With at least two boats put off by the forecast of very strong winds and another one unable to leave their mooring due to the exceptionally low tide, numbers were down for this year's festive race. Santa hats were handed out to those signing in, which added a certain amount of colour to the scene, as did the brilliant sunshine, turning the water bright blue.
As there were just four participants, only one start was needed. Given the tack against the strong ebb for the first leg, Rebecca decided to stay well above the line until the last minute, but unfortunately misjudged it, returned too early, couldn't turn around and ended up starting last. White Rose was first across the line, but Rebecca's greater speed soon told and she was in the lead by the first corner.
She also fared better getting past the ferry than the other yachts, as by the time the slower boats reached that point, the ferry had crossed the river and was inconveniently sitting on the leeward bank, necessitating extra tacking.
The gusty conditions meant the yachts were showing their bottoms, but only Pandora III really suffered, unfortunately losing their jib just before the mark, when the fitting pulled out of the bowsprit. Momentarily, they were to be seen apparently sporting a spinnaker, before the crew managed to rescue the errant sail.
With only three finishers, all were in the meat. The crew of Pandora III did not go away empty handed, each receiving a tin of soup or a chocolate bar. White Rose in third got the pheasant and Lucky Breeze the ducks. Rebecca, for the second year running, went home with the turkey and the silverware. However, they failed on the raffle this year and the hamper went to our ex-secretary, Julia.
It was good to see some spectators from the northern rivers - thanks to Mark Harvey and Sue Hines for videos and photographs, which are posted on the Facebook