until a 30 degree windshift… and the fleet came together in a pretty similar order to when they left the mark. PB took line honours from Cacciatore, Emu, Marlin and Baby Beluga
After lunch ashore and a further wait for the wind to come from one direction (and the Swordfish crew to enjoy a swim), race four was held on a windward leeward course. There were two boats over at the start with an around the ends rule. Double Trouble made it back, but Doh! in the middle were oblivious and sailed on. Potential for big gains and losses kept everyone on their toes as they tried to avoid getting sailed out of the line of breeze on the run. Oh yes, and PB won having led all the way round. Trojan finished second from Racehorse, Marlin and Baby Beluga.
After more Royal Corinthian hospitality the final day of racing heralded more sun, light winds, and new faces on the podium. Windward lewards again in the river Roach with an outgoing tide. Off the start Emu and Beaver Hunter led the fleet from start to finish with Trojan working their way through to finish third infront of Marlin and Doh! who had recovered after hitting the mud hard after the start, although not as hard as Riotous and Swordfish.
Aquaholic led Trojan and PB up the east bank of the Roach for the last race. But the lack of wind at the mark saw the race abandoned and a wait for the sea breeze to fill in, which it did. A shift right after the start favoured the boats going left and Emu led from Pocket Battleship at the windward mark. They stayed ahead to finish in that order followed by Trojan, Doh! and Double Trouble.
Overall, Pocket Battleship took the East Coast Championships from Emu Excursion in second. Third were Trojan, one point ahead of Baby Beluga, and Cacciatore finished fifth on equal points with Doh! but winning on discards.