Wonderful feedback from the EAORA Prizegivng

Posted: Tuesday, 7th November 2017

A Curtain Call for Maverick

The close of the sailing season is marked by award banquets, an opportunity to relax off the water with rivals and friends and mark the top performances over the season. This season we were flattered and honoured by an invitation to attend the 68th East Anglian Offshore Racing Association (EAORA) banquet at the lovely Royal Burnham Yacht Club, duly noting the dress code of “Blazers and Frocks”. I took dibs on the blazer before Ken Parsons, who sadly declined to attend in a fetching frock and instead arrived in a rather stylish suit. Lest anyone think I am making this up, I offer photographic evidence of ‘Sir Kenneth’ in said stylish suit and tie.

Over the last several seasons we have been one of the few non-EAORA boats to participate in the storied East Coast Race, and we have regularly regaled our Dutch double handed brothers and sisters (and faithful readers) about idyllic stays in Burnham-on-Crouch and West Mersea, tactically challenging races, and the warm welcome and quirky charm of the EAORA fleet.

Mentioning West Mersea or Burnham to the sometimes self-important London-based and south coast sailors and you might get an arched eyebrow and an understated but condescending comment about Essex and the East. It was a land of North Sea traders and smugglers, the last seat of hard-headed Saxons, late to assimilate in Britain and still a proudly different place. Essex Girls are caricatured the South as slightly over-the-top, innocent yet alluring young things, but like the Dutch characterizations of Belgians, it also stems from an underlying fascination and more than a bit of stiff-lipped envy.

The EAORA reflects the region -- close-knit, welcoming all sorts of boats and personalities, non-judgmental, still highly competitive but without unnecessary angst or agro -- and always able to organize a fine party at the end of a race. The winning boat hoists the trophy, but the last boat in is also celebrated. The fleet boasts a boat named ‘Woozle Hunter’ – a cute little boat with a Pooh Bear logo -- that has won the coveted North Sea Race, but has also plugged along in foul weather and finished races at the tail end. We’ve crossed paths with the Woozles during races and serendipitously during deliveries, mingled with them after races, and win or not they bring the same humour and high spirits dockside.

This evening Ken and I walked to podium one last time on behalf of Maverick, to receive the EAORA Double handed Award. The prize is primarily based on our double handed win in the East Coast Race, and our results against the crewed EAORA boats in the North Sea Race, but we also take it as a tip of the hat to our rewarding participation in EAORA races over the last three years, and our obvious enjoyment racing and hanging with this engaging cast of characters -- and friends.

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