It was a bright and promising start to the day for the
annual Challenge Cup race, but as people arrived at Coldham Hall the black
clouds were looming and by the time of the 9.30 (ish) briefing the drizzle had
started. None the less, 8 yachts set off downriver on Coldham Hall Sailing
Club's "long course" to Langley Woods and back
May and Anna got the best starts, both sailing for YSC,
but Kevin Priest soon slipped by with Grayling to take the lead for the rest of
the race. In the lightish north westerly airs, it was mainly a running and
reaching race downriver. Brigand, after some manoeuvering around the
river, eventually managed to get into second place on the water, as a
substantial gap opened up between the four leaders and the four slower boats.
The rain was quite heavy by now, turning what should have
been a pleasant sail into something of a cold and damp marathon. Turning
at the stile, and reaching and beating back up river, the rain eased for a while,
before returning with a vengeance, hammering down to create boiling water in the
river and great puddles on the yachts, accompanied by sheets of water showering
off the sails. Lovely.
As the finish approached, the rain cleared, however, and
the wind picked up, giving a lively crossing of the line for some.
Kingfisher galloped back upriver, leaving the rest of the slower boats behind,
and eventually taking third place on corrected time to become the highest placed
YSC yacht. Grayling and Brigand in first and second, backed up by Golden
Moon and Marigold, enabled CHSC to comfortably retain the Challenge Cup by 15
points to 20; Grayling also winning the Bessie Bell trophy and accompanying
polypin of beer.
And, of course, then the sun came back out.