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Tuesday 4 6 13

This was the first real summer's day, the sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the gentle breeze was warm but all was not well. At Penryn the temporary traffic lights caused bad tailbacks from 4.30 p.m. onwards in both directions which made it difficult to get to Flushing from Falmouth, Helston or Truro. At the Ponsharden roundabout I had to change my mind and turn round, getting through Penryn was going to make me very late so I returned to the R.C.Y.C. jumped onto my recently bought inflatable and rowed over to Flushing. I climbed on board Hecate and we quickly hoisted the sails and set off for the start. On the way down the harbour the radio picked up a message from one anxious skipper who asked for a delay in the start times because of the traffic problems. The committee boat was moored just off Trefusis which in the light and fluctuating south-easterly gave a beat start towards Carricknath or the Castle buoy.

Nearly thirty boats milled around slowly before the start and the line had to be approached carefully as some skippers found when they were swept over by the powerful tidal stream in the lulls in the breeze and they found it very hard to return. We heard and then read our long courses with dismay because the idea of passing five buoys in such conditions was hardly credible.

We made a good start and decided to ride the harbour tide until we met the main stream flowing down Carrick Roads. Progress was slow and halting and we all sat to leeward to heel the boat and help to fill the sails which had little tension in either sheets or halyards.

To our surprise some of the earlier starting, bigger and much more powerful boats had even more problems than us as we gently overtook them. It was difficult to concentrate and my attention was taken by the number of small jellyfish who seemed to overtake us easily. Perhaps their presence indicates a much needed improvement in water temperature.

The first two hundred yards seemed to take about thirty minutes but to our relief we saw a breeze starting on the water in exactly the right direction and slowly we drifted towards it. Painfully slowly our speed increased nearly reaching two knots as we continued to overtake others and lead our fleet. It was announced on the radio that we would be finished at the Castle buoy, our first mark. Unwisely our skipper stated that we would be first over the line in our class and just then we saw Wild Child coming in towards the finish at ninety degrees to our course and closing quickly. With luck we crossed the line first by about two lengths and gained second on handicap. Excelle one of the larger boats that we overtook towed us back to our moorings and during the trip we put away the sails and all the gear.

In the clubhouse other crews related their problems in getting to Flushing on time. I remarked that counting jellyfish had kept me occupied but on board Jitterbug a certain crew member said that she went below and read a Sci-Fi novel. On Excelle they lit a joss stick hoping that the smoke would show them the direction of the wind but they had little luck. Fearing that they would be there until breakfast time they unanimously chose the beefiest who was to be sacrificed and eaten, while on another boat a crewman got out his PC and did some important work. So we were all busy one way or another. On board Hawk Chris Bell relinquished the helm and gave it to his crew member who was celebrating his birthday. Another claimed that his speed got into double figures 2.2 knots. Only a very few boats dropped out and the rest of us profited from the sun and warmth and long may it last.

Harold Martin