The first time I was introduced to racing in Burnham-on-Crouch on the east coast of England, it was a wonderful experience. My Beloved Brit was up early in the morning and down to the sailboat to join the rest of his crew. I packed up my camera and sketch book, and went out to watch.
I was told how to get the best vantage point to see the races. It meant a walk (remember that means hike it Brit speak) down the shore of the Crouch River along the high grassy banks.
I made my way to the end of the seawall in town…
and headed out along the walkway to where the town ends and the fields begin.
This is how it looks on a quiet day.
And this is race day.
The people gather by the river. They bring binoculars and snacks for the duration of the day of racing. This is serious business. There is much yelling and cheering for a favorite boat.
And across the water, you can hear the sailors screaming at each other and at other boats. They have no voices left by the end of the day.
At one heated moment a boat trying to position itself for the start of the race got stuck in the mud. You are not allowed to motor off. Everything is wind or man power. One of the young men stripped off his clothes and jumped over the side to push the boat free. The cheers went up from the crowd on the shore. “Well done! Give ‘er a push then!” Within minutes the boat was free. the young crew member was back on he boat and dressed in his dry clothes, and they were off. Such drama. Such fun.
I spent the day out on the banks with the crowds of fans…
then slowly, end of day, walked back to Burnham.
The pastel I made of the day hangs in our bedroom. I wake up to it every morning. Of course, MBB says his boat is first in the picture. I keep reminding him he was actually in 3rd place at that moment. But I’m sure he won the race.