The Plough and Sail in Paglesham, that well know destination of the old Burnham Week non-racing Sundays, was pretty much the finishing line for the annual Dragon pub race on Sunday 14th August. We were not required to run the final half mile to claim the prize - everyone was a winner on such an enjoyable outing.
Edwin, accompanied by his team of friends on Phoebe, joined a fleet of seven Dragons and whilst starters in the Fastnet were being dismasted, we, in Burnham, were given perfect sailing conditions. It’s the place to sail!
For the Dragons there was some serious racing to get through before getting that first pint in. Mark devised a course to last just over two hours and got it spot on. Starting west off the RBYC line towards No.11, Mike Holmes (with Alex and Matt) in Hands Off gained the advantage. Avalanche decided to cross to the north bank early to cheat the flooding tide and gained a few places to give Hands Off some work to do on the run.
The long run down to Holliwell was followed by a tough breezy beat back to No.1 (looking very smart and new, thanks to Crossrail). Logie, helmed by Rob Campbell, did very well to work his way up the fleet, only to throw it all away on a navigation error during the next beat. The fleet was aiming for Redward whilst Rob was aiming for Greenward. David Andrassey, helming Magic a few minutes before had asked Rob what was the next mark – he was given the correct information so Logie’s navigation whoopsie was all the more unexplainable.
The Roach offered its typical flukey conditions but Avalanche, (crewed by Mark, Mandy, Ian and Laura,) having overtaken Hands Off in the Crouch, held on to her advantage to take line honours. Ganador (no luck involved) pipped Magic on the line for third (they admitted to chatting and not concentrating, not surprising with a team comprising David, Woody and Roy!). Logie achieved 5th as the 6th placed Valanga team was a victim of some unfriendly wind shifts. Hat Trick never quite made up ground after a rather wayward start.
None of this really mattered as we were ferried ashore by James and a friendly local boatman who had also organised moorings (thank you!). A private corner of the pub garden was secured for everybody - crews, friends, partners, children and grandchildren. Good food and sunshine for a soporific afternoon in the English country- what more could be wished for?
Being Dragons we had to race home and quite an interesting race it was. Massive wind shifts caused grief near the front and turning into the Crouch for a while there was virtually no wind. Avalanche (taking line honours) and Hand of Fortune (a very creditable second) stuck to the south bank and that proved to be the right call. On the north bank, Ganador suffered its own lack of concentration and hard grounded. First time crew Tricia and Michael thought it all great fun, rounding off their first Dragon experience with lots of rocking action on the fore deck!
A great sociable day out for the Dragon fleet, friends and family- many thanks to Mark and Mandy for organising the day.