FSC/RCYC joint pursuit series, 20th September

Thatís all folks! At least for Tuesday night racing at FSC. The evenings are drawing in and the Sun has slipped over the equator signaling the Equinox.

Paul Whitehead the Race Officer had a difficult decision, as there was 3/5ths of 5/8ths of not a lot of wind off the club line and in the roads at 1730 hrs. 32 yachts drifted upstream in the ever-strengthening big spring tide and tried to get their sails filled. Race Officerís choice for the course, Governor to port, Sunbeam to port and Trefusis to starboard, finish, looked like mission impossible!

On Trifle we reached back and forth on the line hoping that we did not get swept up stream. Len Trenoweth in Gap Year picked up the club launch mooring to stem the tide. There was a zephyr of wind near the quay and Clementine, Alan Perham and Miss Agnes, Mike Rangecroft started. They both kept close to the moorings on the Flushing side to reduce the tide.

Michael Mouse had one of his fingers pointing at the right numbers but operator error set us off on Trifle 5 minutes early. We realized the mistake and swept back over the line and started 30 seconds late along with Gap Year. As we were white sailing we tried to goose wing the main and genoa but were increasingly blanketed from behind by Wilkie, Bob Chapple Moonlighter, Paul Collins and several other contenders flying spinnakers. We gybed off and went to the Falmouth side of the fairway where the wind had filled in and we got a boost of speed. The two Gaffers were at the end of the docks and increasing their lead although it was apparent by the radio traffic that the lead yacht was uncertain of his navigation!

Clementine was first around Governor closely followed by Miss Agnes and Gap Year. Moonlighter and Audrey, Stuart Sawyer, then slipped around. Meanwhile on Trifle we were overtaken by Abbi Cook in her Flying Fifteen, Wild Affair and Quicksilver, Jerry Windebank both with filled spinnakers. Once round the East Cardinal we cleared our air and beat to windward on port tack toward Sunbeam mark. Socrates, David Day was in our sights and Moonlighter was up to windward as was Aurora, Mandy Owens and Gap Year further ahead. We pulled away from the pack behind us and got headed badly forcing us to tack. It seemed to work as we crossed ahead of Aurora but on the next tack approaching the mark it was apparent we had missed out on the tide. Gap Year had done the same but was still ahead. Aurora crossed us and rounded ahead as we tacked under Socrates and squeezed the mark.

The broad reach to Trefusis saw us play catch-up with those ahead but as is so often the case, those behind us were closing up fast, especially the two working boats Grace, Dan Tregaskes and Winnie, Arthur Williams. Trefusis mark slipped by to starboard and we raced for the finish. We caught up and overtook Aurora and could hear the cheers of the two Gaffers who had finished. Gap Year crossed the line two-rivet bumps ahead of us coming in fifth.

Clementine won with Miss Agnes in second and Audrey in third place.

The finale takes place on Friday from the RCYC line followed by prizegiving in their club afterwards. Keep an eye on the website and club noticeboard as the first three yachts get their time put back and the last three are adjusted forward.

Thanks to Paul Whitehead and Jeannette who did the spotting and the results. John and Jennie behind the bar and Sarah for the catering. Next Tuesday is the Washup meeting! Please come and tell us your ideas. What was good and what was not so good? How can we improve, what can we alter or modify to enhance next years racing? Donít forget, while you and your crew put your boat to bed and get all Christmassy, some of us are already working towards next year's programme and if you donít tell us we wont know?

Chris Jelliss