Cockwell's Saturday points series 13/5/17

The dawn chorus was loud and clear at wake o’clock. It was a fine morning with white Cumulus clouds scudding from the south and a fraction west. I chose the three lawns cut as the suburban rain dance and watched the tops of the trees for wind strength. A call to Nigel Rowe who was down at Loe beach ready to dinghy out to Kiamana gave an iffy sea state with forecast stronger winds. He decided to sail and with that I made the calls to crew that we would sail also.

John Cruise had set the flags at the club with N over O wisely cancelling all open boats. The harbour was fairly flat but a squint through the binoculars showed white horses in the Roads. The course was Vilt and Governor to starboard two rounds which kept us near the harbour should conditions worsen. Four yachts took the challenge. Aurora, Mandy and Dave Owens with guest crew. Wilkie came round from Mylor with Bob, Alistair and Mike. Mikes Swingler and Robson came out in Ida and we loaded up Trifle with Finn, Gaye and Peter.

To reef or not to reef the main? Bob had a reef in Wilkie and then I saw Mandy with full main leave the moorings! That did it, and I put in a tuck, which paid dividends. We manoeuvred for the start and went off like a rocket on port tack, just milliseconds on the line according to John Cruise. Aurora then came toward us on starboard so we tacked onto starboard and then called for water on the continuous obstruction of the moorings. We then did the same on Wilkie and cleared the fairway. A bear away saw Aurora hold her lead and the wind lulled for a time. The Commodore, John Maunder was heard shouting at Ida reminding her of the open boat cancellation. In the event the two Mikes retired early having shredded the outer sleeve of the Dyneema main halyard. Mast inspection needed there!

As we went toward Vilt bouy we could see the disturbed water and white caps just by the nice gentleman’s motor yacht at anchor between Vilt and Guvernor. It was nip and tuck with Aurora rounding ahead of Trifle, with Wilkie pressing on her heels. Both Mandy and Bob elected to continue on starboard tack into the flood tide. We elected to tack onto port to find flatter water and less tide. A quick tack back so as not to T bone the nice gentleman’s motor yacht saw us hold our own on Aurora and make a gain on Wilkie. That was the order of rounding the Governor and we bore away for the club and turning mark. Ok, shall we fly a spinnaker? Yes, No, Yes, No, etc. as the wind went aft then forward and cycled like that till we were clear past the docks and closing the fairway. No numbers on the wall so it’s a second round. Bob was closing fast as he rolled his genoa out.

Mandy rounded the turning mark with a big bang gybe. Trifle then went and Wilkie followed close behind. Trifle tacked for the moorings and then found Wilkie bearing down on starboard so we tacked back. Soon the moorings closed and water was called for. Thanks Bob and no Alistair we did not sail into the moorings! Aurora had now extended her lead as the wind was dropping. Bob then bore away after the fairway and rolled out the full genoa and took “a little Trifle” to windward. That was the rounding of Vilt second time! Aurora stood on for a while then tacked onto port. Wilkie stood on starboard and followed her line. Trifle tacked just after the rounding and went behind the nice gentlemans yacht finding flat water and less tide.

The approach to Governor saw Trifle lessen the gap to Aurora considerably and leave Wilkie a long way behind as she stood on the easterly shore. The mark was rounded and we headed for the finish. Wilkie set the big genoa out and had released her reef as the wind had abated. Aurora was ahead and Trifle was being caught. Out with the reef and consider the kite. Trouble was the wind was still forward of the beam now and then. Nip and tuck, balance the boat, play the sails and steer tactically paid off as we beat Bob by 3 seconds on the line.

Thanks to Jeanette in the ops room, Giles for the launch and Brenda Stratton for great teas and cakes.

Chris Jelliss