© LCOA/RHYC© Simon Haighton© David Marlow

Royal Harwich Preview

Daniel Watson - 14th June 2011

The 2011 Belle Isle Travellers Series continues at a pace, and this weekend it a cornerstone to the Lark's fixture list, with our annual trip to Royal Harwich Yacht Club on 18th/19th June.

The Royal Harwich Lark open is one of the few times we get to share an event with both the Fireflies and the National 12s. The combination of these three fleets, a load of marriages and lots of babies mean that over a third of the people in the club-house are related to each other in some way or other. Luckily the Brown-Brawn-Davey-Green-Gifford-etc... clan is extremely friendly and by the end of the weekend even those who arenít family will feel like they are.

On the water, the family rivalries are supplemented by some other more conventional competitive spirit and the racing is superb. The race officer Graham Ireland is a genius for finding intriguing, challenging and baffling routes round the river marks. He is also an inspirational if unintentional comedian and his briefings are in themselves sufficient reason to travel to this event.

Once on the water, the Orwell (named after the bridge that crosses it, which itself was named after the writer George) is a classic East Coast estuary. Those of you who read the preview for Waldringfield will know that these rivers are to the world of sailing what Champagne is to the world of wine. The combination of tide, wind and sun make these tender and loving arms of the sea a delight to compete on. What is more, they are in effect a season long spa treatment. Having exfoliated on the sand of Waldringfield, Royal Harwich provides acres of mud laced with natural oils and salts to help your skin become soft and supple.

Ashore, the club is brilliantly friendly and despite its regal moniker not in the slightest bit stuffy. A huge lawn in front of the club provides space for frisbees, tents and lots of running around and as long as you donít mind Dougal blasting footballs at your children then it is superb place for families to relax before, after and during the sailing.

P.S. For those that havenít been before, Royal Harwich is not in Harwich, it is in Woolverstone. Registration from 9:30 on Saturday and first race at 11:00. Entry will be a very reasonable £20.