Marco Polo - All-in Pursuit Race 2014

»«Saturday 25th October 2014

It was literally standing room only at 09:30 in the Club for the briefing on Saturday the 25th for the Marco Polo All-in Pursuit Race. Edwin Buckley was even a few minutes late as last minute entries were still coming in. For the first time the Club had agreed to extend the race to the Otters, so there was a real buzz in the air with 38 boats entered, without doubt the largest entry for years.

There was frantic activity in the dinghy park after Edwin’s briefing as the dinghies knew they had to launch on time - Edwin waits for no-one, we'd all warned them!

The Cadets launched first and all chose the south shore, a decision unbeknown to them at the time which was to cost them dear later. Next to launch was the lone Topper, sailed by Martha Waples who slipped off to the North Shore and made good progress albeit rather lonely to begin with. Another lone competitor was Ben Hutton Penman, sailing his Tera.

The Lasers decided that there was safety in numbers and swarmed downstream, whereas the Squibs showed varying tactics, some on both shores. Once reaching Greenward, the north shore obviously paid off.

Three RCODs glided along very gracefully and the Dragons, virtually to a boat, were all on the line with kites pulling. The last off was the cruiser Amanda Louise - would she be able to save her time?

The beat with the tide certainly seemed to be paying the dinghies, as with five minutes to go the leading Cadet Scallywag sailed by Scarlett Anderson and Amy Shephard (if only the Cadets had gone to the North Shore!) was overtaken by about three Squibs, indeed one Squib was heard squealing with joy having overtaken both the Tera and then the Topper with moments to spare. And the end result? Well it really does show that Pursuit races can be close, a fun morning for all, although it is certain the weather played its part.

Who won? Well on the last official racing of the season, who else could it be but Commodore Coyle in Squib Humphrey, crewed by Marc Rawinsky?

Next year, perhaps we should aim for 50 boats - easily achievable and what an event that would be!

Justin Waples