Hine Downing series, 2/9/14

John Fox the skipper took over the job of officer of the day and in spite of both traffic and weather problems, did an excellent job according to the skippers and crews of the forty three boats out racing. His first difficulty was the departure of a large cruise liner soon after seven pm when all the fleets were racing and the scheduled courses in our Race Instruction book would have been in its way in the south easterly breeze. So he decided to make up courses for all eight fleets to keep them clear of the departing ship. It is not an easy job to do, particularly at such short notice. The Easterly breeze always dies at about eight o’clock so we all doubted the reliability of the southeaster, but although it shifted and weakened all the boats crossed the finishing line lifted by the flood tide. Jackdaw, under a white spinnaker was the first boat to finish well ahead of Orijin and on the leading boat they had worked hard for their place, with three spinnaker hoists, drops and of course, the unappreciated re-packing. They had to gybe the spinnaker twice and on one leg they flew it free for half the time because it was easier than gybing around the mark. So the crew were well exercised and the skipper pleased with their faultless work. Although the wind was gentle, there were still breakages, as on B Class Winnie, 116 years young, the tiller snapped after being weakened on last Sunday’s race, but with a combination of luck and skill, they continued racing to beat Mildred over the line by one second. Rita had got to the front and increased their lead all through the race to win by over four minutes but then the six following boats crossed the line close together.

sunbeamsNeil Andrew helmed Verity to a clear win in the Sunbeam Class being 300 yards clear of Mayfly who was chased to the line by Daisy and Saucy Sally who all crossed within five seconds of each other. It was good to have five Sunbeams out having close competitive sport. The finishes were confusing for us the clubhouse spectators because at times, boats in different classes chased each other down the harbour.

In G class, Kathleen was well clear of Clementine on the water but not far enough to win on handicap. Sue Grigg, one of the only two lady helms, did well to come in third in a very hard sailed fleet. Mike Rangecroft in Miss Agnes chased Magpie of Mylor, and eventually caught up at the start of the final leg and his luck was in because just before the finish he found a following gust and got away.

Afrita and ScorpionIn E class there were very close finishes, Atalanta and Excelle were very close, with Tresillian finishing just four seconds ahead of both. Then, not far behind Afrita and Scorpion were only eight seconds apart, so although the weather was gentle the competition was not.

Many of us were out to watch the Tall Ships Parade of Sail and it was an amazing spectacle in both size and variety, from Mirror Dinghies to vast four masters, and from panel boards to steam-driven canal boats and every other variety and size imaginable. I must congratulate the organizers and thank providence for such ideal weather.

Harold Martin