The weekend of the 9th & 10th July kept the Corinthian Cruiser Fleet based at home for two annual events - the Pontoon Party followed by the Swallowtail Race. Three boats moored onto the pontoon, Amanda Louise, Quick Reflex and Verlette, particularly welcome as it was a chance for Steve and Catherine Barham to meet the rest of us.
Others brought drinks and nibbles to help and everything worked very well with people moving from boat to boat, trying different cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. More than thirty people sat down to the Bistro in the club and a convivial evening was enjoyed by all.
The party is always followed by the Swallowtail Race the following day - we still keep the name because of the beautifully carved swallow that forms the trophy although the Swallowtail buoy has not been navigable for some years.
There were six competitors and a course was set up the Roach and back to No 11. Baldrick and Amanda Louise made good starts, the rest of us being a minute or two behind the line! All went well with Amanda Louise and Orla in the lead then Orla went aground and had to retire after using her engine to get off.
Grace had settled for second when Amanda Louise went looking for the Branklet buoy past the Roach buoy on the way to Pagglesham! Grace rounded Roach and set off fast for home, hardly believing her luck for although Amanda Louise came to her senses she couldn’t catch Grace in time.
Quick Reflex was third, Verlette was fourth and Baldrick retired gracefully after fighting her way up the Roach - gaffers do not go well to windward!
We retired to the bar to have well-earned refreshments and discuss the event with several cruiser members, who don't normally worry about buoys, better informed about where to find them!