Penrose Sails Champagne Pursuit series, 30/09/17, Race 1 of 5

At 0745hrs there was hardly a breath of wind, “Calm before the storm” I thought as the forecast was for the wind to increase up to 25 kts by 1430 with heavy rain as a front passed by. Sure enough as the day progressed the wind incrementally wound up and as we got to the club at 1215hrs the rain had just started. 'Twas a day of incidents as we shall see in the narrative, starting with the club dinghy having wound itself around its mooring buoy. Giles and myself tried in vain to recover it so the RCYC boatman came to our rescue.

The boat was rigged up and a no 2 genoa set on the forestay as there would not be time to change down. The pre-set course was written down and our start time loomed so we left the moorings. At the pre-start confuffle we saw Mary Boon, John Cruise, disappear down the fairway and watched Puffin, Mike Chard and Bob Chapple go off on their white sail time. We were next at 1313hrs and went off on a tight starboard reach come beat down the fairway. Having cleared the fairway we looked in the ever-decreasing gloom for the first mark, West Narrows to port. Mary Boon was way ahead and Puffin struggling in a soggy patch off the docks as we made some ground.

From the Pendennis dock we saw Pascoe’s Viper appear on a starboard reach with asymmetric kite flying and going toward Trefusis like a scalded cat, or a “Teasy Snake” in Cornish! Shortly afterwards they broached BIG style and went right over. “That’s alright”, I said to my crew, “They always do that and will have her upright in a jiffy”. Mary Boon had rounded West Narrows and was now flying a port pole kite toward Vilt to starboard. Puffin had got back in the breeze and was holding her own. Gaye, one of my crew informed me that the Viper was still on its side with people in the water and was not coming up. They were drifting onto the Trefusis shore so a quick call on channel 16 to Falmouth Coastguard was made to alert them to the situation. We then saw the St Mawes Ferry divert toward the stricken vessel and we carried on.

Puffin rounded and set off toward Vilt. We followed shortly and thought about a kite. It was dead downwind. Gusty and lumpy. My foredeck, Sonny is only 12. Sense and safety prevailed! We set a starboard mainsail and gull wing genoa and had some magic surfs toward our goal. Pascoe's Viper were now up and going back toward FSC for the start. A quick call to the Coastguard to appraise them of the situation was made. As we approached Vilt John Cruise came past us on a starboard beat. It looked very lumpy and wet.

The Vilt rounded the next mark Castle to starboard was a long starboard hitch into the eastern shore. We made a good gain on Puffin and were three boat lengths behind as we rounded and set off for Governor to port. It was a broad reach on port and very gusty. The short sea was wind over tide as the ebb started and Puffin held us off by 4 to 5 lengths on the leg. Elli, Robin Roebuck was an ever-present threat from behind, slowly but surely reeling us in.

Governor rounded it was now a close fetch to Carricknath and we could see Mary Boon in her element with long deep keel and narrow beam making short work of the horrid lumpy stuff, chucking wet stuff at us! Again we held onto Puffin and she rounded a few lengths ahead. Mary Boon was almost round Black Rock to starboard the next mark. Black Rock rounded Mary Boon went toward South Narrows. Puffin’s crew decided they would go to Trefusis. Can’t get the staff Mike! We rounded and bore away with a gooswinged genoa. Bob must have wiped his glasses and looked at the course as Puffin came back to join us. Squeals of delight came from us as both boats enjoyed superb surfing in the strong gusts and heaping waves.

South Narrows was passed and Puffin sneaked an inside overlap on Trifle as both boats barrelled off onto a port broad reach toward Trefusis to starboard. Elli took both Sonatas just before the buoy and we all set off dead downwind to St Just to port, the final mark. Mary Boon rounded and came back toward us on a splashy port beat. Elli rounded and then Puffin just ahead. We beat toward the Trefusis shore and Pascoe's Viper went screaming over the top of us at full tilt for the finish. Puffin tacked just ahead and we stayed just a few boat lengths on toward the shore and flopped over up to windward and pointing much higher with the shore lift! A tack back onto port showed us now well ahead of Puffin.

Jackdaw, Bob Warren then powered up underneath us and went to join the leading pack. So it was we were in a 5th place and holding our own. Hawk, Chris Bell looked menacing as we beat, close reached up toward the fairway. We held our own and eased sails, kicker, backstay, main foot weight and there it was: the line. B@£%^&*! a puff of wind and Hawk powered through.

So Pascoe’s Viper beat Mary Boon, Robin Roebuck in Elli held 3rd place against Bob Warren in Jackdaw 4th. Hawk 5th by a whisker and Trifle 6th beating Puffin to 7th. Scorpion Geoff Davies was 8th beating Atalanta Stuart Higgins into 9th. Last but by no means least in 10th was a welcome return of Wild Child with Neil Chamberlain and Charles Choak.

As we approached our mooring there was a 22ft motorboat hanging around the area banging into a few of the moored boats. It ended up against New Quay and we were informed by a nearby yachtie that the HM had been informed. Back for hot tea and cakes thanks to Sue Grigg helped by Jennie Dean. Thanks to Giles the launch and Roger Little as RO, Jeannette for the results. Boaty McDrifter was secured by several helpers and Kay Price has nominally claimed FSC salvage rights. See you at the club Tuesday for the first evening talk by the Mylor Yacht Harbour team.

Chris Jelliss

And other news

Fying Fifteen startIf you had been at the Watersports Centre, or perched on Pendennis during the week you might have seen the Flying Fifteens compete in their 8 scheduled race National Championships. The first day, Wednesday was just too much for them, but on Thursday they raced in the Bay, managing to put in three races.

Friday started a little showery but by the time they were out in the Bay, all was well. The disposition of the anchored ships favoured a change in course position, but racing still started only about 10 minutes after the scheduled time. And again three races were completed, bringing the series back on course.

Fying Fifteen spinnakersOn the last day of the Championship, two races were completed in the Roads, and all eight planned races had been finished. On the first two days there were no recalls (something to do with flag Uniform?), though they did blot their copybooks on the Saturday.

In all there were 51 registered boats, though the normal wear and tear on equipment and people brought that down a bit by the end.

Words of praise must go to FSC members Will and Mel Brooks, who finished a commendable 29th in Anger Management, the best placed of the local Fifteens.

Neil Andrew, the Championship's Operations Director on behalf of RCYC Events Ltd, noted how PoFSA clubs support one another and is quoted as saying I don’t believe that Falmouth could host such events so successfully without the clubs pulling together.