My first thought looking back at the sailing season of 2008 was to say, what a wash out! This was the first season I have known where I had to abandon my boat where she lay due to high winds and rain, not once but twice, but who argues with force 8/9 on the nose, even in the Crouch.
The weather affected our social programme too. The Branklet Barbeque was blown out, however we decided to celebrate the long awaited completion of the new Mast Shed Roof by holding the BBQ in there, very good it was too, and the Mast Shed is still standing, so please use it to store your masts in.
The Pontoon Party was another victim of the weather, but again the flexibility and goodwill of the club and the cruiser's willingness to party anywhere meant the show was saved and the Party was held in the Marquee. Attended by the club's flag officers and members, one flag officer said he won't come again unless he can bring his own drink, as our cocktails had a seriously adverse effect on him.
The 2008 sailing programme was hit by the weather, and also by a lack of boats available to attend. The Curry Run to Brightlingsea went ahead with just two boats, Ella Rose and Galenaia with other members joining us by road, however the weather set in again as we left Brightlingsea forcing us to run to Bradwell Marina, leaving the boats there to return the following weekend.
Not affected by the weather were our excellent Sunday lunches with our guest speakers last year being, David Horn, Dick Durham and Roger Taylor, more are planned for the coming close season and we look forward to your ongoing support.
It was not all doom and gloom though, several boats cruised and lots of boats raced... yes raced!!
We did have one Cruiser Race, the Swallowtail Trophy, which was won by Ray Austen in Phylla, however the David Eagling Trophy was a victim to the weather once again but this times no wind. The Spangle Cup Quiz was won by Team Harrison on Tumbler and as well as the cup they get the honour of setting the quiz next year.
Burnham Week saw David Hill and Spangle pick up Class 5 Overall Winner for Week Points and Mid-week 4 day regatta. Also taking part in Class 5 were; Pelorus, Orla, Phylla, Dangerous Moonlight, Amanda Louise and Full Circle. I include Pelorus here as Kim Allen admitted to cruising up to Hullbridge, just to see how far he could get with his 2 metre draft.
The sole RCYC entry in the EAORA events this year was Bob and Bill Parsons' Puffin, taking part in the Janes Cup, Thames Estuary Race and most notably the Buckley Goblets Race from West Mersea to Ostend, on this venture they were joined by nephew Andy, Matthew Anthony and Arthur Heasley.
Talking of the Heasleys, Star Swan had an eventful season, freshly painted they set out for Scotland or somewhere warm depending on who was at the helm when they got to Lands End, however after dodging submarines and shell fire Arthur got man flu in Cornwall. After recovering they cruised back to the Isle of Wight to take part in a regatta of S&S designed Swans sponsored by Tattinger Champagne, crewed by a mixture of cruisers and racers.
Ella Rose took part in a number of Old Gaffer Rallies and races, the bad news was she didn't win any, the good news, we weren't last either.
Star of the solo long distance race again was Roger Taylor and Ming Ming. Roger successfully took part in the single handed Jester Challenge Race to the Azores and returned safely to Plymouth.
But owning a cruiser is not all about distance covered or racing sometimes it's just about getting out on the water and enjoying yourself so a big mention must go to Richard and Sheena Cozens and Good Hope who get out on the water probably more than anyone else within the cruiser fleet.
Pete Willets purchased and fitted out La Mouette and was later grateful to have installed a GMDSS radio as it facilitated his rescue off of Ramsgate by the Coastguard after a dodgy pork pie.
We have said goodbye to a couple of well know boats this year, Sue and Graham King have sold Fanny's Prospect (no more bad jokes) and hope to have their new boat here for next season and Team Eagling have sold Gymcrack and are looking at options for next season.
Two boats were hit on the moorings by vessel or vessels unknown, Ella Rose and Dangerous Moonlight with Dangerous Moonlight receiving serious damage and as a result lost a lot of their season.
And finally... Derek and the lovely Doris Stowe thought all their bad weather sailing was behind them when they sold their boat and purchased a massive motor home.
Parking up for the night in a riverside French campsite, Derek put up his awning, put out stabilisers (he's not getting any younger) and plugged into the mains. Settling down for the night the Lovely Doris woke Derek up and asked "had he heard the thunder", he hadn't but did now. They sat through the mother of all storms being English, drinking tea and eating cake.
They both got to sleep but awoken at around 4am by creaks and bangs Derek got up to see what the problem was, Derek stepped out of the motor home into water, the river had risen and was now flooding, a quick exit was called for. Derek recovered the awning, with a little difficulty, aided by the lovely Doris all was well and they made good their escape.
The lesson learnt... always reef down your motor home at night.
Mick King - Cruiser Fleet Captain