Sink or Swim
5th October 2002
"And you thought The Tideway was bad"
Neil Pickford (with a very small nod to Robert Service), October 2002
The Cygnet III crew, went out on the Rhine,
In a shiny blue Benrath Boat.
With a cox in the bow and a cox sat at 2,
And novice at 3 and at stroke.
Now your man Alan Cox, the cunning old fox,
Was given permission to steer.
So a full Cygnet crew, well what else can you do?
But spend Friday night out on the beer.
The race went OK, with a brief stop halfway,
To sort out a wobbly rigger.
The boat stayed bone dry, though Lord only knows why,
As the waves got increasingly bigger.
So now, close to the end and around the last bend,
Another boat hove into sight.
The Cygnets were faster, they caught and then passed her,
As they pushed on for home with delight.
The beer tent was calling, but the swell was appalling,
With a hundred yards left of the race.
Then a huge bow wave hit and Alan said "S**t!"
As the Rhine hit him in full in the face.
With the stern under water, they thought that they oughta,
Try to battle-on over the swell.
But the bows pointing skyward, this poor piece of plywood,
Didn't stand a cat's chance in hell.
The second wave struck and Alan said "F**k!"
"I think that we're going to sink"
And true to his word, she sunk like a turd,
As the crew floundered around in the drink.
On the bank the crowd's laugh turned into a gasp,
As a large barge bore down on the five.
Then everyone cheered as the lifeboat appeared
And hauled them aboard, still alive.
Amazing but true for our well moistened crew,
Is that they'd drifted down over the line.
So it wasn't a waste, they completed the race,
Although they didn't quite conquer the Rhine.