Skinner's Tuesday Points, 13.05.14

At the clubhouse a stiff north-westerly was coming down the river making the flags at the mast head crack and snap as the gusts hit them. There were two unusual flags flying which warned of shipping movements and a whole set of buoys off Trefusis Point laid by the Harbour Master from which we were banned. Hecate is moored just off the quay and once on board we hoisted the sails and cast off to run down the harbour to the starting area over by the St Mawes shore near the Waterloo mark. HecateThe lively breeze along the Penryn river followed us as we set off and so it was difficult to judge because it seemed to be changing to a more northerly direction as we manoeuvred among the other thirty boats, waiting for our start. The course was in group eight, the north westerlies, and the line from the committee boat was a south westerly to suit this choice of course but as time passed the wind went ever more northerly. By the time of our start the wind was now quite northerly and this gave a strong committee boat bias to the line but we arrived a little too early and we drifted down the line and later arrivals had a better position. Chris Gibb our timer did a fine job and as he did the final 'Three, Two, One' the signal sounded and we crossed first but well down wind of the other half dozen in our class. We kept on starboard moving well under the heavy number two jib and full main but at the Vilt we were well down the fleet. We bore away and hoisted the spinnaker from the bag in the main hatchway and I was a little concerned because I had organised the sail and helped attach the sheets and the halyard. It went up well with the skipper and crew working the sails and I helmed down wind. I was expecting the pole to be well forward and for us to reach towards Carricknath but the wind came more and more from the north and so we ran with the pole at ninety degrees to our course. I kept my eye on the masthead windex and the far yellow buoy and several times I had to sail by the lee to get below the mark. four I was aware of the danger of an inadvertent gybe but luck was on our side and we dropped the spinnaker in good time to avoid any last minute problems. Both sails were sheeted in and Mike retook the helm for the beat to the Governor. From the mark we stayed on starboard and crossed the mouth of the Roads just south of Black Rock and after clearing the reef we tacked onto port pointing at the next mark. We were doing well but the combination of a falling tide and the need to bear away under the stern of starboard boats in other fleets pushed down wind. A quick dog's leg was needed to round the buoy and then we bore away on a shy reach across to Castle and after passing the buoy we sheeted in and beat on a northerly course. We chased Mary Boon who had overtaken us on the previous leg with some slick spinnaker work. Near the rocky St Mawes shore we tacked onto starboard to begin the final beat up the harbour. As usual several fleets converge and at one stage we got into a duel with a large working boat but we soon broke away to get clean air.

Crane bargeWith no warning a general message from the OOD. Chris Bell informed us that all racing was cancelled because a heavily loaded barge carrying a crane was being towed through the finish line and it was escorted by several launches helping to keep the load under control in the stiff breeze and falling tide. The tugs secured the vast load to the Caldy buoy and the fleets with their jibs dropped made their way home. (Photo credit Kevin Moore.)

Afterwards in the clubhouse all the skippers reported that they were just on the point of taking the lead when racing was cancelled but one honest man, David Owens, said that he was on the point of getting into second place. It seemed that the problems were caused when the club was informed that the load was coming from the docks and they assumed that this meant Falmouth but the speaker meant Penryn docks and so a quick and correct decision was made. At least it did not rain on us!

Harold Martin