On board the committee boat Arthur Williams, the very experienced OOD decided to anchor just to the east of the Vilt to give a good beat to the Pendennis mark in the light southerly. Having put up the flags for the group five courses he started to select the correct one for each separate class when quietly but completely the wind died. After waiting and some discussion the idea of delaying all the starts by flying the AP flags was considered. A few minutes later a very nice increasing breeze appeared but it had gone round 180 degrees to be a true northerly, by this time the starting sequence was about to begin. Arthur decided not to delay and so this explained the unusual spinnaker run start which I could see from my position above the docks.
Seven boats crossed the line and spread out as they came south lead by David Cunliffe on board Encore but closely followed by the others. The longer water lines allowed the pursuing fleet to chase, catch and pass lead by Jackdaw who took the lead as they passed the Governor. There was hardly any tidal flow so that they spread wide trying to catch the zephyrs as they chased across the surface. The next fleet appeared lead by the Sigma Excelle flying their union jack patterned spinnaker followed by a wide spread group. Atalanta sailed by Stuart Higgins and Scorpion helmed by Geoff Davies came over to the Falmouth shore but at the back was the other Sigma clearly not geared up for such light airs. On passing the Governor they met Q class, now on the beat, travelling north but in such quiet conditions there were no problems.
U class started and it was easy to identify the bright orange Nitro and the dark red Hecate and the black Mary Boon. At the start there were difficulties on board Hecate as they hoisted the spinnaker sideways, a manoeuvre I have tried myself, but it just does not work. After some delay the problem was sorted, they accelerated and started to chase the others but they all had to meet both Q and E classes now beating towards North Bank.
At the clubhouse Jackdaw lead by well over two minutes after reaching along the harbour they beat up the final leg to finish giving an expert display of tacking and sail handling. The next group of four boats came up the final beat very close together cross tacking and changing places as they gained advantage on starboard in the narrowing channel. At the line Macavity, flying their new suit of sails got there first and took second place after Jackdaw. It was almost impossible to separate Orijin, sailed by Andy Dennis from Temeraire, helmed by Martin Eddy as they crossed the line only one second apart. Not far behind Encore and General Khaos chased to the finish and this close grouping made a great spectacle for us in the clubhouse. I was surprised that Jackdaw who performed so well was very lightly crewed with one member having a hand in plaster to protect a broken little finger, perhaps the light conditions helped, but it was a very impressive performance. On board Macavity they were late for the start because of problems with the new sails but the rear position gave them a good viewing point from which to observe the rest. They noticed that those boats who went to one side to escape the tide fell into a large hole in the wind so they made sure that they kept their sails filled.
In spite of a difficult beginning Arthur clearly made the right decision because the cool northerly kept going all through the evening giving good racing and very close finishing.