Joint Pursuit, 23/9/14

Friday 19th was to be the last race of the series but a complete lack of wind and poor visibility meant that the race was cancelled. It was decided to re-run the race today as there was a gap in the FSC programme. Bright sunshine and light breezes gave a chance for a successful race but the gentle conditions ensured a short course, in which case, it was possible for a fast early starter to finish before the last boats started, but happily this nightmare did not happen. From above the docks at 6pm the first starter from G class ran down the harbour with jib poled out to starboard and topsail pulling well it made good speed, but already a chasing group appeared.

Wild Child and another gaffer ran downwind powered by a large blue reacher. Another trio appeared, Outsider, Deep Purple and Popincoota were being slowly overtaken by Midnight Cocktail. Nitro came into view moving well but the red white and blue spinnaker clashed horribly with the orange hull, Mr Chamberlain needs coaching in colour co-ordination. Three B class working boats ran down wind swiftly their large mainsails and high topsails pulling well with Rita in the lead from Grace and Cousin Jinny. Scorpion chased down the harbour but the wind, which was funnelled between the docks and the Trefusis hillside spread out as it entered the Roads and lost power. Before the four late starters could be seen the first boat had reached Waterloo, under the eastern shore, turned to port and ran south. Pascoes Jaguar, Jackdaw and Camp Freddy close together entered the Roads but instead of sailing directly to the distant mark they started to tack down wind pointing almost north east to reach down the breeze avoiding the large hole in the wind immediately east of the docks. It was easy to see this gap from the cliff overlooking the water but their deck hands must have been alert to the danger and kept up the boat speed. As the last group were going across another set were crossing back to the Governor to reach north towards the Vilt. G class had been overtaken and left behind and Rita, Grace and Cousin Jinny overtook the smaller boats to leeward leaving them clean air to keep driving and it looked like a B class win, but I had not kept my eye on the last fast four who moved deceptively quickly.

OutsiderI returned to the RCYC lawn to watch the finish. Walter Amos the OOD. said that it was the first time in his career that he had started a race in one club, FSC, and finished it in another, the RCYC, but it all worked out well. In such light airs Camp Freddy flew up the harbour and won clearly followed by Pascoes Jaguar, Jackdaw and then surprisingly Outsider. This boat has only recently appeared and Chris Jellis has quickly found the go fast button, so watch out next season. A rapid line of boats beat up the harbour giving some very close finishes and happily the back markers had their navigation lights on signalling the end of evening racing at both clubs. This final set of pursuits has given excellent sport and so many thanks to the handicappers and organisers. See you next season.

Harold Martin