Hine Downing series

Tuesday 3 9 13

After a brilliantly sunny day David Cunliffe, the OOD set the courses for the forty boats manoeuvring before the start only for the wind to die and then come in definitely if weekly from the south. He postponed, studied the R.I.s and chose a different set of short courses suspecting, quite correctly, that this wind would not last for this penultimate race of the Hine-Downing series.

Meanwhile back at the clubhouse Harold Martin ably assisted by Jack Penty was choosing the course for the last G class backwards race of the season. The gentle southerly seemed to hold the high tide up the creek longer than was expected. A good start was made and under spinnaker the fleet stayed close together going against the slowly falling tide to the Ocean buoy a mile upstream near the Penryn frontier. At the mark Mike Stratton, a guest skipper from C class just led the the tight packed group. Spinnakers were dropped and jibs sheeted in for the long tactical beat back helped by the now falling tide. As the tidal flow accelerated so the breeze faltered and it was decided to shorten the course from four legs to two. When the leaders of the now well spread out fleet came towards the Flushing Town Quay they saw the 'S' flag being waved accompanied by several toots from the horn. The two well separated leaders approached the quay and it was difficult to see who was in the lead because one was close to the quay on the eastern side and the other was well over by the Greenbank hotel. The hooter sounded and Morwennel beat Clementine by two seconds but it took more than ten minutes for the last boat to cross the line in the dying wind.

Out in the Roads the wind became ever more patchy and so fleets spread out all over the course chasing the dark surface where a breeze ruffled the otherwise glassy water. On board Minx the commodore's boat he was very impressed with the efforts of two young crewmen: Rueben was flying the spinnaker while Sam was on the guy.

Deep Purple had their best start of the season as they edged from Amneris who sagged away in the too light airs in spite of the presence of Peter Hackett on board. Jitterbug's skipper had a very irritating sail as they chased elusive gusts made worse by falling into the large wind shadow of bigger boats who they had caught up with in spite of starting ten minutes later.

In one spell Puffin and another boat nudged into each other as they completely lost steerage in one of the lulls in the breeze. In the clear sky with almost no cloud everyone was surprised by how quickly it became very dark immediately the sun dropped over the horizon and with it the temperature fell, so that all of the outside furniture was quickly covered with condensation. At least the atmosphere and food were warm in the club after the crews returned for supper. I recommend the fish pie.

Harold Martin