Despite the forecast for rain, the first day of Otter Week 2009 was sunny and dry with a pleasant 3-4 westerly breeze. Once all the briefings were out of the way, in true Otter style the first boat launched all but 20 minutes after the designated launching time. Luckily the boats were starting off the club line, which was quite a spectacle as the Oppies, Lasers, Teras, Fevas, 420s and Cadets set off on their venture around Bridgemarsh Island for the Long Distance Race.
Thanks to some good preparation on the Race Officer’s part, the lead boats at least were joined with the good grace of the tide for the duration of the race. Everyone returned after a two hour race thoroughly worn out but having enjoyed the favourable sailing conditions.
The house ribbons were then distributed in preparation for the ‘Eggheads’ Quiz, very in tune with the theme for the week – ‘TV Times.’ After much tower construction with marshmallows and spaghetti in the closing rounds, the Green team emerged victorious; headed by their defiant leader Tasmain Wichard. The Red team were defeated at the hands of ill play if you ask me...
It's all over for another year and this year's Otter Week has been voted 'one of the best'! Otters aged over twelve years were invited to give their opinons at the AGM with comments and suggestions for Otter Week 2010. The new Flag Officers were elected and their first comment was that the outgoing Flag Officers, Alex Willsher, Emma Tavinor, Rory Page and Tamsin Witchard would be a hard act to follow!
If the Otters, guests and visitors had a lot of fun, it's a reflection of the thoughtful planning that went on beforehand, the year round, as well as the sheer hard work during the Week itself. Andy Wood-Hill bore the main responsibility for waterside activities, supported by the various fleet trainers, Andy Prestwich, Andy Barr, Nick Hutton-Penman, Kay Tavinor and Phil Aspinall, nor could we do without the ex-Otters who return to compete and assist.
Mention must be made of the Munros - Stuart must be the first RCYC Commodore who has morphed into the Otter Race Officer and Philippa the first Commodore's wife who has wielded the frying pan with such style. Immediately Otter Week was over, they were bidden to Cowes to carry out more traditional duties there.
Water safety and rescue was supervised by nineteen RIBs, all with driver and assistant. Some visiting competitors were accompanied by both parents and a RIB - the Otters acknowledge their support.
Lynne Bikhazi was responsible for shoreside arrangements, assisted by more parents than can be mentioned individually. The RCYC Staff played their parts to the full - Dean, in the kitchen, reckoned they served over a 1000 meals during the Week and Tony and his staff were behind the bar from early till late.
But the most remarkable feature was the Spirit of the Week - it is an established tradition that the older Otters take a full part in the care and training of the youngsters. It was there on the morning of the Treasure Hunt - every older Otter had one, two or three passengers, clinging to every available finger-hold. And when one of the Lasers capsized, as Lasers sometimes do, tipping everyone into the water, the youngest Otter clambered back on board, grinning from ear to ear and said, ""Awesome!"
I rest my case...