Of all the world’s Classic Yacht Races, The Cholsey Classics, is generally regarded as the “Classic of all Classics”.
It is the one event that every Classic Skipper dreams of being selected for, to helm their, or their master’s vessel around the tortuous courses set up by the Cholsey Race Committee. Many have to make do with the Antigua Classics or the Risor Wooden Boat Festival but they all strive to gain entry to the highly selective Cholsey Classics. Now in its tenth year, the organisation is a well oiled machine, a very well oiled machine. This year we were blessed with spectacular weather which was to promise some dramatic racing. With wind speeds in excess of 2 kn it was all the skippers could do to prevent broaching in downwind leg. Remarkably the first race passed off without major incident but the next sailing race saw some athletic tiller waggling from Peter Mercer (yes you recognised the name – Sumara’s Diversity Officer) which saw him race ahead only to realise that Yunus had spontaneously shortened the course leaving him no chance of achieving the lifetime dream of top prize. Grit Eckert had been appointed Commodore’s Assistant, a stroke of genius by John Halsall to maximize the skills available to the Cholsey Judging Panel. Grit, however, was unaware of Rule 174B: 2005 which allows the Commodore to make spontaneous decisions regarding the length of the course, or any other matter that he feels fit. Once Grit was made aware of this bye-law the adjudication proceeded smoothly.
This year the rowing races saw the introduction of the “Extra Paddle Rule” and in future I feel we may see more developments regarding oar lengths and numbers available. The Children are proving to be excellent rowers. Ella is a true rower of those long thin boats that we often like to ram but she took up the challenge like all the rest of the team to propel these beautiful craft at speeds never before witnessed. As usual the Cholsey Classics excelled with the catering and a fine lunch was provided for all the athletes.
The Prize Giving was held in the evening. The Gala dinner commenced with Rosie’s Bits sponsored by Glossip Garden Centre for which we are indebted. In previous years commercial sponsorship has been frowned upon but it has been agreed that it provides a useful revenue stream so long as subliminal advertising is not used in any way whatsoever. After the delicious tit bits we came to the highlight of the evening – The Race Results and Official Prize Giving. There being no official protests lodged, Yunus came succinctly to the point and after 30 minutes four pansies for £1.00 we came to the first award.
Grit and Yunus handed out the treasured cups and the athletes gave some truly emotional speeches.
The Official Race Results will will posted up on the usual websites as always.
Once the prizes were awarded, the Chefs presented us with a selection of food cooked on an amazing paella cooker available online at Glossip Garden Centre for just £678.00 ex vat, so delicious that I am unable to find the words capable of portraying it’s yummyness.
The evening was a huge sucess and after a good nights sleep the team were presented with breakfast under the shade of a gazebo. The althletes disbanded by lunchtime ready to partake in the victory parade – details of which are to be found on the Glossip Garden Centre’s website where you can also browse and excellent range of tomato fertilisers.
All the competitors and spectators are indebted to our hosts who, as always, provide a day to remember. Selma and John and all the Halsalls in particular need special thanks but Rosies nibbles always deserve a special mention. Yunus and Grit ensured an unfair playing field and entertaining prize giving and everyone did their bit to help including all the children who were just fun and no trouble!