Lyulph Hesling the OOD on the last race of the combined FSC and RCYC Autumn pursuit series faced difficult problems in trying to set a course for the more than twenty waiting boats. The tide was flooding in and the easterly force one and a half gave hardly enough power to counter this surge. He set a short course to the Trefusis mark and back, and prayed that the wind held and luckily for us all it did and many enjoyed this quiet evening race.
First to cross the start line were the small gaffers in G class and they struggled to get away from the quay because the incoming stream accelerates as it passes the narrow entrance of the Penryn river. The next to start, Wild Child, Gap Year, Amneris and Deep Purple showed that modern rigs are more efficient going to windward. This was enhanced by Gap Year's text book start when he sailed across the river towards the Ops Room just below the line until he almost touched the south side of the quay and crossed the line a couple of seconds after their time.
The large class B working boats were next and they showed the advantage of their large topsails which gave a surprising turn of speed in such light airs. The faster and bigger boats then came to the line and some of them learnt a lesson from the earlier starters who had made long tacks crossing the main tidal stream several times. Some came over to the quay and then short tacked up the fair way trying to avoid the incoming stream in the deep water channel. Altogether twenty four boats started and headed just out of sight to the Trefusis mark where they turned eased sheets and mainsail outhauls and hoisted the spinnakers for the ride home.
As the fleet came towards the finish we could see the two large working boats Grace and Moon and the white blue striped spinnaker of Encore separating them and they finished in this order followed by Deep Purple, Jitterbug, Clementine and Excelle. Deep Purple had overtaken all the earlier starters except Clementine before the mark but he was himself overtaken by Encore on the run in under spinnaker.
At the start the sky was grey and overcast, but at least it was warm. On the run in the clouds cleared and they raced into a beautiful sunset which fell dark very quickly. The crews were well fed after their exertions and they enjoyed the atmosphere in the clubhouse. Only six months to wait for the next season in early April 2014!