Sailtech Spring Pursuit Series Sat 9th April 2016

Saturday morning brought a mixed bag of heavy showers, hail and snow flurries as the gusty NW wind funneled down the river. The Race Officer, Paul Jenkins, set the course for a Westerly wind as forecast and the wind was backing that way. It was an extremely low spring tide and crews had to use the Flushing Ferry Quay to get the launch to their boats.

Eight yachts took place in the second Sailtech sponsored pursuit race. Each yacht has its own start time according to handicap and 100 minutes racing, so in theory we should all finish together.

Sweet Friday, Len Cheshire, was first away followed 1 minute later by Ida, Mike Swingler's new to him Hawk 20. Trifle, Chris Jelliss, then followed some minutes later. The two GK24s, Wilkie, Bob Chapple and Kaimana, Nigel Rowe led the rest of the fleet – Tai Mo Shan, Neil Chamberlain, Minx, Charles Choak & Afrita, Andrew Laming.

The first round went from the club line to Castle Buoy rounding to starboard. Trifle put her spinnaker up by Caldy buoy and started to make gains. The wind was very shifty and gusty making the crew work hard keeping the boat upright and on course. Minx, Afrita and Tai Mo Shan also flew spinnakers and made inroads on the time deficit.

All the boats rounded Castle in the same start order and had a one sided beat back to the Governor buoy. On Trifle our luck was in as we were headed halfway along the leg. The crew got ready for a tack then the wind lifted us so we just managed to shoot the buoy. The next leg was to West Narrows on a dead run but too short to set kite. Then the long beat back to the club turning mark for round two.

From the turning mark the fleet had compressed. The course was West Narrows to port and finish. Trifle hoisted spinnaker and made ground on the two ahead. Looking back, four kites were hoisted and the chase was on.

The beat back to the finish saw place changes. Trifle overtook Ida who set sail for Trefusis point. Tai Mo Shan came up past Wilkie as did Minx. Trifle went on port tack toward Frigate buoy and was almost forced to tack. Tai Mo Shan tacked away and Trifle got a massive lift on port. A quick leg on starboard saw Trifle ahead of Tai Mo Shan. On the last short port reach to the finish Ti Mo Shan powered through under Trifle to take second place from Sweet Friday who was still a considerable way ahead leaving the Trifle in third place. Afrita retired from the race having made an error in sailing through the moorings.

The weather held for us with dry conditions. The crews went back to the club and warmed up with teas and cakes from Teresa Trenoweth. Thanks to Sue Clark for processing the results and opening the bar, Paul Jenkins for great racing and Giles the boatman for getting us all safely ashore.

Chris Jelliss