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The Autumn Open at Cantley got off to a good start, with
sunshine and a robust wind for the start of the pursuit race. This year,
Golden Moon had the honour of being first away, with Kingfisher and Pixie close
behind. Duncan and Adrian in particular held their own for much of the
race, but eventually Pippinjack managed to pass them both and took a lead which
was never seriously challenged. The two fastest boats, Melinda and Maidie
both struggled to make headway through the fleet, but Catspaw and Anne were both
up near the front near the end, challenging Pixie for second place. Anne
got past Pixie; Catspaw didn't.
Sunday was not so much fun. No wind. At least there
was sunshine in the morning as the boats sailed gently upriver on the
tide. At the top mark all became chaos as they tried to round the mark and
return against the tide. Some were swept beyond the mark, some dropped
weights, some rafted up, no doubt involuntarily and there was a report
(unsubstantiated) of Catspaw parked in the reeds having cups of tea! Those
that didn't retire were eventually able to finish, led by Melinda who crept
along the bank to finish first; the rest following as the tide eased and a
little bit of breeze filled in.
Things got worse in the afternoon. Still no wind,
with added rain and rather chilly after a while. Eight hardy crews took
part in the final race, which was mostly downtide, but as Melinda reached the
planned finish line at Hardley Mill after only 23 minutes, the competitors were
made to sail the full course, down to Hardley Dyke and back to the mill.
They did all finish, but the line crew were rather wet and cold by the time
White Rose clawed her way across the line.
The results for the day were somewhat repetitive, with
Melinda winning both races, followed by Pixie and then Pandora III, although in
the afternoon race a mere fraction of a second separated the two on corrected
time. After Melinda had received the Nelson Trophy, the Diamond Jubilee
Trophy was awarded to Anna, with Pandora beating May into second place on a tie