Wandering Rose 2002
River Cruiser: Wandering Rose (2002)
Posted by Graeme Salt, 12th April, 2005
Did the race in 02 and 04. The 02 race was the second time I'd ever sailed competitively, and was something of a baptism of fire since our one previous foray had been against only one other boat...
So we hoisted sail and set off for the start, nav light battery fully charged, loaded up with the obligatory safety gear, silly hats, several crates of Stella and everything else needed for a successful day's racing.
Well, almost everything. It became apparent, around the time the 10 minute gun went, that no-one had thought to bring a stopwatch to time the start. OK, so I should have thought of it, but I am a strong believer in telepathic delegation. Consequently, we weren't exactly in pole position for the line.
- "How long d'ye reckon now?"
- "Dunno, about a minute and a half?"
- "How long now then?"
- "Dunno, say about 45.. BANG!!!"
Somehow, the front of the start behind caught up with the back of our start, and we finished up tacking past the Swan sandwiched in the middle of a vast flotilla of yachts. I don't think such a scene had been witnessed since Nelson was at Trafalgar.
Actually, "tacking" isn't really the right term to use, because it implies an element of control. Sails flapping and barely in steerage, every coarse sailing trick in the book had to be employed to get round.
Anyone who's been in a 3RR start will know that the racing rules are not rigorously applied, and it's a good job because otherwise, the protest committee would probably still be sorting it out now. For example, there are various local rules in the sailing instructions about illegal methods of propulsion, but fortunately they don't say anything about pulling yourself along the side of someone else's boat.
So there we were, coming to the end of one of our “tacks”, sandwiched between two equally out of control yachts and aiming for a nice moored motor cruiser which subsequently turned out to be the support boat for the veteran river cruiser "Crystal"...
"Ready about?" I said, hopefully...
..."at least it's only glass" I thought, as the bowsprit went through the galley window, clearing the draining board of crockery. Then, as we gently bounced off on the bobstay, the bowsprit cap caught the aluminium window frame, ripping it out of the side of the boat to the accompaniment of the sound of splintering fibreglass...
You'd think things could only get better after that, wouldn't you? Well you'd be wrong, because we did EXACTLY the same thing at the Ludham bridge turning mark, this time to the Nancy Oldfield Trusts "Maureen Kenyon".
After that, we continued to finish without incident, albeit, as I recall, in last place. In 2004, apart from a couple of the usual topsail related intractable rigging tangles, the race passed without incident up until the point when we decided to retire at about two in the morning after taking 3 hours to make 100 yards downstream from Potter Bridge.
But we'll be back! Perhaps not this year, cos I'm supposed to be working, but we'll see...
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