Penrose Sails Champagne pursuit series, 15th October

Thunder and Lightning! Very very frightening! I looked at the wind on Black Rock FHC site at 1045 and it showed that it had dropped from 28 kts to 12 kts. The thunder cell was overhead and did it pour. At the club Roger Little set the flags and determined the long course. We set out on the launch from the other quay on a very low tide and got on the boat all wet and soggy. Wilkie came in from Mylor with a reef but there was hardly any breeze off the start line. As it was the big spring tide began to flood and at 1313 we tried to cross the start with the merest zephyr. Amneris was to leeward of us and her larger genoa allowed her to force us up. We flew a no 2 genoa as the wind promised to fill and blow. It was nip and tuck but the zephyr increased and we powered away.

Trefusis to starboard was the first mark and we could see Sweet Friday, Len Cheshire ahead of us and a way behind Mary Boon, John Cruise. We began to catch up Len and went under his lee as the breeze filled. Kite or no Kite? There was a ¼ mile left to the mark and the wind was on the beam and swinging aft. Then it headed us so no kite. The tide on Trefusis was brisk and we hardened up onto starboard to make Governor to port. The wind came and went. Unfortunately when it went it headed us so we had to tack for Governor and lost some gain on Mary Boon. Governor had lots of tide flowing so we stood on for a boat length or two before tacking over onto starboard to make Castle to port. On the way we could see many of the later starters playing catch-up.

We rounded Castle and set a port pole kite after the gybe. Now to catch Mary Boon. Wow! the rain had stopped and a big patch of blue sky opened in the western sky. Vilt to starboard was next and we bowled along in the ever-increasing breeze. Yours truly was on the foredeck while Jack and Gaye managed the back of the boat. A passable gybe at Vilt then took us to St Just to port where another gybe took us to Carrick to starboard. Vindscreen Viper went round the outside of us at St Just and went off like a long dog with her pink assymetric kite. On the run down to Carrick we were also passed by Too Insatiable whose big asymmetric kite blotted out the horizon.

We soon rounded Carrick and set off for Pill to starboard and watched the three boats ahead start the beat back down the roads. An early kite drop allowed us to round the buoy and harden up heading for the eastern shore. A driver change resulted in an early tack to clear the shallow bank followed by two encounters with General Khaos and Juno who then overtook us in the stronger airs. We tacked into Messack point to keep out of the tide and pass Messack buoy to starboard. A long port tack then took us over to the Mylor bank and a tack back to round the last mark of the course North Bank to starboard and finish off the club line. Minx went past us as we rounded the buoy and on the way we got headed and had to tack away from the Trefusis shore allowing Encore to pass us.

There it was, the finish loomed with Too Insatiable taking first place in front of Vindscreen Viper and Juno. Thirteen boats braved the threat of inclement weather and all had an unexpected bonus.

The sun was out and the tide flowing over the fishing quay. Tea and sponge cake was served by Pauline Chapple and beer at John Maunder's bar. Thanks to Roger, Inez and Nessie in the ops room, Giles for transporting us.

Just as going home time loomed we saw a white Folkboat drifting down the fairway and realized it was Aries an FSC competitor. Dave, Mandy and Giles went to the rescue and took it to a safe mooring. Only two more sails and the long winter months will be upon us!

Chris Jelliss