It was an early start for Maria’s crew on the last Saturday in August – the sun had yet to rise when the crew assembled on the jetty for the sail round to West Mersea for the annual regatta.
Despite a stiff breeze on the nose, we were round in plenty of time for the 9am start and we headed for the line with one reef in the main and the number one jib up. Our start wasn’t great – a couple of the smaller smacks squeezed in to weather – and we spend much of the first board clawing to windward of Sunbeam, which was putting her new mainsail to good use.
However, we rounded the top mark first and set to shaking out the reef and setting the topsail for the downwind leg for a fast run down the Blackwater. We left the reef in for the next beat – a mistake which allowed Sunbeam to close the gap as Maria was hard-pressed in the increasing breeze. But after another downwind leg, followed by a beat up to the line, Maria crossed first, but not by enough to beat Sunbeam on corrected time so we finished with a second overall.
Returning to Brightlingsea by early afternoon, we assembled again to take the ‘Maria Express‘ – Paul’s fast RIB – round to Mersea for the prizegiving, where Paul collected the Gowen Ocean Trophy for the first smack to finish. The fireworks after the prizegiving rounded off another great day’s sailing!
Crew for the day was Paul, Andy, Crispin, Sally, Joe H, Tim, David and Joe.