The 8am work shift, and then out went the shout of:

“To Mersea Island!”

Sunday was all about RACE DAY for WivGigs. It’s was the third leg of the Harker’s Yard Winter Series.

Crews from around the Estuary Wilds and beyond would be competing on the 3km circuit along the Blackwater.

I am learning that RACE DAY is all about preparation; a three hour lead up to a half hour workout with a dozen or so other crews.

The good ship Audacity was gently towed to the hard of West Mersea Sailing Club. We arrived in good time to launch her, and then have her moored ahead of the Women’s Race at midday.

View this post on Instagram

Mersea Island, Sunday morning. Waiting for water

A post shared by Jason Cobb (@jason_cobb_) on

A lot of sitting around and drinking hot cups of tea then followed.

This was my downfall.

Pre-race talk had me a little edgy. The Mersea leg was my first time rowing out on open waters.

The pancake stretch of Rowhedge to the Hythe this most certainly wasn’t.

View this post on Instagram

Almost race time, innit

A post shared by Jason Cobb (@jason_cobb_) on

We watched the Women’s Race from the shoreline, walking along the coast at a pace to catch up with the halfway buoy.

It soon became clear that it was very choppy out there.

Add in the uncertainties of the tide and it looked like rather hard work.

There wasn’t much time to ponder what I had signed up for.

As soon as the Audacity women had moored, there was a quick crew turnaround and we were on.

Oh dear.

The race was superbly organised, albeit for a little confusion over the starting instructions.

This was a mass start, rather than the timed Estuary send off of Rowhedge a couple of weeks earlier.

The countdown was something like”


…FIVE minutes to go!”

It made for an edgy experience as we tried to hold our line.

And then we were off.

It was a strong male crew representing WivGigs.

Plus Jason.


My main focus was to keep the rhythm, if not the strength of the lead stroke rower.

We navigated through the Buoy Zone (LOVE the Buoy Zone) and then around the halfway turn.

At one point I was rowing fresh air. The waves pushed my bow seat so high that I wasn’t making contact with the water.

Thanks for coming, etc.

We were never in this to win it. The senior crews of Brightlingsea and beyond have the Harker’s Yard series as their focus all season; WivGigs is more about the social.

A strong finish saw us complete the 3km circuit in a respectable time of under 25 minutes. We weren’t the last boat to take the buzzer on the line.

The mixed crew performed well for the third and final race. They were within the bunch all the way until over the finish line.

Back at base and it was all about the recuperation. I thawed out with more steaming hot mugs of team.

Anna cooked up a SLOP of a treat for the evening meal.

Remarkably we’re still dining out on the homegrown tomatoes of the summer.

I had the late, late work shift with the telly client, half pondering my booking on the 5:38 back to S Ldn in the morning.

Oh dear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *