After accepting an invitation from Anne and 'Arfur' Heasley to crew on Star Swan for the RCYC Cruiser Fleet 'Three Pubs Race', it became clear on the morning of the race that it was going to be a little different to my regular outings on Dragon Danish Blue.
For those that do not know, the 'Three Pubs Race' is very similar to the Volvo Round the World Race in as much as it consist of a series of 'legs' with stopovers in between. Cruisers are quite happy to embark on a passage 'short-handed' but this was a race, and 'ringers' were required to man the winches with more urgency than usual.
Amanda Louise enlisted familiar racers from Burnham's big boat and RBOD fleets, Eclipse had an offshore veteran, Star Swan recruited from the Dragon Fleet and Sherpa had Campanologists - a different type of ringer altogether.
The race instructions were brief and focused more on the selection of beverages available at the Plough and Sail, Paglesham, than the Racing Rules of Sailing. Conditions did not permit the full race distance to be completed - however the important elements of the race, the stopovers, were retained albeit with slight revision to the original plan.
My conclusion: there should be more races like this. A fantastic introduction to racing for those that have not raced before and an antidote to racing for those that sometimes take things far too seriously.
The races and stopovers would not have been possible without George Winder (PRO) and Mark Eagling (support, water taxi and responsible adult) so thanks are due. Finally, with the clubhouse temporarily in the guise of 'Ye Olde Corinthian Tavern', the day was topped off with excellent 'pub grub' provided by Simon, a hugely entertaining Cruiser Fleet prize giving from Anne and Arfur and Chas 'n' Dave on repeat.
Andrew ’Noddy’ Norden