Choak's Pasty series, 03/06/14

As we cast off from the mooring the very light easterly increased and on beating down the harbour it got better. We thought that with this direction the committee boat would be anchored near Trefusis to give a beat for the first leg. We were surprised to see it anchored just south of the Governor but when we arrived the wind was already coming south of east.

Our first leg was to St Just which we felt we could reach without tacking if we started at the committee boat end of the line and so our approach was very lively. We crossed the line and then heard the starting signal quickly followed by a call from the OOD saying that we were over the line. We gybed and returned and after getting the all clear we set off again chasing all the others in our class. Four of them were up to windward in a tight bunch with a lot of disturbed air which we avoided and so we caught up.

Then we noticed that Mary Boon downwind of us were preparing to hoist their black and red spinnaker because the veering breeze had now become a reach rather than a beat. We hauled the halyard and sheets around under the boom and into the main hatch where the spinnaker was held in a bag and I put on the pole and attached the sheets. The spinnaker went up quickly but would not fill because of a “Wine Glass” half way up but after a struggle and much tugging on the luff it filled, the jib was dropped and we chased the now leading group.

At St Just, Bob Chapple in Wilkie gybed but found the still turning wind to be too shy so the genoa was raised and the spinnaker dropped. The rest of us learned from their lesson and so as each boat approached the buoy genoas were raised in preparation for the close fetch to Trefusis. The sky over Truro darkened and the clouds lowered but no rain fell and so we were happy to face south west where there was much more light. The smooth water and light airs favoured us in the ‘H’ boat and so we started to overtake some of the earlier starting boats in W class but also the leaders in our class.

Per ElisaAs we neared Trefusis a small tanker came past the Northern Arm but both the ship and the tug did not get in our way. When we came near the point the much altered Per Elisa in Q class passed our bow. After taking advice from the Italian designer Robbie Tregear has fitted a new keel and rudder and rig and in light airs the boat flies. With a modest narrow cut kevlar genoa the boat points high and foots very quickly through the water and this was shown when she left bigger and proven fast boats well behind to cross the line first and win on handicap.

We were lucky going up the harbour because the bigger faster ones in other classes did not interrupt our progress. Mike Swingler concentrated hard on the helm and we the crew were used as talking ballast to keep just the right angle of heel to maximise speed and at the line we were surprised and pleased to come first by well over a minute, particularly after our not good start.

beatin up the harbour It was realised after the finish that before the race we beat down the harbour against an easterly but that at the end of the evening we beat up the harbour in a westerly, the wind had veered through one hundred and eighty degrees but in spite of this the OOD had provided us all with good sport. After the race in the clubhouse I learnt that Jack Penty was visiting helmsman in Jackdaw and as he came second he will be welcomed again. On one boat which was under crewed. I was told that Nigel was not allowed out to play this week but we do hope he comes for the next race.

Disappointment was expressed that the Red Arrows didn't come this time because they could have enjoyed our spectacle of excellent racing. Before the start the courses are broadcast by the radio operator on the committee boat and this is an important job to spread information and receive messages from boats coming towards the starting zone from all directions. Jeanette is a very capable and experienced member of our support team but this week her job was made more difficult because not only did she operate the radio but she was asked to work as a spotter as well but then she was adopted by the OOD's very affectionate dog which kept on trying to put its paw into her half full wine glass. How people suffer in order to keep our sport going!

Harold Martin