A clear sky and a bright sun cheered up the view but a cold brisk south easterly breeze churned up the harbour so that it was a lumpy ride to the committee boat anchored off Trefusis. On board Hecate it took us some time to read the course flags and we thought it strange that the bigger faster boats were to sail in the Roads and into St Mawes while our course was out across the bay to the Gyllyngvase (GY, aka Gylly Beach Cafe) mark and back via Carricknath (CN, aka SKB Sails).
We thought that we were early for the signal but we had a good start when most of the class sailed North-East on starboard we went South-East on port. We neared the first mark and realised that we had found the better course because by Waterloo (W, Rustler Yachts) only one boat was ahead of us but they tacked and went around West Narrows (WN), but they soon realised their mistake and followed and overtook us. At Waterloo we realised that we were the leading boat but the Easterly breeze was fluking badly as it came over the St Mawes shore. We approached the mark on starboard and tacked to pass it but as we did the gust died and instead of gliding past we lost way, drifted sideways and hit it gently unfortunately in view of five other boats. We sailed on but in doing the necessary 360 degree penalty turn we lost two places. The fleet bore away towards Pendennis Point en route to the Gyllyngvase mark and as we left the protection of the shore so the waves grew and became more irregular. Crossing the bay only the leader flew a spinnaker, the rest of us were happy with goose-winged jib. We all knew where the mark should have been but sadly it wasn't because it hasn't yet been laid* so we all rounded a convenient wave and via Carricknath we sailed back to the club. We flew the spinnaker in the flat water and enjoyed a wonderful run into the setting sun before the cold easing breeze. Sadly our race was defunct. Nearing the finish we closed in on Sweet Friday the only entrant and so winner in W class.
For the Q class start, ten larger boats manoeuvred behind the line and as they crowded together their high masts and large rigs made it very difficult for Encore the smallest boat in the fleet. The skipper, David Cunliffe, understanding the situation was content to cross the line after the first charge because this allowed him to choose his own course in clear breezes knowing full well that the close contests of the bigger boats slowed them as they fed each other dirty air and the leaders had to tack more often. He kept up this tactic all through the race and beat five of them over the line to win overall on handicap. The three Sigmas with slightly different handicaps enjoyed close racing and they came fourth, fifth and seventh with only just over a minute between them.
Next week we hope for complete courses although we all enjoyed today's lively work-out because it tested the gear and our oilies.
*editor's note: Harold errs, the mark had been laid last week but in the weekend's storms it was blown onto Swanpool beach, unbeknown to the RO and the Sailing Secretary. As of Thursday, it was still there.