VE Day Pursuit Race 8 May 2015
A packed briefing in the Club of both Otters and Members at 09:30, all eager to go. Edwin ran through the plan which was to start the slowest first, so there were over fourteen different starts from Scows to Dragons although, sadly, no cruisers this time.
As Sue Law and her grandson Freddie were about to start, they managed to capsize their scow just as they approached the line. As any scow sailor would know, to capsize a scow is no mean feat but the good news was the Freddie and Sue were smiling and the boat floated too – hats off to Freddie as this year is his first year on the river!
All made it to Jubilee and then Holliwell. At this point it was wind against tide, and as usual the Crouch/Roach had thrown up its customary steep, short chop, and a few peeled off at this stage, the thought of another dead downwind leg was probably in the back of a their minds. Paul Ho-Jensen with Noddy and René in their Dragon had a near Chinese gybe on the north shore; the closeness of the flying fifteen meant it was great viewing, although maybe not for the ff.
The Cadets at this stage had passed everything and were leading comfortably, they thought. Little did they know that they were being hunted down by last year's winner, Robert in his Squib, with Ant in his Laser and the ff chasing hard. Hats off to Ant, those downwind legs in Lasers are a real art, just ask Ollie Moon in the Phantom what can go wrong…
As Phil Aspinall pointed out at the prize giving, last year a Commodore won it, and this year it was just the same, except it was the Otter Commodore, Scarlett Anderson, crewed by Amy Shepherd (who hope to secure a GBR squad place for the Cadets Worlds in Garda this year, good luck to them both) who showed us the way and won the chocolates – literally!
The bar afterwards was full of some awesome sailing stories, non more so that Steve Rands crewing in the Flying Fifteen for the first time – he didn't know they planed before the race, so imagine his surprise on a tight reach coming down the Roach in a Force 5/6! Luckily the Committee Boat could witness the outrageous speed and smiles onboard…
A great event and, as always, the more boats that enter the better it gets, so if you weren’t on the water this time , be there for the next one, it’s great fun, simple as that!
Huge thanks to both Phil and Edwin and his team for setting this up, it was a true Club event, and ticks all the right boxes.