Hot or Wot? The warm spell continues and 48 yachts and crews braved the shorts and tee shirt weather on the pre solstice Hine Downing series 1 race. The Race Officer Mike Rangecroft positioned the committee boat near Trefusis mark and set ambitious courses for all classes, we had to paddle part way to the start line! Southeast group 4 was the call and the wind graciously held for the hours racing predominantly on the eastern shore.
First away were the 4 Firebirds who went of surprisingly fast on starboard hitch. Two decided to tack and stay in the middle of the river and two dived over to the eastern shore where they got the five blast Fox Oscar from a gert red ship going to the Crossroads buoy.
Eleven boats in Q class bimbled across the line in a very organised group all on starboard. Some early tackers went right but the wind was stronger on the eastern shore and combined with the ebb tide appeared to favour that side.
We followed behind them in Trifle as the wind died to a zephyr and tried to stay in touch with the start line. 10 boats in U class went off and the boats nearer the committee boat got the fresh breeze earlier than us. Kiamana, Nigel Rowe went off with Popincoota and Moonlighter snapping at his heels. Deep Purple was close behind. Eventually the breeze got to us and we played catch-up.
Five Sunbeams took off next and soon embedded themselves in both U and Q class as we approached Castle buoy our windward mark. Four G class and then four W class followed on a shorter course. Finally eleven B class-working boats went off on a Race Officer's choice 1 buoy rounding.
As we approached the Castle buoy it was obvious that the breeze had faltered just short of the mark. Some of the faster Q class were spinnakering toward us heading for the Vilt while others were dilly-dallying north of the mark. Fresh breeze took us up to the mark and we made a big gain on our rivals and some Q class. A starboard kite run to the Vilt proved very trying with the wind oscillating from on the nose, mainly, to right behind, occasionally. We caught up Purple and Kiamana only to get a massive header while they both soared away to windward at breakneck speed. Moonlighter and Lez Beez Neez came from behind just 4 boat lengths to windward in a totally different wind and went past like a Saturn 5 at 50,000 feet.
The Race Officer announced a shortened course with the committee boat positioned at the Eastern end of the northern arm of the Docks, as per Sailing Instructions! We just made the Vilt by the skin of our teeth and gybed onto port pole after rounding. Most of the fleet ahead and indeed behind us went high heading toward the fuelling berth as their seemed to be more wind up there. We followed initially and then noticed Moonlighter to leeward of us heading for the finish and in a fresh breeze. We followed suit and became the comeback kids, getting third over the line and third on handicap. It was a very crowded affair at the finish with most of the fleet converging on the finish within a few minutes. The horn operators finger must be worn out, as it was non stop beeps.
Ultra Violet, Peter Stephens won the M class. Charles Choak on Tai Mo Shan won Q class. Gap Year, Len Trenoweth won U class and Clementine, Alan Perham took the honours in G class. Len “Rocky 5” Cheshire won W class in Sweet Friday and Jeff Martin took Wendy to a commanding lead in the Sunbeams. Last but not least David Carne got a victory in Victory in B class.
The tide had turned and the new flood helped our return under kite back to the moorings. The club appeared empty but the quay was sinking under the weight of the crews bathing in the setting sun. Thanks to the Race Officer and the committee boat crew, the ops room and Malcolm for the results, the caterers and Giles the boatman. Also to Hine Downing our sponsors
See you on Thursday for the menagerie!
Editorial note: Chris notes 48 boats, but on the results sheets you will find two fewer. Why? Because they have yet to submit a race entry form. As far as FSC is concerned they cannot be awarded a place, they are not racing.
Sadly no photos this week, you were all too far away, however, here's a few from last week, courtesy Bill Drew