Saturday 28th April dawned bright and the isobars on the synoptic chart looked very widely spaced. Light airs, shorts and t-shirts? As I made my way toward FSC with my crew Finn and Kit, (the new kid on the block) there was a tad more wind than I had expected. The pressure wind was Northerly and quite a stiff breeze came down the Penryn River. So it was that 9 yachts scurried around waiting for their starts in the first of the Skinners Saturday series.
Tai Mo Shan was the only contender for Q class with Neil, Derek and guest star Michelle; off on a port pole kite run at 1355. Their was a strong tide making upstream and so for the last 5 minutes we sailed up and down the line in Trifle not wishing to get swept upstream if a sudden lull ensued. Coming down on port and seconds to go we realised that in all the prestart chat the kite was not attached! A quick flurry of excitement and Gaye connected it all up hoist and away we went with Aurora, Mandy Owens, just inside us by the moorings. Looking back I could see Aries, Wilkie, Kaimana and Elrhuna behind us all manoeuvring for places.
Our course as Q class was BRp, NBp and return to the turning mark so it was a spinnaker run to the first mark. At the end of the trots the damaged lifeboat was rounded and we forced Aurora high to get out of the foul tide. Wilkie took the other side of the fairway and made ground on both of us. The end of the docks saw the three boats spread in a line and as we bore away in Trifle the wind eased as we started to clear our air and obtain a slim lead. A windward kite drop at the Black Rock Lateral mark was followed by a port tack lee bowing tide toward Lugo Rock Cardinal. A healthy 6–7 boat length lead from Wilkie and Aurora kept us in clear wind and able to sail the river. The beat up to North Bank using tide and more breeze in the middle saw us increase our lead.
At 1405 three W class yachts took off for their race with Sweet Friday, Len Cheshire looking the titch against Noon Hi, Jack Penty and Akamas, Martin and Beccy Leach. Noon Hi with her longer waterline and bigger sail area would have forged ahead from Len but the devil in the handicap is the detail!
NBp was rounded and a starboard pole kite hoisted on Trifle, Hence the previous windward drop. I stayed out from Trefusis point in order to keep out of the normal? Trefusis lull and to gain some ground speed with the tide. We had a comfortable lead when “Drat!” Tom Laity has obviously ploughed his field up top and the strong sun was chucking gert thermals vertically upwards which were drifting downwind and right over us. It all went soggy and hard to light, as we sat going nowhere while Wilkie powered right under us where the lull was supposed to be! There they were, the seagulls going round and round above us. My crew later said I got grumpy, well wouldn’t you? Any way we stuffed the helm down and made two boat lengths toward Wilkie and took off like a rocket to give chase.
Meanwhile the back markers had caught up and the wind went on the beam then right forward, a quick kite drop, genoa up and we saw Tai Mo Shan coming back downstream. “OK you young eagle eyes. Look for the numbers on the end of the quay for our next course” was the shout. We rounded the turning mark several boat lengths behind Wilkie but managed to hoist a kite before her, which made up some vital ground lost. Port pole was set and we chased her to Governor and rounded to port then a beat to Trefusis and made a boat length back. Trefusis was rounded and we had the kite pole ready to go but the wind had headed so we finished the last leg on genoa.
Wilkie finished 26 seconds ahead of us on elapsed time which when corrected gave Trifle first place by 55 seconds! Close racing and well-done Bob. We were on the moorings with mainsail rolled and covered and most bits of string cleared when Aurora crossed the finish some 2 minutes after Kaimana and 5 minutes ahead of Aries. Imagine my surprise when the results were emailed to me to find that Trifle had won by a narrow margin of 12 seconds corrected time having been 5 minutes 31 seconds ahead of Aurora who lost her jib on the way back up the harbour. Aries beat Kaimana into 4th place having been 6 minutes 54 seconds behind her. Not close racing by any standards and there were plenty of grumblings from some that evening. The class could fold if a level playing field is not provided!
Tai Mo Shan had a sailover! Come on you roughty toughty Q class get out and enjoy the fun. Len Cheshire had a comfortable win over Noon Hi on corrected time with Martin and Beccy in third spot. Elrhuna, my spell check is frantic, retired after spinnaker damage. I am told that there are some details on face ache or whatever the social media is called*, regarding this addition to the fleet. I’m waiting for The Kremlin to call and confirm. Thanks to Robin Roebuck and his merry men, (very merry later), for the Race Officer, bunting and course boards. Jeannette and Paul for the results, Mandy the teas and Giles still in the big blue launch. Where is our own launch?
See you Tuesday for a windy thrash
* aka Facebook: if you haven't already, look up the Flushing Sailing Club entry.