After arriving back in Scarborough, a lot earlier than we expected, it seemed almost rude not to join in the fun of Scarborough Yacht Club’s North Sea Race, unfortunately Emma had prior commitments and so was unable to participate, so that left me feeling a tad guilty about planning a race without her, after all we had done every race for the past five years together, but a man has to do what a man has to do as they say.

With all the regular crew spoken for on other yachts, my first thoughts turned to our foredeck man, Murdy, who I know hadn’t committed himself to sail with anyone else, and took very little persuading to give it the thumbs up. A quick call to Fred confirmed he was busy on one of the Clipper yachts. It was then that I remembered I had just recently spent time with a man with a broken boat, who wouldn’t be doing much sailing for a while, namely Guy Waites and a quick text confirmed I could count him in.

Three of us, more than enough, so after a weekend at home, I set about stripping Ruffian of the extras needed for the RB&I (inflatable, outboard and everything else that would not be required) and provisioning up for the race. The plan was: we would do the race and after a night in Ijmuiden, return home.

The start went fairly well except when sailing to the turning mark, I felt I had baulked Vado, a stern look from the skipper, Steve Russell, confirmed my believes and so after two penalty turns we were playing catch up.

The race was without doubt the easiest North Sea crossing I have ever done, with no big winds, no big seas, no tactics involved, just sail the rhumb line from start to finish, as fast as you could, which is exactly what we did.

 Yachts crossed the finish line in just about handicap order, making Ruffian second, 44mins behind Athena, an IMX38 and only 25mins ahead of Revenge, which wasn’t enough to take second place. The winner on corrected time, once again was Larry Wilkinson in Tarka of Tees, Revenge 2nd and Ruffian 3rd

We spent the rest of the day socialising with the other crews, which gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to David and Peter Kitchen from Hartlepool sailing Athena, a yacht which Larry had told me the previous year would be doing the AZAB in 2011.

One of the most pleasing things about this years race, was the fact that most of the entrants managed to sail the course and the look and buzz of achievement in the marina after the finish. Only one thing spoiled the race for us, and that was the fact that we didn’t have time to join in the fantastic reception dinner, which the sponsor ( Boyes Stores) puts on.

We set off the next day for the return trip, which once again, was a very pleasant North Sea crossing.