Archive for the ‘Cholsey Classics’ Category

Cholsey Classics 2013

Monday, September 9th, 2013
Alex takes aim

Alex takes aim

Selma wins a Massive Cup!

Selma wins a Massive Cup!

Jack takes a Dive!

Jack takes a Dive!

Hamish Wins a Duck

Hamish Wins a Duck

Megan wins a Trophy

Megan wins a Trophy

Jack is very worried as his mother falls in the Thames

Jack is very worried as his mother falls in the Thames

Rowing begins to get ugly

Rowing begins to get ugly

The Rowing Race degenerates

The Rowing Race degenerates

Ella and Anna keep warm

Ella and Anna keep warm

Alex goes for the final kill

Alex goes for the final kill

7th September 2013

Cholsey

Tim chases Alex before Alex decides to attack the Wallingford Rowers

Tim chases Alex before Alex decides to attack the Wallingford Rowers

The invite arrived on my mobile but this year the document was so lavish that my phone rejected it. The Cholsey Classics invite is notorious for arriving late so “pre-invites” are despatched to warn of the impending arrival of the real thing. One year I think the invite might be published after the event. I eventually found a computer powerful enough to download it and enjoyed reading the book like publication.
The Classics start on Friday evening but I have never quite been able to make it until the Saturday morning. My liver specialist will be grateful for this because the Friday session involves Nina’s cocktails and I’m not convinced my body could endure two nights of the Halsalls’ generosity.
Grit and I turned up at 1000 on Saturday morning with the little dinghy in tow. It was good to meet up with everyone and in particular those who I haven’t seen for a while. The Friday night meal had only just finished so after reviving coffee we headed off to the Thames to set up base camp and launch the racing machines.
Yunis has always been in charge of the racing with hands-on judging but, although looking in fine fettle, he has decided to relinquish the duty on the grounds of not being able to run fast enough to get to the finish line before the boats do. Grit has taken on the duty on umpiring. Her knowledge of the yacht racing rules is unbelievable.
The sailing racing took on a new twist with three heats but no final thus enabling the judges to choose a winner.

The picnic was laid out under the gazebi (which we decided must be the plural of gazebo) and so we got stuck into some serious eating before the rowing races started. Ella is a bit of a star rower and rows for Wallingford Rowing Club. Whether she will still be allowed back after Alex decided to attack one of their sculls is up for debate. Sean is also a top rower so we were going to be in for some exciting races. Sadly the rowing gradually degenerated and families battled each other with thrashing oars. Luckily our new umpire is a little short sighted and was totally unaware of the mayhem. The final race consisted of runners and swimmers racing against the rowing boats to win the Mara cup.

We managed the whole event without a drop of rain but as soon as we returned to Cholsey for the prize giving it began to pour down. It rained so hard that it forced its way right through the gazebo.

Prize giving as always starts with a spectacular assortment of tasty tapas titbits conjured up by Rosie, followed by lashings of barbequed meat (this time from Alex and Sam’s farm) and puddings and cheese. All, of course, served with appropriate drinks. The actual Prize Ceremony is a very formal affair opened by Mr John H introducing Yunus who was to give a succinct account of the days races in less than an hour. New medals were awarded for Friends of the Cholsey Classics and Old Friends of the Cholsey Classics or FOCCers and Old FOCCers as they are known. Grit helped Yunus with the awards and pointed out how much everyone was enjoying Yunus’ speech and although everyone hoped it could go on a bit longer it was her unfortunate task to suggest it drew to an end before daybreak.

In the early hours everyone retired to beds and scattered tents. Another successful Classics was over.

 

Paul relaxes before thrashing us in the rowing race

Paul relaxes before thrashing us in the rowing race

 

Cholsey Classics

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Grit grills Gudrun about not following the course after “Mast Abeam” had been shouted. Gudrun denies being in the race.

I’m not completely sure why Sam is about to hit Alex with her oar. If the judges spot it they will be disqualified , or maybe awarded a prize. Its always hard to tell.

The crew in the water seem to have lost their boat – did it sink or were they rammed?

Mara awards her new prize “The Mara Anything Goes Prize” to its first winner – Nina

Matilda accepts her prize from Yunus and Grit

Anna was awarded a prize but the frantic activity of the day had worn her out

Ella proudly receives her prize!

Grit and Yunus present the coveted awards

Rhonda and Sean pull ahead with real style

Sean and Olivia prepare for the Races

Matilda rows with great skill to win a coveted award

Level Pegging but the Halsalls soon drew ahead

The Halsalls take the lead in the family race. I’m not sure why Jack is looking so miserable!

A typical Father Daughter dialogue – “Please” “No” “Pleease” “No” “Pleeeease” “NO” “Pleeeeeease” “No”

 

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!

The Commodore and the Commodore’s Assistant look on as an incident unfolds. Grit isn’t happy that Rule 15.5 part B is being followed but Yunus doesn’t seem to care.