March 29th, and it is the week of the Dragon Easter Regatta. I am fielding questions from entrants, " Will we be sailing? The forecast is looking so bad!" I begin to pray, if not for a pleasant weekend, at least for winds to allow us to take to the water!
With twenty entrants, booked in and paid up, 13 from our own fleet, 2 from Ostende, and 5 from the Medway fleet, I admit to just a fleeting stress; all our planning for a nine race Regatta looked at risk, with the cold gales forecast to sweep across the country.
But, with hands held high, whatever I uttered, it worked! Edwin and his team conducted the briefing on Good Friday with much optimism, (it was going to be a good Friday!), and so it was to be. The fleet made way to the starting area in the mouth of the Roach for the first day's series of three windward/ leewards. Without letting on, my fingers and toes were crossed in anticipation of a fine day's racing, worthy of the usual Burnham quality, and we did have a very good first race. Unfortunately the wind strength increased making it hazardous to race in the confined area of the Roach and I had to make the decision to come home. That wasn't so bad, the bar was warm and the stories of the day's events flowed easily, so we were happy to settle for that, and hope for a better day on Saturday.
And it came to pass, Saturday dawned, with no sunshine, but a wind to please all. The race team got us underway with their usual perfection and we enjoyed four great races in the Crouch and Roach. It was a busy day, (thank goodness), as it was still cold, and again the bar was a very inviting place to settle, with many justifying the day with a pint or two before dancing to Zoot Goose in the evening.
Sunday dawned, still no sunshine, but I could untie my fingers as the wind had now abated to a perfect 10- 15 knots. We planned two races from the club line, with a lunch in between, and the plan worked well. The main Regatta dinner was very enjoyable and ninety sat down to a lovely mea. There were some very good speeches, thanks to our guests Peter de Gyse and Patrick Delaheye from Ostende, and Don McMillan from the Medway for their rousing words...and the wine and laughter brought the club to life.
After seven races the results were beginning to show who the stars were going to be for the weekend. Beauty and the Beast, sailed by Rob Campbell, Matt Walker and Jonathan Hill, looked like they had the silver ready to be engraved with their names, but there was still Monday to race. They showed true form and won the Monday race in style, becaming winners of the 2010 Easter Regatta. Second place was awarded to Avalanche, sailed by Mark & Mandy Wade and Duncan Grindley, and in third, Hand of Fortune, sailed by Mike Holmes, Alex Burnett and Matt Young.
Well done to all who entered, I feel the entire fleet were all winners!
Thank you to the club staff, who looked after us with their usual efficiency, and I wish to extend a special thanks to all those who helped in the planning and organisation; without your cheerful help, where would we be ?
Next year we not only host an Easter Regatta, but the Dragon East Coast Championships and I have my fingers crossed already!
Full results are available here...
Colin Woodcock, Dragon Class Captain