A gentle north easterly and bright sun promised good racing but the departure of a large Stena Line transporter delayed the start*. The committee boat was anchored near Trefusis Point to give a good beat towards St Just in the force two breeze. Nearly forty boats sailed slowly about the end of the docks and the starting sequence began with Q class. Jackdaw got away well and lead on the beat to the first mark where they turned and close reached south along the St Just to St Mawes shore followed by four others sailing a little further offshore. They flew spinnakers but it was hardly worth the effort and after a short while they were dropped. Three Sunbeams in a tight group followed the same line and they pulled away from a fourth one who could not match their boat speed. Above the boats a low grey cloud came over the hills and drifted down towards the water from behind St Mawes and we all failed to read the omens, as the wind veered from north east to east.
In U class they enjoyed more success with their spinnakers because on reaching the windward mark they turned to port and came back towards the Trefusis shore running more directly downwind. Popincoota took the lead followed by Deep Purple, Quicksilver, Gap Year and Aurora and as their courses turned south they too dropped their spinnakers but at the back of the fleet Mary Boon and Outsider held on to theirs.
From the docks it was easy to see into the cloud covered St Mawes harbour from sun lit Falmouth but we were on the better side of the harbour. In B class John Peters in Rita was first to the mark and they bore away following the same path as Q and V classes reaching south, Grace, Florence, Cousin Jinny and Victory were in a group but Cousin Jack had fallen a long way behind.
As the wind speed eased Deep Purple got ahead and upwind of Popincoota and Jackdaw left St Mawes harbour and dropped their spinnaker near Castle buoy and the tide turned. I returned to the clubhouse to watch the finishes from the side windows. Eating my supper and looking down the harbour showed the value of bi-focal glasses because I could see the anguished facial expressions on board as crews struggled to keep moving in dying zephyrs against a now accelerating ebb tide. Jackdaw. with its large high aspect rig was the last boat to sail with real purpose. Deep Purple was fifty metres in front of Popincoota with both trying to get power from drooping spinnakers and further back there was a high tension low speed dual between Gap Year and Quicksilver with velocities of almost one and half knots as Lennie Trenoweth overtook Quicksilver. It was down to Teresa Trenoweth working the spinnaker pole from the side deck that gave just enough drive to overtake and win by five seconds. Further back the orange coloured Nitro became the classic "Painted ship upon a painted ocean" as the wind power only just over came the adverse tide. Many boats radioed in to retire and among them were Temeraire, Zephyrus of Mylor, Magpie of Mylor and Cousin Jack and in the distance I could see Victory towed to the mooring and a Sigma pulled home a Sunbeam. So it was a disappointing finish to a pleasant start, but the easterly nearly always dies at about eight pm.
*Not so, the radio operator on the Committee Boat confirms that all starts were on time and there were no delays.