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G class Backwards Races

Mike Rangecroft, Miss Agnes

In the mid seventies, when G class was in its infancy at Flushing Sailing Club, the Backwards Race was conceived. In fact, the name is a misnomer, as it refers to sailing up the Penryn River, as opposed to racing in the Carrick Roads, and not sailing backwards, which is an art form all of its own! However, as I’m about to explain, Backwards plays a part in the story.

One Saturday afternoon, a particularly gloomy, misty, afternoon, I had just finished the race in my gaff sloop Miss Agnes which had an inboard engine in those days, with a variable pitch prop. I motored to an area adjacent to the clubhouse and dropped an anchor. Then to make sure the anchor took hold I put the engine astern, once satisfied, I went to put the engine in neutral by altering the pitch of the prop. However it was stuck in the astern position, so I stopped the engine and eager to join my fellow shipmates in the bar, left things as they were.

The racing that day was of particular significance to the club as all classes were celebrating a milestone date in its history, so light refreshments continued longer than usual. In fact due to the misty, moist weather and the number of sailors, the windows were all steamed up.

When things were winding up and we had celebrated in exuberant style, I bade farewell and proceeded out to my boat, when it struck me that I hadn’t addressed my little mechanical problem.

Engineering not being my strong point, I thought, what the hell, with the windows steamed of the club misted up, no-one will notice, I’ll motor backwards to my mooring at Trevissome, up the Penryn River.

However, unbeknown to me, alert G class members watched as I meandered stern first up the river. So when we all met up on the following Tuesday, I thought my escapade had gone unnoticed, but not so, and I had to endure a certain amount of mickey taking.

To mark the occasion a new race was devised up the Penryn River and back, not backwards, but only in name. This race has become a series and is considered an important part in our annual programme and in the proud history of G class racing at Flushing Sailing Club.

burgee
starting

At the start

turning point

turning mark

to Penryn

up the Penryn River

spinnaker

Miss Agnes