Mersea Round the Island – as seen by three blondes in a boat

We woke up to the sun shining and set off early to Mersea, after much deliberation we decided to go the port way, a mistake as the wind was very light and changeable. Harriet Mays had kindly agreed to set off with us to help us across the start line and we were lucky to have George Barber and Will Porter on hand to help us with launch. George pushed us off one minute before 10.15 and we headed towards the start line, over half an hour later we finally managed to cross the line after getting tangled in a buoy rope and going backwards with the tide. We made good progress through the moorings and round to the beach. A little way along the beach and, after a wave from Derek and Ade in Merganser, the wind dropped and changed and we make no progress for half an hour or so. George and Will passed us so we decided to head further out into the river and we started to make progress again. We were soon passed by George Rodgers and Jilly who were flying their blue spinnaker. Ian Keen and Jonathon Brooks passed us just before Cudmore Grove. We rounded the head of the island and headed towards the Strood, the winds were getting better and we were making fair progress, although it was a bit touch and go whether we would actually make it to the Strood without getting turned back. We made good time down the Pyfleet Channel and were so pleased to see the road, Sarah Porter sailed straight onto the waiting trailer. Kevin Barber and Adrian Mays raced us across the road, and within a matter of a minute we were back on the water. From then on was the most hair raising time, we had problems with our rudder and lost steering. The wind had picked up considerably (for us novices), but we soon crossed the finish line, avoiding all the moored boats and managing not to capsize. When the gun went off there was a lot of cheering from the Blondes and we were happy to see George and Will on the hard waiting with our trailer. We had made it, after some hard training on some very windy days, lots and lots of capsizing and a fair amount of screaming, but we would have never been able to complete this challenge without the help of so many people, George, Harriet, Archie, Charlie, Liz, Kevin, Martin, Adrian, Terry, Derek and all of our families for coming out week after week to help us, and to keep us safe. Our placing was 110th but we were so pleased to actually complete this Race. After a couple of days rest Sarah Porter and Sarah Barber will be having a go at the Legerton Cup on Sunday and Monday, one blonde down as Carol will be on a lilo somewhere.

Three Blondes in a boat - Round the Island 2013