FSC/RCYC Pursuit series, 16/9/14

Grace, Rita and VictoryA hazy blue mist lay over the flat water as a good force three easterly gave adequate power for a long beat over to the St. Mawes shore. Bob Chapple, the OOD had to make up a course to mix beating, running and reaching and it had to be long enough to give the later starters a chance of catching up but it had to be short enough to finish soon after seven thirty when dusk fell. No problem, but he succeeded on all counts and the competitors enjoyed good sport as well. Magpie of Mylor from G class was the first starter who beat down the harbour chased by one other boat but not far behind Gap Year could be seen coming away from the line. As these started to cross the Roads a mixed group followed including four large working boats, Rita was in the lead followed by Grace, Victory, Cousin Jack and Cousin Jinny. Two M class catamarans, Cornish Meadow and Firefly the last to start, were still coming round from Mylor as this group left Trefusis behind. As the leaders disappeared going towards Carricknath a very mixed fleet of eighteen different boats followed them. Some came close in by the docks but others were well over on the far side. The leaders reappeared and after rounding South Narrows they ran down wind to the Governor while the big Kevlar sailed late starters were crossing their path while still on the beat. I could see Per Elisa beating fast through the flat water while nearby Nitro, under spinnaker and Sunbeam Ivy with kitty gear out ran down wind chased by Rita, Macavity, Encore, Victory and Scorpion who dropped their spinnaker at the last moment and gybed at the mark sheeted in and beat east once again. Three big late starters charged downwind overtaking both the Cousins. On board the swift moving Jackdaw as they were raising the spinnaker the pole uphaul snapped and so the pole crashed onto the deck. Two crewman, Tony and James worked hard to repair the damage, raise the pole and complete the hoist but immediately they had to drop and re-pack the sail because they were at the end of that too short leg of the course.

Jaguar and FireflyFrom the clubhouse we could all see Gap Year running past the docks with the jib goose-winged and they crossed the line to win while the rest of the fleet were still near the Eastern Arm. The bigger faster boats raced down the harbour overtaking many smaller boats, Ron Jones in Deep Purple was passed only yards from the line to finish fourth behind Pascoes Jaguar and Firefly who raced neck and neck but because the monohull was upwind the multihull could not break through so at the last moment it surged round the stern and tried to overtake to windward with both crossing the hardly a second apart only feet from the end of the quay, a really spectacular finish. Popincoota was reaching to the line only a hundred yards away when Camp Freddy on one side and Per Elisa on the other both shot past leaving him trailing. Popincoota pipped There were many other close finishes which made a very exciting view for us and hard work for the Ops room staff who had to be wide awake to get the right result. These finishes were a tribute to the skill of Mike Swingler who organised the starting times and Bob Chapple for choosing the course.

Harold Martin