With time and tide waiting for no man, this year’s popular Round Mersea Island Race took place on Saturday 2nd September, the weekend after its usual scheduling at the end of the celebratory Mersea Week.
The reason for the WMYC making a change to the usual format is to work with the tides. With High Water at 14.43 and a height of 5.7m, this was one of the highest of the year and perfect conditions for the race round the island covering over 14 nautical miles.
Over 60 competitors, from the very serious to those just looking for a day of fun, circumnavigated the island in their bid for the coconut trophy. Race tactics involved the hugely strategic decision as to which direction, clockwise or anti-clockwise, or to be more nautically correct, choosing to be a starboard or port rounding of the island. However, perhaps most important, was making sure you had plenty of friends and family ready to help you cross the Strood. With the road flooded, participants had to carry their craft to the other side of the causeway to begin once again the circumnavigation by water.
The day ended with a barbecue at the Yacht Club and the presentation of the prizes by Dan Insley, Partner at Streets Whittles Chartered Accountants, which has offices on the island and is the main sponsor of this major community event. Another prominent local business, Marinestore Chandlery, supported the Junior prizes.
Presiding over the prize-giving was WMYC Vice Commodore Bryan Gasson and the highlight was of course announcing the winners of the Coconut Trophy. Mortimer Mastin was presented with the award for third. Sonny Simpson came second with the general acknowledgement that he had “cleaned up” on the day as he was also presented with “Youngest Male Helm Finisher” and the “under 18 male” category prizes. The overall winner was Tim Wood, who has now won the trophy three times and whose crew was 17-year-old Connor Redfern. Special mention went to Sam Grout who went both ways round the island, a feat not achieved for a number of years and which prompted the Vice Commodore to comment that they had been “not even sure what the trophy looked like, it had been so long.” For other winners’ photos please visit www.streetswhittles.co.uk