NRV Dragons challenge RCYC 15 May 2007
Arriving on Friday, the visiting teams sought inspiration from the historic Colleges of Cambridge and enjoyed a punt along the River Cam before they met with the host teams at an evening cocktail party kindly organised and hosted by Petticrows. We were treated to a tour of the factory with a live demonstration of the latest boatbuilding techniques whilst enjoying a drink, a nibble and a natter before stopping off at the Clubhouse for dinner.
Saturday morning began with a stiff breeze that was sure to test both teams if it was deemed safe to race. With the Alster Piraten being looked after by the Otters, the Dragon team from NRV were introduced to their borrowed boats and owners’ representatives for the weekend. Whilst waiting to see what trend the wind should have, Petticrows launched a brand new Dragon loaned for the weekend to Poul Richard Hoj Jensen by the new owners. A quick upwind and downwind in front of the club to check the rig and sail settings, mark the sheets and the boat is ready to race.
The NRV Team was bolstered by our own Martyn Fogg and Nigel Cole as helms. Regular race winners Rob Campbell and Mike Holmes had loaned their boats and joined some of our local hot crew as owners’ reps. Along with the NRV’s own stars the visiting team was looking promising. The RCYC team, victorious last year in Hamburg, could expect a contest. As ever Edwin Buckley and his team were providing the race management from Phoebe.
A windward leeward course was laid with a start line near the Cliff buoy and a windward mark toward Canewdon. The race was underway at the first attempt and despite both finding the same section of soft Bridgemarsh mud it was Hoj Jensen that finished first followed by Tavinor (sharing the helm of Water Rat with Ian Ratnage). Third was Alster Lake Supremo, Hans Werner Zachariassan for NRV. A few torn sails and some caution within the fleet was enough to encourage Edwin and his team to send the fleet home for the day. The visiting Dragon team attended the successful RCYC Gourmet Evening after an unscheduled free afternoon.
A more appealing breeze on Sunday allowed a start line to be laid at Coleward on the north shore with a windward buoy before Branklet on the south shore. The ebb tide contributed to a general recall in the first start forcing Edwin to opt for the Black flag to impose some discipline within the fleet. Two visitors were caught “too early” in the subsequent race that saw Hoj Jensen finish first ahead of Wade (Mark), Ratnage then Hall for the RCYC, in a race that was lead initially by NRV’s Star Class Helmsman, Michael Koch, in Amok. Race three saw a last minute tussle between the win-hungry RCYC boats with Hoj Jensen completing a hat trick of wins, Ratnage in second ahead of Hall and Harrison.
With three races completed in total boats were returned to moorings and the teams stepped ashore to have a drink and await a Traditional Roast Beef lunch before the prize giving where the adult and youth teams were reunited. After hearing the exploits of the Otters and Piraten team racing we were reminded of the visit by Tiny Mitchell to NRV in Hamburg where the Alster Piraten were the inspiration for our own Otters and the relationship between the NRV and RCYC began.
The RCYC Dragon team had made the most of the home advantage and won overall with Hoj Jensen the star of the RCYC team and Hans Werner Zachariassan leading the way for the NRV team. Thanks were said to sponsors, the RCYC staff, race management and lenders of boats. Trophies were awarded, souvenirs swapped and photographs taken to mark the event before Commodore Martin Makey, on behalf of the RCYC, bestowed visiting rights for NRV members, a gesture that was reciprocated by NRV to build the relationship between the two clubs.
The RCYC and Corinthian Otter teams are invited to Hamburg next year as defending teams where the welcome is always warm and the racing a challenge. Whilst there might not be tidal considerations on Lake Alster there are some unfamiliar rights of way for pleasure craft that could easily catch out a River Crouch regular!