With one of the least racy boats in existence - the 8ft 'Sea Pig', a rotund little lug rig, Mersea-built, wooden dinghy - the TM had a bit of a job on his hands getting all the way round the island in less than 24 hours, let alone the 6 or therabouts allowed. He opted (contrary to prevailing opinion amongst the rest of the fleet) to make the attempt in a clockwise direction.
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At the end of the sea wall path, I handed IM over to a friend, who whisked her away by car, leaving me to trek the couple of miles back to West Mersea with the by then rather exhausted dog (it was a very hot day) and pick up my trusty bike (which is not a mountain bike but a sedate 1964-vintage Triumph with a basket on the front, so strictly for roads, not sea walls).
Whereupon I zoomed back down to the Strood to join the assembled throng in watching other boats being lifted across at high water and take a few pictures.
And thence to East Mersea to see if I could spot the Sea Pig emerging from the River Colne. After a longish wait - during which I retraced my tracks to the East Mersea Village Shop to buy an ice-cream, and then had a little post-snack snooze at Fen Farm - a small black dot with a red dot on top hoved into view at the extremity of my camera's zoom facility, and I watched as it tacked its way, painfully slowly, as it seemed, towards the beach.
The wind had all but disappeared. And sporting a sail the size of a tea-towel atop a boat as hydrodynamic as a washing-up bowl, is not the best method of harnessing every last bit of available wind-power. So, just off Fen Farm, out came the oars, and Sea Pig's skipper, mindful of bending every rule of the race well beyond breaking point, rowed his vessel the remaining 5 miles home.
And still missed the cut-off time by 15 minutes!
Oh well. Still a better result than last year. Luckily, it was all hugely enjoyable, if a little tiring (for followers as well as for rowers).