A total of 23 boats arrived on a chilly but dry morning on 27th February 20016 for the first Open Event of the Cadet calendar at The Corinthian Otters in Burnham on Crouch. The Organisers had been watching the Forecast carefully all week and were very happy to find that the wind had dropped to give almost perfect conditions.
Slick pre-planning ensured we were ready to go as soon as possible in order to get the maximum 5 races in. The North Easterly wind direction was not ideal but PRO Edwin Buckley managed to set a course diagonally across the river with a reaching leg which, to the delight of the parents viewing from the club house brought the boats right across in front of the club.
Race one saw Waldringfield duo of Ellie Wootton & Amelia Meyhew in Zest (GBR9876) showing superior boat speed from the off. They lead from the outset and never looked like they would lose, until a navigational error saw then turn back up the beat, followed by several others, gifting race 1 to Hazel Whittle & Charlotte Leigh in Wizard (GBR8853), Second was Amy & Ben Goult in Aquillo (GBR9510) and third was Hattie and Hamish Collingridge in Mistofeles (GBR8553), All from Waldringfield.
Race 2 started in quick order and once again Zest was showing well, Ellie didn’t have it all her own way however with Isobel & Emily Speirs in True Colours (GBR9984) from Frensham vying for the lead all the way round. On the last reach to the finish It was the Speirs girls who managed to steel the win from Zest in second and not far behind was Finbar Wormell & Oscar Ferenczy in Leathal Menace (GBR8847) from Frensham.
Once again Edwin worked quickly to get race 3 underway and Zest were not going to be beaten this time. Ellie & Amelia sailed a faultless race to win from Katie Spark & Connor Line in Lift Off (9321) (Waldringfield) with Isobel & Emily coming in 3rd. It was then a dash ashore for a bowl of steaming hot Lasagne, which judging by the empty plates was very well received, a short rest then a return to the fray. All achieved within an hour or so.
Nobody knows what was in the Lasagne but it certainly agreed with local due Ben & Phoebe Barr sailing Whatever (GBR9027) from the Corinthian Otters. The wind had increased by a couple of knots and this seemed to suit the Burnham pair who lead round the 1st windward. Close in attendance were a clutch of others including the ever present Zest. Whatever & Zest contested the lead all the way round only for Ellie to make the same race 1 mistake again to let Ben & Phoebe in at the finish. Ellie recovered to hold onto 2nd with Hattie & Hamish taking 3rd.
The final race of the day left Ben and Phoebe thinking if only they had eaten Lasagne for breakfast what might have been as the lead away from the gun to eventually take their 2nd bullet of the day. An excellent performance from Finbar & Oscar secured second with the consistent Ellie & Amelia in 3rd. It was then back to shore for all the competitors to be greeted with a welcome cup of Hot Chocolate as they came off the water.
Once the points had been counted, Ellie & Amelia’s consistent sailing was enough to secure the event and the Schoolboy trophy, which, coincidentally had been won by both Ellie’s Aunt & Mother when they were Otters in the dim and distant past. Isobel & Emily were second and Hattie and Hamish were third. Lucie Nunn and Ethan Davey won the spot prize finishing in lucky 13th place.
A great end to a great day which by all accounts had achieved what it set out to do: give high quality competitive racing before the first indicator with the bonus of being able to get an excellent view from a warm club house. Thanks go to event sponsors Zhik and everyone who contributed to the organisation of the event. It is hoped we can do the same next year and into the future.
Matt Barr: Corinthian Otter Cadet Squadron Captain.