A small group of us left the quay on the launch and on the trip I admired the Kevlar and Mylar sails on one of the waiting yachts but a crew member muttered disparagingly ‘Great gear but no idea’. So I wished them a happy race as I jumped on board Hecate where the skipper had the mainsail up and was ready. I cast off and heading down the harbour before a gentle westerly we hoisted the spinnaker to check that everything was in order. As we reached the Roads the wind went south and freshened to a steady force two. We were early and so we had time to check the line, which was set precisely. There were about twenty boats out under a grey sky with a cool breeze blowing directly from the first mark.
E class were the first to start in the second of the Skinner’s Tuesday point series with Jitterbug and Excelle making excellent starts. Excelle, the largest in the fleet staying on starboard went over to the eastern shore to avoid the strong incoming tide but Jitterbug, the small J24, who had made a text book start tacked onto port as soon as they were clear of the bows of the committee boat to cross right over to the Falmouth side.
Our fleet started ten minutes later and we made a good start at the pin end on starboard and we all went over to the St. Mawes shore. We short tacked up the shallow water but after half a dozen tacks we and Gap Year crossed over the Roads where the breeze seemed steadier. The Folkboat and the two GK24’s pointed higher than we did but we seemed to foot a little faster and so we kept up and exchanged positions. It was a good move because we arrived at Pendennis second well clear of those who had stayed on the eastern shore. As we approached the mark the wind eased and the tide strengthened and poor Amneris seemed to be trapped hardly moving in the strong current. We learnt the lesson and sailed well clear to get round and hoist the spinnaker to go downwind to the Vilt chasing Gap Year. On the beat back to the Governor the wind eased and the tide gained force and this allowed Wilkie and Popincoota to make up lost ground on us. At the last moment we got round Gap Year to turn the mark first, but then on the run in we sailed into a hole in the wind at the docks and the three boats overtook us and so finally we came a gallant fourth out of five.
In E class the same split occurred as Excelle seemed to get away from the rest but after a chase up the harbour Jitterbug crossed the line three seconds ahead but Geoff Davies in Scorpion won on handicap.
In W class on board Incite the crew were told be silent so that the helmsman, Jack Penty could concentrate in the trying conditions, they said that they regarded him as the ‘Tide Whisperer’
In the clubhouse we all congratulated Jeanette from the Ops room on her thirty ninth birthday! We all enjoyed racing in the cool air but this sharpened our appetites and thirst. The barman was delighted to have sold a small barrel of Skinner’s (our sponsor!) and many bottles.
On board the committee boat technical problems made life difficult when a loose selection pinion in the gearbox was cured by some fine adjustment and a hard kick.