Down but not out! 2017 off with a bang!
Down but not out was the phrase for New Years day as after a frustrating start to the morning with some last minute cancellations and the editor managing to put a hole in his foot after stepping on a laptop lead! A few phone calls, texts messages and 1 plaster and the plans were back on track.
With T-shirts donned and spirits lifted the Xtreme team of Chris Biggs, Terri Biggs, Mari-ann Clarke and myself (Marcus) got the day underway. BBQ roaring, rafters registered, bouncy castle bouncing and with last minute assistance from Jackie Clarke faces painted.
4 rafts entered the race after a no show from the military teams, after which we were informed there may have been an exercise on resulting in them unable to make it. Not to worry as this meant every team entered was in the running to win a prize. HMS Bloaty Jo the most confident team with HMS Dewalt (pictured) looking the most shakey at the start. The Duffers clad in Simpsons attire looked the part and the Pharos (not the ship otherwise that's just unfair!) making up the last team.
The harbour, bustling with boats, jet skis, launches, ribs and yachts looked like a mad episode of wind in the willows as the rafters lined up on the starting line. The start line could have been mistaken for horses jostling and vying for the best position. After communications with the safety boats and some gentle pushing and shoving the race started with the FIC Speedwell blowing its horn.
As expected HMS Bloaty Jo steamed off ahead with HMS Dewalt left lagging. HMS Bloaty Jo never relented and raced all the way to the finish line in 21 minutes, even though they celebrated a tad early having not actually crossed the line! But with no one in touch they crossed the line as they came ashore. The Duffers managed to pull away from the others and finished second with Pharos in 3rd having valiantly closing the gap. The less said about HMS Dewalt the better as they broke up midway through the race with Frank O'Sullivan drifting away from the raft on a pontoon, much like Wilson in Castaway. But I must give HMS Dewalt their due as they valiantly pushed on with 2 crew members to complete the race and looked like an Italian Gondalar team.
With the race over and the sun officially shining teams and spectators made their way to the Narrows to carry on the party and enjoy drink and live music from The Pushers and Zim Harmonies as well as Gino....sorry Rafa Sotamayor (and his little sidekick on drums). BBQ food went down a treat as the Xtreme team made a killing to help raise much needed funds for the club to purchase equipment. Zim Harmonies jeered up the crowd with amazing harmonies and traditional dancing and The Pushers getting the feet tapping and the hands clapping to some classics as well as the latest music. The Narrows Bar team were in full swing and provided food and drink for the hungry and thirsty party goers.
£511.34 raised on the day with the team just exceeding the target of £500, so a massive thank you to the team for their efforts on the day and to all those that provided donations and support. Check out the raft race page on here for the list of companies that helped who without we would not have had the day we did. This little community continues to impress.
With the music shutting down, the bouncy castle deflating, the last hot dog being sold and the crowd dispersing a tired and Xtreme team were very happy with the result and looked forward to the next event. For me, well it was a much needed foot massage, after sun lotion applied and 1 cold beer to celebrate the rest of the year ahead.
Job well done.
Happy New Year to one and all!