After the particularly strong wind in 2015 for this race, it was a case of the other extreme this year, with hardly any wind at all. Again, the OOD was to be seen upriver in the club dory early on, pondering the wind conditions and wondering whether it would be possible to run a race.
Again, it was decided that it would be prudent to have a time gate start, as there was some doubt as to whether any yacht over the line at the gun would be able to return against the flood tide and head wind - or head zephyr, more accurately! Some also had visions of the fleet bunching at the top mark and rafting up for elevensies, being unable to sail back downriver.
White Rose was first away, giving themselves maximum time to try to get round the course, closely followed by Pandora III. After a gap, Alice Rose, a welcome visitor from the northern rivers, crewed by a select bunch from EACC, slowly followed. Another gap, before Vixen and the other northern visitor, Rebecca, followed almost side by side.
It was a welcome sight to see White Rose making reasonable progress back downriver after rounding the mark, as she was the yacht least likely to have been able to make way again the tide. However, Pandora overtook her to take line honours on a slightly shortened course. Vixen found Alice Rose in their way as they close hauled the last reach and, wary of going aground as the EACC chaps had earlier, tacked off to give themselves room. This gave them a frustrating finish, as a wind shift meant endless tacks to cross the line, whereas Alice Rose had sailed a straight course. Rebecca, under canvassed for the conditions, brought up the rear, both on the water and on corrected time.
Vixen proved to be the winner, taking home the trophy and a somewhat smaller turkey than last year's. Pandora took the brace of duck for second place and Alice Rose the third place prize of a brace of pheasants.
61 members enjoyed a festive meal in a packed Surlingham Ferry Inn, followed by the presentation of prizes for the Christmas tree decorations competition, won by Di Branscombe for her festive cookies and then the drawing of the huge raffle by Terry Secker, our Raffle-meister. Rebecca won the hamper, of course!