A beautiful hot summer day - you may have thought that you were in Venice or somewhere in Spain, but the the flag post onshore said otherwise, with Erith Yacht Club’s pennant flying high to remind all that today was the 1st Foote-Mitchell race day, and so at 11:30 the race started as planned, with two yachts participating, and many more joining in spirit - or at least wished they did.

Fighting the tide and beating all the way to Dagenham with a gentle breeze pushing the determined sailors and their boats to the windward mark, the "bubbler", only to enjoy a smooth sail back with the tide. Beating all the way up and thanking the tide for the lift back.

A robust and adamant start from Valencia with its newest addition, their secret weapon so to speak: It’s new crew John the competitive, meant that the yacht began the race as favourites’ and confirming its winning reputation and good starts.

But Marlin was keen too, with its experienced helm, Nick, and his two novice crews, Roger and Wass, were not far behind, and with their joyful camaraderie offsetting what they lacked in experience and knowledge - who can beat them?! and soon they made gains, almost caught up with Valencia who was slowed down by a car ferry manoeuvring in the channel, and having to give way to a tall ship. But it’s true, Valencia’s lead on Marlin was all but lost; a prompt shout from the latter’s crew and the quick thinking of its helm led to a swift tack and change of course, and so Marlin made gains, and the hopes of winning the race reached its zenith and hit the Astrid and beyond...

Then came the moment of truth, passing the farthest marker to port, turning back and sailing down; was the wind at its fairest? Perhaps not, but a master stroke from Marlin’s helm elected to let the kicker out a bit more, did Valencia do this too? It wasn’t clear, perhaps they did so afterwards, too little too late? could their lateness be their biggest mistake and cost them the race? Marlin’s crew of this were sure!

And so, both yachts made it to the finishing line, Marlin contemplating if they have done enough to win it or not, and Valencia kicking themselves for not letting the kicker out a little bit earlier!

57’ seconds was all that separated the two teams of spirited helms and crews, a close win was celebrated by gracious winners, and gallantly conceded by an appreciative second; and yes Valencia won the race, and all the sailors won the coveted prize: a great sail in company of old and new friends, and the ultimate reward was served too: a well deserved drink at the Club’s welcoming bar afterwards, served by the one and only Mary.

Position Boat name Crew PY Finish Time Elapsed Time Corrected Time
1 Valencia Alan / Jan / John 961 12:21:16 1:21:16 1:24:33
2 Marlin Nick / Wass / Roger 1055 12:30:13 1:30:13 1:25:30