Saturday 21st July
Corinthian Otters and their friends arriving early on the Friday evening, unpacked themselves in pouring rain but by the Saturday morning the promised change in the weather had arrived - someone turned on the sun! Registration, safety checks and briefing over, launching got under way.
It was to the credit of Stuart Munro, the Race Officer, that he managed to set a course that provided some sailing in the light airs, shifting everywhere but everyone was on the water- Otter Week 2012 had begun!
Sunday 22nd July
Whoever was put in charge of ordering the weather this week has continued to do an outstanding job, giving everybody the chance make the most of another beautiful morning on the river.
The main fleets had two more races on split courses set down river of the moorings, which saw some good starts and consistent sailing accompanied by a good helping of smiles and banter! Reports from the younger Oppy sailors are that they had a great morning's sail too, with much progress being made.
Then, after a break for lunch upstairs at the club, it was time to move on to the customary water games for the afternoon. Much fun was had and a deal of happy noise was made as the crabs were force fed (and sung to) and sufficient water taken from the river soaked into wetsuits and hair for the water level to seem drop even faster than the near spring tide would normally manage on it's own.
But there was still enough as the high tide was ideal for a mass balcony jump into the depths by all those with a head for heights. The good news is that the forecast is for the near perfect weather to continue, so roll on tomorrow!
Monday 23rd July
In what is fast becomong a regular feature of Otter Week 2012 Monday started with a cloudless sky and a 'soft' breeze. The Treasure Hunt was the order of the day and the Otters demonstrated their enthusiasm by soaking each other before getting anywhere near their boats!
Once launched,we were treated to a display of improbable capsize techniques as the 'paparazzi' RIB snapped away. It was amazing to see just how much the younger Otters enjoyed fast reaching on the boats of the older sailors - no fear!
In the afternoon River 1 and River 1.5 Fleets made steady progress against the tide. The day was rounded off with a visit to Burnham's amazing Rio Cinema and a bag of well-deserved popcorn.
Tuesday 24th July
Tuesday followed suit with the beautiful weather of the previous days, but unfortunately there was not a lot of wind. This meant the long distance race, for all fleets except the Optimist fleet, was postponed but took place later. As the sailors worked hard, short tacking against the tide, the younger oppie sailors went out on the RIBs and had a great time speeding around in the sun.
After this the Optimists all made for the White House, some took the easy way by RIB while some sailed there. They had a picnic, a swim in the pool and took part in different team games - everyone said that they thoroughly enjoyed it and smiled the whole time.
The rest of the sailors, after completing the Long Distance Race, tied up at the beach and had a great time swimming and swapping boats before sailing home. Once in, the sailors were met with two bouncy castles, which allowed the seniors to show their inner child again like their trip to Monkey Puzzle.
That evening was the Pimms party for the adults and Flag Officers; it was opened by Judy Waples, the President of the Otters and allowed parents, new and old, to meet and have some time to relax for once in the week.
Taking place downstairs was the Karaoke, which juniors, seniors and adults all took part in to sing together in a way which no words can describe-it was said that the noise could be heard as far away as the marina!
Wednesday 24th July
Wednesday morning dawned hot and sunny with light winds. Gradually a breeze started to build, so the fleets headed down the Crouch for what were four successful races.
In Race One particularly, there were some classic Burnham conditions when strong tides and light winds meant that lay lines were much harder to call than usual. Choosing when to leave the shelter of the bank and face the formidable tide in light airs caught out many boats! By Race Two, the sailors had learned their lesson - and the Race Committee moved the mark to the North Bank which also helped.
Meanwhile, upstream River 1 Group were enjoying the lovely weather. It was the perfect day to practise capsize and recovery techniques and it was almost a pleasure for everyone to do their Swimming Test. In the afternoon, the River 1 fleet headed upstream for follow-my-leader exercises. This was followed by a tough foul tide beat back to the club which several boats successfully completed.
Once ashore the clubhouse was buzzing with excitement because it was nearly time for the Fancy Dress competition. The Judges faced difficult choices due to the great efforts made by many to produce cleverly conceived and beautifully made costumes. In the end simplicity won the day as is so often the case.
Congratulations to Lexie Knight for her Olympian outfit and winning smile.
So another idyllic day ended on the RCYC terrace, with children and parents exchanging stories about the events of the day, watching the sun go down over the calm waters of the River Crouch.
Thursday 25th July
Otter Week is finished for another year and the last day is given over to traditional activities - a pursuit race for the Seniors and a long distance race for the juniors. Ashore we are busy with organising the prizegiving and the Annual General Meeting. After lunch the Junior Otters went off for voyages in several keel boats, RCODs and a 707 whilst the Seniors attended the AGM. Then it was time to change into tidy clothes ready for a group photo on the balcony, then the Prize Giving Dinner, followed by a disco which was extremely enjoyable and went far too quickly for everyone's liking! Now we look forward to Otter Week 2013...
Thanks to all the daily authors - Carl Andersen, Olly Moon, Christophe Clark, Robbie Hooper, Victor Brellisford & Aiofe Cahalane.