Saturday 27th May 2017 started bright and still. At 10.00, the skies darkened, followed by thunder, lightning and torrential rain. At 11.00, the sun shone, and the wind filled in from the Southeast.
Against this backdrop, nine cruisers set off at 12:00 to race to Harwich: Clara of Burnham (Robert and Tracy Coyle), Voyager (Simon and Sarah Sanders), Mystic Tide (Phil Knox and Vince Bickers), Libra of Burnham (Igor and Caroline Sarychkin), Zelda (Chris and Chrissie Nolan), Scarlet (Sarah Brown and Zöe O'Connell), Dreamcatcher (Ramiro Salom and Blanca Boira), Lyra of London (Miles and Joanne Delap) and our guests from the Royal Burnham YC, Trinco (Peter and Caroline Hooper).
Clara, with an excellent start, stormed into an early lead. As we passed Holliwell Point, the wind veered to the south and increased to a gusty 5-6 against the choppy flood. Trinco and Lyra opted to fly spinnakers, the rest of the fleet stayed with white sails. In the Swallowtail Channel, we had Clara, Lyra, Trinco and Mystic Tide in front. Libra skimmed past Zelda under main alone, barely creating a ripple, and Voyager, Dreamcatcher and Scarlet were very close behind.
The difficult conditions caused Scarlet's mainsheet tackle to break under the strain. Sarah and Zöe managed to repair the damage, but Scarlet retired and continued under power.
As we reached the Swin, the tide eased and began its ebb. The wind veered further to the Southwest and we began an idyllic run in an unusually calm Wallet. We gybed round Medusa and finished at Stone Banks. Lyra took line honours, After Lyra, the entire fleet crossed the finish line within 16 minutes of each other: Clara next, followed by Trinco, Libra, Mystic Tide, Zelda, Voyager and Dreamcatcher (locked in an epic duel, crossing the line together), then Scarlet (once more under sail).
On Corrected Time, the results were:
- Lyra of London 3:46:10 (Retains the Swallowtail Trophy)
- Trinco 3:52:50
- Clara of Burnham 4:07:15
- Zelda 4:07:19
- Mystic Tide 4:16:21
- Voyager 4:17:13
- Dreamcatcher 4:19:26
- Libra of Burnham 4:24:40
- Scarlet Retired
We arrived in Suffolk Yacht Harbour. It was a lovely surprise to be joined by Steve and Katherine Barham (Verlette) who had driven up to meet us. 28 members sat down for a splendid meal in the Lightship Restaurant. After our meal, Simon and Sarah Sanders were presented with RCYC glassware for winning the Wizard Cup at the Opening Muster. Miles And Joanne Delap were presented RCYC glassware for retaining the Swallowtail Trophy, and Peter and Caroline Hooper were also presented with RCYC glassware for being the highest placed guest yacht.
We returned on Sunday with a long, but pleasant, motorsail in glorious sunshine and calm conditions. Some also returned Sunday, while others stayed longer to explore the Orwell and the joys of the Butt and Oyster!
This was another great weekend: if I have any more to savour over glasses of scotch in the depths of winter, I shall be pickled! It was lovely to see so many friends and their families at the meal, and I thank those attending for making it so memorable.