Orienteering on the Reservoir

Mike Summers writes:

A brisk westerly greeted us on Saturday morning and the crews of 10 dinghies (six double handers, 4 single handers) queued up to collect their map and instructions. 10 one pint milk bottles had been placed around the reservoir, 8 in the water and two on land, each with a word inscribed on it in indelible ink. The map told you (roughly) where the bottles were moored or tied to tree;, the task was to visit each one and write down the word. The sequence was not defined, the direction of the wind might lead you to start in one direction or another so it was satisfying to see that the participants all set off in different directions.

The instructions and map were printed on paper and sealed in a plastic zip-lock bag with a pencil to keep it dry. That was the plan. One or two crews managed to keep theirs safe but there were a few who came back with a bag of pulp, using various methods to try to remember what they had found where. The single handers had the most difficulty, they were disadvantaged by not having anywhere dry in the boat to keep the paper and bag and not having a spare hand to write on it anyway. Fair play to them however they had a good try.

The words were the wedding anniversaries; paper, wood, china, pearl, silver etc. Each had a points value according to the number of years they celebrate. The scoring system was arcane, comprising elapsed time in minutes from push off to return to shore plus a score equal to the total of the number of years collected (eg. 25 for silve , 40 for ruby). Of course those who did not complete the course did not know the value of the bottles they had missed, so how many and which words were found had a big effect on the score.

The first boat back was Chris Brunsdon and Richard Williams in their L2000, they completed the course in 56 minutes with a perfect score. I am sorry to say the second and third boats are a bit of a haze to me now. Richard and Chris’ prize was a sailing yacht trophy contained in a milk bottle with the word “Gold” for a fiftieth anniversary written on it ‘cos that is what we are celebrating. Well done you two.

In the evening the barbecue was fired up and a bring-your-own food-to-cook-on-thebarbecue evening meal was enjoyed on the picnic benches outside while local band The Buffaloes set up in the clubroom. Suitably fed and watered, about 45 people for whom songs from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s seemed like only yesterday had a great evening of struttin’ their stuff on the dance floor.

A copy of Newsletter number 1 from 1966 is blu-tacked onto the glass of the Training Room. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be refreshing it with newsletters through the years, recording milestones in the club’s history. It’s interesting stuff.

Here’s to the next 50 years!