Hine Downing series, 15/07/14

Bright sun, light fickle breezes and a very high tide reaching 5.5 metres at 8.30 pm gave challenges to helms and crew for the whole evening of the sixth race of the Hine Downing series. There were two unusual races, the large working boats had their helmswomen's race and G class had another of their backwards races where they start on the club line and go up the Penryn River as far as Ocean BMW and return.

As OOD for G class I chose the second length race because not only was the wind constantly changing direction but it varied in strength and I doubted that it would last enough to finish the longest course. Checking the start and finish is not easy because there are sail numbers 1 and 01 and 7, Z7 and 67 so that spotting and identifying each boat has to be done carefully. There was a clean crowded start as the seven boats bunched at the far end of the line seeking advantage over the others but also avoiding the two non-racing boats who pottered down river and crossed the line at the same time, in the opposite direction. Kathleen started in the lead but during the race Magpie of Mylor and finally Dragonfly took over to hold it and cross the line nearly a minute ahead but not enough to win on handicap. On board Clementine who came a gallant seventh the owner was heard to blame the anti-fouling, of the wrong sort, for his boat's slow progress.

After the finish on the village quay I was asked whether parallax on our part might have caused a mis-reading of the finish and did we need to borrow Hawkeye from Wimbledon to confirm or condemn our decisions. I reject these comments and I stand by the Royal Navy crew member who actually sounded the finishing hooter, he is a regular crew on Jackdaw, perhaps the fastest boat racing at the moment so I am sure that the speed of G class would not confuse him.

Out in the Roads the crew of Excelle profited from the absence of one crew member and they said that the evening was so good that they almost forgot that they were racing and they excitedly reported the flock of terns feeding on a shoal of mackerel fry and they still won their class.

On board Hawk they worked hard in the light airs to catch up with their handicap but unfortunately for them the Sigmas did even better. In W class Sweet Friday lead on the starting leg and turned the windward mark first but off the wind Amneris went away and left them far behind. In V class Audrey crossed the line well ahead of the rest of the fleet who came up the harbour chasing but failing to catch up with V19. In U class with eleven starters, the line was crowded and Gap Year and Aurora were upwind of Deep Purple but he got through them before reaching the Governor but constant wind shifts meant that the lead changed four times. Wilkie chased Deep Purple over to the docks and it paid off because they lead the way home.

In B class there were some close encounters, when Victory luffed up, Grace gave way and lost a place to Rita but after a long struggle they caught up an overtook to cross the line nearly a minute and a half in the lead. There was an unresolved dispute as to whether Florence from St Mawes was helmed a lady or not.

The close racing and shifting warm breeze gave excellent sport and the major problem was in the Ops room afterwards, the stand in computer operator had difficulty in sorting out the results, but he succeeded in the end.

Harold Martin