Skinner's Tuesday Points, 06.05.14

The sky was completely covered by low grey clouds and they thickened and darkened all through the evening being pushed by a stiff westerly. Phil Slater the OOD anchored the committee boat on the eastern side of the Roads below the Water Tower.

General KhaosQ class started first and sailing south they stayed close to the shore on starboard to avoid the flooding tide so that when forced to tack from the beach they did not stay long on the port tack. On some boats crews could be seen sitting out to windward trying to keep the boat level. Boat speed varied so that it quickly became a procession and as soon as possible they beat past Pendennis Point to go across the bay to Maenporth the windward turning mark. In the bay they felt the full force of the wind with white water making them glad that they were flying number two or three genoas smaller and heavier than their number ones. Jackdaw was in the lead pointing high and footing fast going towards the elusive mark. Suddenly the luff of the mainsail crumpled and the crew realised that the main halyard had parted at the mast head. Although made of one of the modern light and very strong materials the high tension had proved to be too much and the thought of hauling a crew member fifty four feet up the mast in those conditions meant that their race was over. No one was hurt so that although disappointed, spirits remained high, and they all wanted the repairs made as soon as possible in order to be ready for the next race. From deck level the shining sea can make it difficult to spot a small buoy against a dull rocky background and this left the rest of the fleet the job of finding the mark, but they could not because it was not there but a friendly crab pot was nearby and so the leader turned that, hoisted the number three spinnaker and flew off downwind towards Pendennis Point. The others followed suit although one managed to pass it in the wrong direction! but they all liked rolling down wind across the bay. General Khaos set their new heavy spinnaker which set very well.

Following fleets stayed in the Roads where they close reached south and then tacked and full reached back with some under genoas while those who flew their spinnakers had the pole hard on the forestay. On board Tresillian, after casting off, they quickly realised that the number one genoa was far too big and vulnerable so that they changed down to their number two which was clearly the right decision, but it did make them nearly two minutes late for the gun. The correct headsail worked because they caught up one boat before the first mark and they were third over the line at the finish.

PixyOne lonely dark green Sunbeam stood off from the St Mawes shore to come to the centre of the Roads where they tacked onto starboard to approach the Governor. Once or twice, as they neared the buoy they were hit by a strong gust which heeled them right over showing a large area of dark red antifouling but Lyulph Hesling kept going riding the gusts well. From the clubhouse it was interesting to watch the finishers. As they approached the line the wind speed eased because of protection from the town but every now and then a powerful gust would break through and heel any boat in the way. Atalanta crossed the line close to the quay and then they were hit by a gust and the mast and rigging just missed the granite wall. In U class Mary Boon and Quicksilver Mary Boon and Quicksilverwere neck and neck as they came up the harbour with the former to windward and just ahead, they eased off for the final reach and fifty metres from the line Quicksilver caught a gust accelerated and crossed the line one second ahead. Geoff Davies skipper of Scorpion, told me that he has entered for the European Half Ton Cup to be held in July at St Quay Portrieux between St Brieuc and Paimpol on the north Brittany coast so that he is using our racing as training for the event.

Surprisingly the rain held off and everyone came into the clubhouse pleased with good courses and exciting racing but the sail trimmers were glad of the leather palmed gloves.

Harold Martin