The last three boats to start in this year's Carrow Cup Race in Norwich on 11th December were a Norfolk Mussel boat named Ethel Maud, Mr Fisher a Lynn cockle boat and the Salter Skiff Osprey.
Following more than a week of freezing temperatures, Saturday dawned with clear skies and an air temperature of 7 deg C. Quite a relief for all participants in the event.
Norwich Rowing Club organises this annual race for a trophy first presented in 1813, six years before the first Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
This year "traditional" boats were invited to join in with the large fleet of racing fours, quads and doubles. Traditional, on this occasion, being defined as boats with fixed seats and no riggers. The Norfolk Skiff Club offered a prize for the fastest traditional boat to complete the 3500 metre course on handicap.
The handicap system used bears some simlarity with the Duckworth-Lewis Formula, being completely reliable, but impossible to explain.
The starting line for the race was at Pull's Ferry, in the centre of Norwich and almost under the shadow of the cathedral spire. Shortly after 12.30 the starter gave the signal for the first boat to go. Boats then started at ten second intervals until only the last three, the traditional boats, were left.
Mr Fisher was next to start and made good speed in persuit of the faster boats. Ethel Maud followed and Osprey brought up the rear. There was a long way to go, but all the crews worked at their oars as the boats negotiated the Foundry Bridge. Past the Hotel Nelson, Osprey was making ground on Ethel Maud and an attempt to overtake lead to a clash of blades and a close encounter with some moored boats. By Carrow Bridge Osprey had overtaken Ethel Maud, but Mr Fisher appeared to be pulling away.
Mr Fisher was first to cross the finishing line followed by Osprey and Ethel Maud. The times were:
Mr Fisher 28mins 03 secs (corrected time 21mins 36 secs), Osprey 29 mins 22 secs (corrected time 22 mins 19 secs), Ethel Maud 32 mins 43 secs (corrected time 23 mins 53 secs)
Mr Fisher was awarded the Norfolk Skiff Club prize, which Mark Beck on behalf of his crew received from David Bolton of the Norwich Rowing Club at the prize giving ceremony, which brought a most enjoyable event to its conclusion.