The plans had been made, the teams had been briefed, the boats had been entered. All that remained was for the wind & weather to play ball, which it did, so a big sigh of relief was breathed when the weekend was finally here.
42 teams arrived on a clement Saturday morning ready for the final test of the selection series for inclusion in the British Team to travel to the Worlds in Argentina later in the year. In all 13 Otters were involved with Ben & Phoebe Barr the team most likely Otter team to challenge for selection.
After a quick briefing by PRO Bob "Arky" Wainright ably assisted by Edwin & his excellent RCYC race team, the super slick launch crew got the boats on the water in good time and the fleet set off to the race area just beyond the Roach.
The conditions made for typical tidal river racing with the first of the three races asking some questions about North or South shore selection and then once the tide had turned the traditional Burnham short tacking duels ensued throughout the fleet in races 2 & 3.
After day one it was Cara Bland & Ines Green from Waldringfield who lead the pack from series favourites Jamie Harris & Antonia Wilkinson (Bristol Corinthian / Frensham Pond) in second, and Ellie Wooton & Amelia Mayhew in third also from Waldringfield.
On returning to shore the fleet found that Chris & Jarryd's BBQ was in full flow supplying a welcome pre dinner snack of excellent hot dogs, before the pre-arranged dinner of lasagne was consumed with gusto.
Sunday dawned with stronger and more northerly winds which made for a new challenge. The SIs had been amended to allow a new course of triangle, triangle, sausage, sausage to be laid which worked really well. The cross tide beats, reaches & runs leaving many over standing marks, resulted in some interesting scenarios at mark rounding time.
The ever Consistent Jamie Harris mastered the conditions and, but for a lapse in concentration on the last reach to the finish on race 4, he would have completed the series with all top 4 finishes. As it was Jamie & Antonia won the event on 9 points with Harry & Faye Chatterton from Waldringfield in second on 18 points and Ellie & Amelia third on 21 points. The Otters best placed team were Ben & Phoebe Barr in 11th overall.
Special mention must go to Freddie Pitcher & Charlie Corbett who in their first major event were in the top ten round the windward mark on three occasions - definitely ones to watch.
So it was that the selectors were complete and it was now a nervous wait for some until the British team was announced. Unfortunately for Ben and Phoebe they were pipped at the post coming 11th in the series when 10 were selected. Still as they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - maybe next year?!
Thanks go to everyone who contributed to making this once again an excellent event, the sun even came out to show the visitors what the RCYC balcony is there for on Sunday evening...