Perfect Lady 9 2009
From Three Rivers Race
River Cruiser: Perfect Lady 9 (2009)
Posted by Mat Gravener, 31st May, 2009
Well, what another cracking 3 Rivers. Somehow or other we got the perfect start at 12.05, lots of friends urging us on and glorious weather. Our first call was the Ant, close hauled on starboard, our friends on another boat were coming the other way and for some reason put themselves between us and the bank, one almighty bang. PL’s rubbing strake got slightly scratched. Unfortunately they ended up with a lot of splintered wood in their topsides, not to mention what the quay heading had done to the other side. Fortunately no one injured. South Walsham next, but instead of the usual sailing onto the broad we rounded a buoy down Fleet dyke, which avoided the normal congestion at the entrance.
We were soon back on the Bure and making good progress, long steady tacks up to Thurne Mouth then on to Potter (Nice to see you Maxine. Sorry it was brief!). Plenty of boats at the bridge, but we were fortunate in dropping the mast underway and going straight through whilst others preferred to moor for this operation.
Another stunning sail up to Hickling, what a wonderful area, particular highlights including holding off one of the top river cruisers for most of the sail back down Heigham sound, but more worrying noticing the top shroud wire was slowly parting!! Thinking back we may have tangled rigging with the incident on the Ant. The mast was bending alarmingly, so rigged up an additional line, every gust that hit we looked nervously up the mast!
Shot through Potter then a run and reach in company with another boat in our start, they eventually pulled away although we caught up during the mast lowering at Acle but lost them again during the sail to Stracey.
After rounding the lower Bure buoy made slow progress back upriver, just tacking up against the tide, caught up with a number of boats around Stokesby and the boat that had pulled away. Just managed to stay out the tide and passed them, which made all the difference to our final placing.
Back at Acle bridge we had our work cut out paddling under the bridge, struggled for around ten minutes moving one step forward, two steps back. Absolutely knackered by the time we came alongside a cruiser on the port bank. With rig back up it was time to head home. Paul had prepared a rather nice and unusual mild curry flavoured stew, which was hot and very welcoming. it had turned rather chilling during the early evening. With the tide under us and a constant breeze made good time to Thurne Mouth.
For the first time ever we did actually keep moving, due to the tide, but made painfully slow progress along the tree lined river close to Ranworth. Each crew member managed an hour or so sleep.
We eventually crossed the line a couple of seconds behind another of our starters at 6.31am, a personal best for me. A very big thank you to all those who organised this event, the holidaymakers who proved very patient and understanding, and all those who were out there spectating/supporting and making lots of noise!!
Roll on next year, cheers
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