Spectator Ian Ruston 2008
Spectator: Ian Ruston (2008)
Posted 6th February 2010
I had never visited the 3RR as a spectator although I had heard a lot about it so my wife and I decided to follow its progress for at least part of the Saturday. I tried hunting for the start time so we could arrive at Horning in time. I couldn't find it published anywhere, particularly not on the HSC club web site. I went by historic reports of previous years and arrived to find the start had been brought an hour early. We had missed it! Oh well, the last group were still in the 'Street so saw a few of them pass including Greg in his SeaHawk.
Off to the Ferry. Lots of boats here jostling for their position and very crowded indeed. Going the opposite way were a number of weekly hire boats who obviously didn't know what had happened and were confronted with a line of yachts in full sail blocking their path. I wonder what warnings or instructions the hire yards give them. I spoke to a couple and explained what was happening.
Next it was off to Ludham. A real party atmosphere here with a large gathering of people on the river bank. Many had a tablecloth spread with sandwiches and champagne! Each boat had to cross an imaginary line, call their number to the guard boat and then turn back the way they had just come. As each boat did a great cheer went up from the crowd. On the approach to the line, or mark they were all tacking into the wind but after it was a run back downwind. It was absolute chaos! Boats were colliding with each other, snagging ropes, hitting the bank in evasive manoeuvres and even ramming boats moored near to the guard boat. All through this were the families with their newly hired boat trying to muddle through, absolute madness in action. After a while the flow of boats dwindled and the party goers broke up, we went on to Potter Heigham.
Our timing for Potter was out, we saw no boats on our arrival but there was a large crowd waiting for boats to arrive. We waited awhile and were rewarded with a Norfolk Punt demonstrating how to shoot a bridge. They dropped the mast and one of the crew went forward with a paddle, under potter bridges and then up with the mast and away. No drama or loss of speed at all!
We waited for a while and went home, thoroughly enjoyable, a really nice atmosphere throughout, I must give it a go!
[Editor's Note: Ian did take part in the 2009 race. Read his log.]
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