We did wonder if they did Halloween in Dresden as we packed our suitcases and headed off to the airport for the Elbepokal.

Well everything else was sorted out finally, even though the three coxless quads had morphed into 3 coxed gigs at the last minute, as they had no opposition. The eight was still entered in the same event as we had asked for all those months before, thanks to the efforts of Richard Harandon.

Tees people had travelled from various airports, ports and train stations, to converge on the Dresdner Ruderverein for a practice outing on the Friday afternoon before the event – that’s when you get that first sight of the river, the boathouse and of course the boats, boy there was a massive run on the Elbe.

Nothing ever goes quite to plan, so the practice outing was with only one gig and we swapped around and coxed ourselves as they had no coxes either! The eight fared better to begin with as they had an Empacher to use – however an excursion close to the bank led to the loss of the fin. There followed some good Germanic diplomatic work by Paul Still and Richard Harandon, and the net result was a fin was fitted the next morning.

The day of the race dawned clear and bright, and moved to positively warm throughout the day. We found our new coxes, who were students and well versed in the routes and rules of the river. Some slight misunderstandings on the crew start times did not dim a wonderful afternoon or racing. The eight got somewhat swamped by a safety launch, but managed to stay away from the paddle steamers and other craft plying their trade.

Results? Of course there were results, but it didn’t really matter after such a great days sport on the Elbe.

Memories of Janet, Tony, Ashley and Richard Harandon sculling in their socks as they were verboten from using shoes in the boat, even though it had no shoes; tales of Bense doing 150 MPH in his hairdressers car on the autobahn , just because it was there, and then there was the wonderful china in the city museum superb pigs knuckle and ice cold pilsner made for a perfect visit.

A wonderful event, on a great river in a fantastic setting, but we never go back to the same event again and so it’s on to pastures new for 2016, but where will it be?